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Saturday, February 16, 2008
Will Barack Live Up to His Pledge?

The New York Times tries to help Obama out by making it sound like an "if I did, would you" type deal.

“It was very clear to me that Senator Obama had agreed to having public financing of the general election campaign if I did the same thing,” he said after a town hall meeting here. “I made the commitment to the American people that if I was the nominee of my party, I would go the route of public financing. I expect Senator Obama to keep his word to the American people as well.”

Asked if he would use public financing even if Mr. Obama did not, he said: “If Senator Obama goes back on his commitment to the American people, then obviously we have to rethink our position. Our whole agreement was we would take public financing if he made that commitment as well. And he signed a piece of paper, I’m told, that made that commitment.”

Oliver Willis suddenly feels that money in politics is a good thing:

For the first time ever, the Democratic party is outraising the Republican party. The party and its candidate will have the resources to compete on a huge playing field, not just shoring up its blue state base and courting voters in swing states, but there will also be the ability to truly compete in those red states the GOP is holding on to by a thread.

But of course this opens up Obama to charges that he is not something new, that he's the same old, same old. It tarnishes the aura, so to speak. And as James Joyner points out, perhaps it works to Obama's advantage to accept public financing given the enthusiasm gap.

Then again, if Obama is the nominee, he would enter the general election race as the favorite. It may well be that limiting the amount of money that can be spent — any major party nominee could raise more than $85 million if need be — would be to his advantage. The more the contest depends on free media like debates and the less it depends on television attack ads, the better for Obama, I’d think.

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