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.