Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Another unforced error by Obama, and as a bonus, he proves that he doesn't understand the power of the progressive netroots movement with this latest bi-partisan gambit that he goes on with McCain. This move is dumb. Don't tell me there's any principle here either, as if there were he would also accept the limits in the primary. Obama just gave away a probable advantage Democrats would have in the general election:
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) joined Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) on "in promising to accept a novel fund-raising truce if each man wins his party's presidential nomination," reports the New York Times.


A spokesman for McCain said that he would agree to Obama's "proposal for an accord between the two major party nominees to rely just on public financing for the general election. Such a pact would eliminate any financial edge one candidate might have and limit each campaign to $85 million for the general election. The two candidates would have to return any private donations that they had raised for that period."

What's funny is that the Obama team probably thinks they made a great move, and that the public is going to call for other candidates to follow suit. Even Fiengold had realized that the limits were no longer plausible. Obama's problem is that his staff still think it's the 1990's. They just threw away any potential at a 50 state general campaign and embraced a battleground strategy.


Do you think we'll be hearing such a rookie mistake from Clinton or Edwards?

Update [2007-3-3 15:55:12 by Jerome Armstrong]:

And let me clarify that I am against public finacing of political campaigns as a principle and a strategy (especially in the general) for progressives. Political campaigns should have a level playing field (I support limits), but not a playing field paid for by the taxpayer (I don't support public financing). As progressives, we should encourage as many people as possible to support campaigns, and the Democrats have more in numbers than do the Republicans in their max-out crowd. Dean showed this, Kerry showed this, and the disparity/advantage of internet small donors is solidly in the hands of democrats now. In a general campaign, the Republicans will rely upon big fundraisers in Democratic cities and snail mail from a legacy small donor world. The Democrat will be able to raise tens of millions with an email. The playing field of 8 weeks tremendously favors the Democratic nominee.

Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or John Edwards could raise over $200M in a general election. I have no doubt. Democrats could field staff and run ads in 40 states in a general election. Instead, Obama and McCain will stick us with the limits of public financing, and we will see another battleground election that focuses on 10 states or less. It's the media, not the people, that dominate this process.

Howard Dean understood this, and would not have used public financing for the general election in 2004, and it would have helped him gain the competitive advantage to win too.

Tags: Barack Obama (all tags)

Comments

104 Comments

It's academic

and symbolic, cause McCain isn't gonna be the nominee, but I'm growing more and more wary of Obama's bipartisan group-hug campaign. He seems to have no idea what progressives are up against.

by david mizner 2007-03-03 09:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

There is nothing wrong with not wanting to charge people $4600 to hear you speak. It'll be best if both nominee's agree to accept public financing in the general so the candidates can concentrate on the issues and not have to worry about raising money.

by vamonticello 2007-03-03 09:46AM | 0 recs
I thought we all wanted public financing?

I also disagree that the Democrats would have an advantage in a privately-funded general election. Big business will be with the GOP nominee.

by OfficeOfLife 2007-03-03 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: I thought we all wanted public financing?

No, not true. people would be limited to $4600 max. There is no limit on the number of individuals that could give $50 or $500. Democrats, being the party of the people would win.

Kerry would have had a huge advantage over Bush had he not agreed to the limit.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-03-03 10:33AM | 0 recs
Re: I thought we all wanted public financing?

For a very long time, Republicans had a huge advantage in the small donor arena.  I don't know the latest statistics, and I wouldn't be surprised to see that Democrats now have the advantage (especially after six years of Bush).  

But I'm not sure that it is abundantly obvious that Kerry would have had a huge advantage over Bush in private fundraising.  I thought the biggest problem for Kerry was that the Republican convention was so late, it gave Bush an extra month to use primary money.

by TimSackton 2007-03-03 10:42AM | 0 recs
Re: I thought we all wanted public financing?

Well, Bush did outraise Kerry during primary season when neither was under any limits. One rich GOP donor giving $2300 is the equivalent of 40-50 netroots donors giving small donations. Kerry raised a bit less than Bush in 2004, and with the growth of the netroots it might be even by now, but with the expanded donation cap I don't see how the Democrats zoom past the GOP. And if Giuliani is the GOP nominee, he will attract many New York City and California technocrats who traditionally support Democrats.

by OfficeOfLife 2007-03-03 05:31PM | 0 recs
Party of the people?

