Public campaign funds: Another example of GOP hypocrisy

First, let me say that I fully believe campaigns for political office should never be funded by taxpayers. If a campaign is good enough, it should raise funds on it’s own.

Second, let me say that I also believe there should never be a limit on how much money a candidate should be allowed to raise and spend in support of his or her campaign. Contributions are already limited in dollar amount and source, and those limits are in place to prevent undue influence when governing. To me, campaign spending (not contributions, but actual spending) is a matter of the first amendment.

These statements are related because public campaign finance programs at the federal and state level exist as incentives for candidates to agree to spending limits. In other words, if you drink from the public trough, you agree to limit how much you spend.

That said, I can not understand why Senator John McCain and his proxies are so up in arms about Senator Barack Obama’s decision to forgo using taxpayer dollars to fund his campaign. In fact, McCain should do the same thing.

To those of us in Florida, this is nothing new. Both former Governor Jeb Bush and current Governor Charlie Crist decided against public financing of their campaigns. Republicans didn’t complain about it then.

Ah, but you see, Obama has already raised A QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS. McCain has not raised that much. So, the GOP establishment doesn’t really like the public finance part of this discussion, they don’t like the fact that Obama will — WILL — be able to spend vastly more money.

Well too darn bad.

McCain may or may not be an equally good candidate — but one thing is for sure, the GOP surely has more money and the better fundraising operation. But the taps just aren’t flowing as well as they used to… and it doesn’t seem that they have the ability to grow their fundraising base. They focus on the big donors, and forget the little ones way too often.

Obama has 1.4 million contributors who give an average of less than $100. That means for every donor who gives $1000, there are 10 donors giving $10 each. People who donate are more inclined to vote for their candidate, as they feel ownership in the process.

No amount of Sunday talk-show bloviating is going to change these facts. So expect to see a lot more Obama commercials… especially if the McCain team can’t figure out how to campaign in the 21st century.

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
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4 Responses to Public campaign funds: Another example of GOP hypocrisy

  1. Pingback: Another Level » Blog Archive » Public campaign funds: Another example of GOP hypocrisy

  2. Vince says:

    Jim, first and foremost, this is a case of an Obama “Change of Heart” on this subject, not the GOP’s reaction to it. McCain’s shiftiness on this issue aside, Obama had promised, over and over in numerious interviews with the Washington Post editorial board, USA Today, etc, that he would support public financing in campaigns. So what’s the moral of this Obama flop? Campaign finance reform is great when the Republicans are outraising Democrats, but when it’s the other way around, then it’s no good, which goes to show that public financing of campaings is a unprincipled concept that needs to be discarded, and Obama should be called on his shiftiness on the issue.

  3. Bryan Farris says:

    Jim –

    Couldn’t agree more… You are sounding more and more like a Democrat all the time! What’s wrong? You get tired of not fitting the “stepford republican” mold? I am going to have a BIG party at my house so you and Victor can sign your switch cards at the same time!! LOL

  4. Jim Johnson says:

    Vince, The “Flip Flop” attack won’t work this year. President Bush lucked out in 2004 because Kerry was dumb enough to say “I was for it before I was against it.”

    Obama has a great comeback for any flip-flop attack: people are free to change their minds. The average voter will agree with that.

    Moreover, this issue is such a red herring it’s not even funny. Voters don’t care about public financing – if they did, they would oppose giving any candidate tax dollars.

    Bryan — If I switch, I will go Libertarian before I go Democrat. My ideals are less government, less taxes, more freedom.

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