Friday, October 31, 2008

Another weird McCain talking point

Norman Dale of Hickory, IN writes in:
Meanwhile, wondering if you’ve seen any official debunking of McCain’s claim:

McCain: "Frankly, what's disturbing about it is that he signed a piece of paper back when he was a long shot candidate. And he signed it, said I won't -- I will take public financing for the presidential campaign if John McCain will. I mean, it's a living document."

My recollection is that there never was a “signed” document. There was a check box on some survey the candidates all filled out. I believe Obama’s actual comments about this always included a caveat that McCain had to agree to call off the 527 groups etc, which he obviously hasn’t done and never intended to.

Basically, this is a non-issue and I actually think Obama was damn smart not to get head faked into a bad deal. Thank God Schrum wasn’t involved in the campaign.

I've always found this particular McCain attack to be non-sensical. One minute he's complaining about all the wasteful porkbarrelearmarkspending in the government, and the next minute he's blasting Obama for not taking taxpayer money to fund his campaign. Further, Republicans are against these campaign finance reform rules, so he's out of step with his party on this matter. Indeed, George Will just wrote an article about this, blasting McCain:

Why is it virtuous to erect a dam of laws to impede the flow of contributions by which citizens exercise their First Amendment right to political expression? "We're now going to see," McCain warned, "huge amounts of money coming into political campaigns, and we know history tells us that always leads to scandal." The supposedly inevitable scandal, which supposedly justifies preemptive government restrictions on Americans' freedom to fund the dissemination of political ideas they favor, presumably is that Obama will be pressured to give favors to his September givers. The contributions by the new givers that month averaged $86.

So, to answer Coach Dale's question, no, I don't think the Obama campaign has even bothered to reply to this, and I believe you're right, it is not like Obama broke a legal contract when he opted out. There was a deadline for him to decide either way, and while in the past he said he was going to opt in, when he saw that he could instead fund his campaign better with small donations, he opted out. Losing argument for McCain, really.