Armstrong you say:

Democrats, being the party of the people would win.
On what basis do you back up those words?

Most people won't even go out and vote unless they are very, very stirred up about something, or their paycheck depends on it.

by Kankakee Voice 2007-03-06 02:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

If Obama and McCain are the nominees and the money is even we win.  I don't know why you're seeing this as such a bad move.  Progressives can still advertise in any state they want through 527s.  In this situation Obama could worry about gettging his message out by actually making as many appearances as possible as opposed to raising money through special interests and running commercials instead of making appearances.

by blueryan 2007-03-03 09:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

No, wrong. If the playing field were really even, then maybe. What about the Republican Progoganda machine do you not believe.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-03-03 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

The propaganda machine machine is only as good as the vulnerability of the target. Edwards and Obama are significantly more charismatic and likable than Kerry, which naturally fends off propaganda. And Hillary has already been Swift Boated, a national figure for 15 years.

I'm much less worried about GOP negative onslaught against our nominee in 2008, than someone like Rudy seizing a critical few percent based on bullshit image and tough guy talk.

Still, I agree this is a dumb move by Obama. No threat of advantage and a black guy or woman can't afford to add further potential road blocks.

Kerry wouldn't have won in 2004 regardless of the financial realities. Bush had severe benefit-of-a-doubt edge as an incumbent with his party in power only one term, now 9 of 10 re-election successes since 1900. 9/11 was still a big factor in his favor. Our only chance was a very charismatic challenger and/or a Bush approval rating in the Carter '80 range, low 40s or below.

by Gary Kilbride 2007-03-03 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Maybe Obama would rather not be beholden to the corporates and special interests that are currently throwing gobs of money at the candidates for influence?

Hillary obviously has no problem, but I give Obama some credit for at least looking at public financing as "an option".

by SandThroughTheEyeGlass 2007-03-03 04:56PM | 0 recs
He seems to have no idea what progressives are up

pretty much what I was thinking, too. Did no one tell Obama about 527s? McCain, or whoever the GOP nominee is, will have hundreds of millions from "unaffiliated" groups running ads about Barack HUSSEIN Obama (or Hillary VinceFoster/Cattle Futures/ad nauseum Clinton or John TrialLawyer Edwards......)

by BlueinColorado 2007-03-03 10:00AM | 0 recs
Re:

What is preventing Progressive 527's in '08?

by Sam I Am 2007-03-03 10:42AM | 0 recs
Re:

absolutely nothing

by blueryan 2007-03-03 11:20AM | 0 recs
nothing

but the other side tends to have more money, so why would Obama limit himself in any way, was my point.

by BlueinColorado 2007-03-03 02:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

In what universe is this a bad thing?  Two candidates step forward and agree to put some teeth into campaign finance reform and people criticize it? Beyond belief....

by dougdilg 2007-03-03 10:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

As someone noted above, McCain isn't going to win his party's nomination, and even if he does, he's not going to win the Presidency.

This is an attempt by Obama's team to suck some of the "Maverick, moderate" mantle off of McCain and onto Obama.  Unfortunately, it's also a gamble because if McCain doesn't win, there may still be pressure on Obama to hold to his side of the bargain anyway.

by jonweasel 2007-03-03 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Nobody in their right mind is going to expect Obama to obid by public financing if his opponent doesn't

by blueryan 2007-03-03 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

I thought no one in their right mind would go after Kerry about his service in Vietnam considering the alternative, either.  Our opponents aren't interested in what's sane.  They're interested in retaining power.  If they can do that by claiming Obama's a hypocrite for "abandoning his pledge", they'll do it.

by jonweasel 2007-03-03 02:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

In what universe is this a bad thing?

The one we live in where a Democrat wins the presidency.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-03-03 03:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Eh?  What's wrong with public financing if both parties accept?  Don't we want a level playing field wrt money?

As for opting out in the primaries, the reason you do that is that the race doesn't come down to two people so mutual disarmament would be hard to negotiate.

