Thursday, June 19, 2008

Obama turns down public financing

Obama has announced that he will not be accepting public financing for the general election. Good for him. I'm all for that.

Senator Barack Obama announced Thursday that he would not participate in the public financing system for presidential campaigns. He argued that the system had collapsed, and would put him at a disadvantage running against Senator John McCain, his likely Republican opponent.

Accepting public financing would have meant limiting himself to $84 million. That's not much. He's raised $250 million so far. I would much rather see my candidate going into battle with heavy artillery.

Speaking of artillery, Kos, a former artillery officer in the Army, makes a crucial distinction about money in politics:

I haven't been shy about my general opposition to the current campaign finance regime. The so-called "reformers" that want to clean up politics have so lost sight of the original problem, that they think money is the problem in politics, when in fact it is the unwarranted influence of big money.

If you give $20 to a candidate, not a problem. If big money donor bundles $100,000 in exchange for favorable tax breaks for his or her industry, that's not okay.

I always find it odd that some people want to "take money out of politics." You can't take money out of politics. That would be like taking food out of restaurants, or taking the fun out of Disney World. Politics is about money. Politics is about resolving conflicts of interest, and many conflicts of interest revolve around money. It is not possible to eliminate the role of money in politics. Talking about doing that is an exercise is self-delusion. The best that you can do is regulate it as best as possible. I'm all in favor of transparency when it comes to money in politics. Completely eliminating it, however, is just wishful thinking.

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