Saying that this is some sort of hypocrisy is absurd.

by Ramo 2007-03-03 10:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

1. I'm doubtful that Dems would have a money advantage in a general election, unless Hillary were the nominee.

2. I'm doubtful McCain will be the nominee, especially now that he's reminding conservatives of his sacrilegious CFR support.

3. Get real. Obama is not Howard Dean. Neither are any of the other potential nominees.

by b1oody8romance7 2007-03-03 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Kerry raised huge sums, your argument forgets that little fact.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-03-03 10:34AM | 0 recs
Bush raised more

and the supposed moderate "mavericks" McCain and Guiliani will be able to tap a portion of the wealthy Dem donors who want to be on Team Media Darling.

Empty speculation that the Dems may outraise the GOP flies in the face of many actual election cycles where the opposite has occured. At best we will break-even with them, so why rely on big donors with a wide variety of agendas rather than use public money that has no strings attached?

by OfficeOfLife 2007-03-03 05:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Sen. Obama has still NOT called for the deportation of convicted ILLEGAL ALIEN FELON, Elvira Arellano, from the church in Chicago! This inaction will NOT get him the support of MODERATE DEMOCRATS!

by DfD 2007-03-03 10:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Since this is clearly intended to somehow damage Senator Obama, it has to be one of the most inept comments of all time. It is off-topic, for starters, but beyond that it ignores the fact that almost no one who reads this site, who would take the time to read about Arellano's case, would come to the conclusion that Obama should call for her deportation. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Moreover, how many "MODERATE DEMOCRATS" would favor the government violating church sanctuary? How many "MODERATE DEMOCRATS" have heard of Elvira Arellano?

by taliesin 2007-03-03 01:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Obama a senator? Rather than a member of law enforcement? And aren't senators supposed to legislate? Rather than lobbying the immigration service?

Why the hell would he lose votes for not giving an opinion on a matter which isn't his call?

by Englishlefty 2007-03-03 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

actually i think this is a great move along the same  lines as what bush did in 2004. Very simply theres a limited amount of money, i know that money doesnt directly transfer from one campaign to another (thats 1990s thinking) but what is true is that if Obama needed to raise 150 million in this general that a lot of that money is getting soaked out of other campaigns (senate house gov state ect) and also sinse repubs always have a fundraising advantage (closing yes but its still there excluding the senate committees) this would be a good thing

by New Frontier 2007-03-03 10:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Yep, that's the kind of thinking that leads to our battleground mentality of presidential campaigns, works' great for electing..... Republicans.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-03-03 10:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

I think this is a good move.  

by Socks The Cat 2007-03-03 10:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Good for him.  The amount of money spent on campaigns is obscene.  It's one of the single most depressing elements of the whole political process.

If I could somehow make it happen, I would happily let the Republicans win the elections if we could harness the billions of dollars spent on campaigns and direct them to legitimate progressive interests.

I say that not in support of any kind of Republican politics, but simply against the amount of money which is wasted producing nothing.  I know this compromise won't fix that problem, but it might help a little bit, and it's at least a somewhat noble goal.

by Baldrick 2007-03-03 10:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

I think you have an exaggerated idea of how much money we're really talking about. It's only a few dollars per person on average (the bigger problem is that only the richest people are participating much, and people are outraged that Obama might try to get people who aren't rich to buy in).

There's no way that that amount of money, if magically redirected, could come anywhere close to undoing the huge damage that the Republicans would do if they won all the elections. Consider the Iraq war alone, and only the money spent on it (not the lives, American, Iraqi, and other). None of that would have been spent if Gore had become president, and it's probably a thousand times what was spent on the election.

If you're going to wish for magical redirection of money, you'd do a lot better to wish for redirecting the "obscene" amount of money spent on, say, snack foods.

by KCinDC 2007-03-03 10:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Jerome, you're clearly gonna have to write a longer post explaining your position -- peeps are not buying it.

by bedobe 2007-03-03 10:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

You know, the same problem existed in 2004, when I called the move by Kerry to accept the campaign restrictions the worst move of his campaign. I was right then too.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-03-03 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

But some of us just need you to explain this using little words. I'm leaning toward thinking you're right, but campaign finance stuff isn't my strength (for example: I thought Kerry didn't accept the restrictions), and a longer explanation would be v. welcome.

by BingoL 2007-03-03 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Are you going to post an actual argument?

by The Animal 2007-03-03 10:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Fine.  So why do you have to be insulting and call this a "rookie mistake," in som econdescending tone like anyone who'd ever run a real campagin wouldn't do this.

You act like your position which hasn't been tried is the only sane option.  It could be stupid, but it ceratinly isn't a rookie mistake.  Also it's not like Obama's team is loaded with 'rookies' anyway.

Make your point and give an argument.  Save the condescension for when someone tries your strategy and it works.

by responsible 2007-03-03 12:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

I think it is a good move.

So now we're encouraging people to ignore public financing? I thought we ange. were a grass roots team?

Your unhappiness with Obama is very odd considering that his goal is laudable.

First people demand that Obama be the transformative and different candidate he professes to be and then when he does something like this, that shows he actually cares about getting money out of politics, you argue that he's made an error.

by dpg220 2007-03-03 10:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

I like Obama's message. Don't confuse criticism of his strategy that doesn't understand the playing field.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-03-03 10:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

I'm not seeing how this is a bad thing.  Yes, it is not going to stop the utterly absurd amount of money currently spent on political campaigns.  But it is certainly a step in the right direction to at least have Presidential candidates who acknowledge that public financing has some value and are willing to voluntarily spend less money than the could if they went private.

by TimSackton 2007-03-03 10:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

It really doesn't have any value. What we should value is participation in the political system by as many people as possible.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-03-03 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

I'm not arguing that the current public financing system for Presidential elections is anywhere close to perfect.  And I'm not an expert on campaign finance, so it is certainly possible that there are ways to reduce the role of money in politics that don't involve public financing.

But I would argue that it is abundantly clear that the current system of election financing has not been good to progressive causes.  I think the solution needs to change the system so that moneyed interests don't have such a disproportionate influence.  If that ends up meaning that people cannot contribute significant amounts of money to candidates, well, that is a price I am happy to live with in order to create a fairer system of elections.

by TimSackton 2007-03-03 10:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win
I would argue that it is abundantly clear that the current system of election financing has not been good to progressive causes.


Exactly. So would I, so would Dean (if he had made it to the general).

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-03-03 10:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

I guess I just don't see that throwing more money at elections is the solution, even if a larger fraction of that money comes from progressives.    Maybe I am being hopelessly naive, but I would prefer a system where money does not buy access, instead of one where progressives raise enough money to get access.  Possibly the only way we are going to see more progressive government is for the progressive blogosphere to buy a seat at the table.

But I can't shake the feeling that even so, any fundraising match between progressives and corporate interests is going to be won by corporate interests.  The fact that even Democrats need to raise significant amounts of corporate money to win elections is a massive roadblock to progressive policy.  I can't see that changing unless we fundamentally change the role of money in politics.  Now, maybe public financing is not the only way to accomplish this, but relying on Democrats to nominate candidates who will resist the lure of corporate financing seems even worse.    

by TimSackton 2007-03-03 11:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

There are other ways to participate beyond giving money.

by Go Vegetarian 2007-03-03 05:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Jerome, please elaborate. How is public financing for a presidential campaign a bad thing? Are you speaking strictly politically/strategically regarding this cycle, or are you saying that the whole concept should be scrapped?

I generally wouldn't be so interested, yet this seems to follow a steady stream of "Obama is wrong to..." stories - first for taking the big donations of Hollywood, then for taking the small donations of Cleveland. Now a post that Obama's support for public financing is the wrong decision.

And no, we won't see such a rookie mistake from Clinton or Edwards. We'll see triangulation, waffling, and consultant spun straw man attacks AKA politics as usual.

by Benstrader 2007-03-03 10:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Kerry would have won had he not accepted the limits in 2004. He would have had $100M more than Bush, and forced Bush into going into big cities to do fundraising gigs, instead of hitting campaign stops in key states.

This canard of accepting campaign finance limits is politics as usual. It's the thinking of scarcity of resources.

I actually think that Obama team probably saw this more as a gimmick than a strategy. They didn't think that McCain would call his bluff.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-03-03 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Kerry would have won had he not accepted the limits in 2004.

There's no way to even remotely back that up.  The GOP fundraising machine was much more healthy in 04 than in 06.

by blueryan 2007-03-03 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

I agree with this, and I'll add that Kerry went dark in August, 2004 after the convention precisely because he had to save his public financing funds for the homestretch.  It allowed the Swift Boat liars a window of opportunity to hit Kerry without response, from which I believe Kerry had great difficulty recovering.

by jonweasel 2007-03-03 12:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Yea, we have a bunch of people here with either amnesia or no experience of what actually happened because there was not enough money. The '08 situation is no different than it was in '04.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-03-03 03:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

That's because our people are idiots and schedule the Dem. convention too damn early.  As far as I'm concerned, that should schedule the thing for mid-October and get to raise gobs of "primary campaign" cash then get the free money at the end.

by Go Vegetarian 2007-03-03 05:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who has reservations about public financing.  Yes there is something fundamentally wrong with the way that the money-raising process works now, but allocating taxpayer resources to political campaigns isn't the answer.

I think that money can be useful -- it serves as a measure for how much excitement a candidate generates, level of grassroots support, etc.  Money can help weed out poor candidates like Vilsack and Kucinich, and empower grassroots heroes like Howard Dean.

Still, there are huge problems with the way that money plays into politics.  Because of money/lobbyists, we have countless cases of politicians acting against the public in favor of narrow interests.

I don't think that public financing is the answer.  Most of the money spent by campaigns is on ads and consultants, and I don't feel comfortable supporting them with public financing until the culture of politics changes.

by whogotthegravy 2007-03-03 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Most systems of public financing require you to show some level of support - say, a certain number of small donations - before you receive public funds.  Winning a major party nomination certainly qualifies.

by The Animal 2007-03-03 10:52AM | 0 recs
I remember the last election when everyone

in the left blogosphere was in a lather over candidates opting out of the matching funds.  It is funny how things change.  

Good times...

by Yoshimi 2007-03-03 10:53AM | 0 recs
Re: I remember the last election when everyone

No, you can look it up and I held the same position then too. Dean said no, with an 85% approval to skipping public financing.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-03-03 03:18PM | 0 recs
The precedent here

is McCain's and Bill Bradley's 2000 handshake agreement to support campaign finance reform if they both became the nominees.

by Nonpartisan 2007-03-03 10:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Big gap in logic somewhere here.

More money, Jerome says, means you won't follow the battleground state-strategy.  How does that follow?

Those who follow a battle-ground state strategy will do it no matter how much money they have.  Likewise, someone can use their 85 million to target non battleground states if they want.

On top of this, one can follow a battleground strategy without relying on the usual consultants and one can run the 50 state strategy with the same old consultants.

I've read the book, J, but I don't know how either of those follow from any of the evidence you've presented.

It's also a big maybe that the dems going to outraise the repub in private financing.  Hasn't happened recently.

Finally, I highly doubt anyone is going to truly run a 50 state presidential strategy in 2008.  We shouuld challenge as a party for every district, but it's silly to think that one candidate should challenge for every district.  No one candidate can sell everywhere even with microtargeting.

by responsible 2007-03-03 11:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

I think he's concerned that those who get their money from public financing won't feel compelled to campaign in all states, and instead will fall back into the old ways that killed Dems.

By contrast, not accepting public financing means the candidate has to cast a larger net to bring in funds.

by jonweasel 2007-03-03 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Would make sense except for the "with a single email" stuff.  You don't have to campaign in a state to raise money there -- especially for small donors.  Do you have to broaden your appeal?  Maybe, but I don't think that's what J is talking about.      

by responsible 2007-03-03 12:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Did you forget '04, you don't think the Dems outraised the Republicans in private funding.? You are very wrong. The Dems, through the primary and the general, way out raised Bush, not even close.

There is a huge difference between a 10 state strategy and a 40 state strategy in the general. The latter is only possible with a candidate that moves out of the restrictions of funding limits.

I agree with your assesment of old school consultants, which is the case here, but one can hope.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-03-03 03:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

The question still stands why 200 million rather than 170 0million -- r even 300 million rather than 170 million -- translates into 40 states vs. 10 states?  Certainly there is some lower limit where you can only play in a limited number of states, but   I don't know how I would figure that number out.  And it certinly isn't gong to open up forty more states to 50% more money.

I'm actually of the school that the netroots makes it possible to run cheaper.  I think that was demonstrated several times in 2006 at the district level.  I think you put McCain and Obama on level financing field and then you have the netroots/ grass roots compete with their echo chamber.  See how  that works.  In fact, the only thing that has ever forced people to be creative is necessity.  If the campaigns have an infinite amount of money they are going nto by an infinite number of spots.  The Dean phenomena was a result of a number of things, but one of those was the need to run a creative campaign given his underdg status.  I highly doubt more money is going to revolutionize the way campaigns are run.

By the by, I agree with you abouot Kerry, but alot of thqat was a function of the convention schedule and it would be dishonest not to mention that.  Kerry doesn't go dark if hte conventions are at the same time.

by responsible 2007-03-03 03:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

All of this depends on McCain getting the nomination... And I've decided I'm not even going to try to predict that.

by Dave Sund 2007-03-03 11:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win
I don't see anything wrong with this.
The agreement is conditional on Obama and McCain being the nominees.  If that's how it turns out, then they'll both have to play by those rules or break the agreement.
by ChgoSteve 2007-03-03 11:15AM | 0 recs
Usually I'm with you

but this time I agree with those that think you're off-base here. In comments you seem to have tied John Kerry's success to this kind of fundraising decision in 2004, and I don't quite think that Obama=Kerry as a candidate.

And beyond that, given Obama's campaign stops thus far in places like South Carolina, Texas and Alabama, it would certainly appear as though he gets that he cannot and should not limit his campaigning to battleground states.

Perhaps you are the one who thinks its still the 90's, and that all of our candidates think and act the same that they did back then. The more I see of Obama, the more I believe that he really gets what needs to be done.

by mihan 2007-03-03 11:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Usually I'm with you
Barack is campaigning in South Carolina and Alabama because they have early primaries.
And I agree with Jerome, to an extent.  Public financing is fine at the local level, maybe at the state level.  Limiting funds, though, is worse and worse the more complicated a campaign you have to run, and if we are trying to do a real realignment, this is not the time to limit our potential.
by jallen 2007-03-03 11:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Usually I'm with you

You really think that Barack wouldn't spend any time in these states once the general election comes around? Its easy now to say that he wouldn't, but none of our top candidates save for Clinton seems to think that is a good strategy.

I'm not so concerned about this because the realignment that we are hoping for can come by way of donations to the DNC, DSCC and DCCC. Certainly we can all go day with this topic...all we have, including from Jerome, is pure speculation at this point. How things play out in the end just might surprise us. One way or another.

by mihan 2007-03-03 11:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

You can talk about grass roots fundraising all you want, but the fact is the D.C. swamp will never be drained until we have public financing, a return to the fairness doctrine and and shortened campaign season in which all major candidates participate in debates for which all networks are required to provide coverage. In addition all legislation from either house of Congress should have a requirement that it be publicly posted on a readily accessible broad band website for public scrutiny for five working days before it is voted on, with an exception for emergency matters. In that case, such emergency legislation would carry no riders.

by Retired Catholic 2007-03-03 11:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

I still don't understand what the fuss is about.

If loopholes are going to there for McCain, then I'm sure Obama would be able to use them too.

McCain not going to win anyway...

by SandThroughTheEyeGlass 2007-03-03 11:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Loopholes indeed! Let's see, RACIST HATE GROUPS like LULAC, MALDEF, NCLR, MEChA, and GENTE UNIDA receive enormous amounts of Federal Grant money, all the while spewing their racist hate speech aimed at MODERATE DEMOCRATS and other working Americans, and supporting candidates like Sen. Obama and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, both from Illinois. Just how many tax dollars are re-channeled from these HATE GROUPS into the campaign coffers of these politicians? The Culture of Corruption lives!

by DfD 2007-03-03 11:59AM | 0 recs
Obama Forgot One Very Important Thing!

 The Right Wing doesn't even need to us private funding to buy media time anymore because they have a powerful advantage in terms of think tanks, professorships, leadership institutes, and Right-Wing friendly media outlets. Has Obama lost his f*&king marbles?!! Sure, there is a good chance that Mccain won't get the nomination but still other GOP candidates could use this against him.  

by activecitizen2007 2007-03-03 12:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Where is my last post? Is free speech dead? Moderate Democrats voices being "turned off"? What a shame! Inconvenient truth's are tough to handle. ENFORCE OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS!  

by DfD 2007-03-03 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Um, I replied to it upthread, so it's there. Not that it actually would be a shame if it had been deleted, since it's completely off-topic. Don't you have some Minutemen site you can go post on?

by taliesin 2007-03-03 02:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

It amazes me how time and time again you guys keep calling what Obama does shortsighted or whatever.  Time and again you keep selling the man short and then, bam! out of nowhere he come out looking brilliant and you guys with egg on your faces.  How much crow have you eaten so far in regards to selling and proclaiming Mr. Obama short.

by vwcat 2007-03-03 12:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Wouldn't he look brilliant if he came out and called for the deportation of convicted ILLEGAL ALIEN FELON, Elvira Arellano? The egg is NOT on the faces of MODERATE DEMOCRATS on this one! ENFORCE OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS! SUPPORT WORKING AMERICANS!

by DfD 2007-03-03 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

You don't support public financing? And the idea that not doing so represents a progressive ideal?

Please tell me that you are kidding. This is absurd.

by PsiFighter37 2007-03-03 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

the kind of progressive that likes to win, and the kind of progressive that believes in people-power instead of governmental solutions. The government is great at an equalizing force, but people are the ones that move the ball.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-03-03 03:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win


the kind of progressive that believes in people-power instead of governmental solutions. The government is great at an equalizing force, but people are the ones that move the ball.

The whole point is that a government solution to financing of campaigns is the best thing to do. Sure, it may allow for more people power to do away with it, but it also allows for people who have far more money than any of us gain even greater influence. That's why there's a need to publicly finance campaigns; the libertarian solution you're advocating would, IMO, release utter chaos on to the system and have costs on elections - already far too high - spiral further out of control.

by PsiFighter37 2007-03-03 06:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

No, it's got limits.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-03-03 06:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

What has limits? I know that there is a personal donation limit, but the average person can't plunk down a $2,300 check. Furthermore, wealthier people know more people who can put down more of the same kind of checks.

by PsiFighter37 2007-03-03 07:16PM | 0 recs
Obama requested this...

LONG McCain accepted.

by faithfull 2007-03-03 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama requested this...

long "before" McCain accepted.

Excuse the typo

by faithfull 2007-03-03 01:13PM | 0 recs
don't think so.

its questionable at this point whether or not the Democratic candidates can outraise the Republican money machine, but lets assume you're right and they can.

The potential presidential campaign Democratic money can then go towards legislative candidates or the DNC, bolstering our house and senate majorities and the 50 state strategy.  Certainly some money that would have been raised for Obama would not spill over, but with 200 million, there would certainly be a great deal.

You have not persuaded me that this is such a bad thing.

by you like it 2007-03-03 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

I am sickened by the thought that we are going to spend upwards of a billion dollars on this presidential election. And I don't care if Illinois, South Dakota, Alabama and (if McCain wins) Arizona are somehow "short-changed" because they won't be inundated with presidential advertising. We have an electoral college, there's no getting around that at this point. Pretending it doesn't exist by calling for a 50-state strategy in the general election isn't going to make it disappear.

I have no problem with the Democratic candidate being on equal footing financially with the Republican candidate and am thrilled at the prospect of keeping elections to a mere billion. Just because we would be able to bring in more money (under your theory), doesn't mean it's the right thing to do, or the winning strategy. I'd rather see the grassroots give $5 to their favorite charity in the name of the Democratic candidate than to see it go to advertising agencies and networks.

Plus, your argument that Obama would be held to not accepting funds even if the other candidate does not is silly. Even you must know that would never fly.

by lapis 2007-03-03 01:24PM | 0 recs
especially

when Obama is raising the General Election money already.

by John DE 2007-03-03 02:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

How much money and volunteers are Senators Obama and McCain accepting from LULAC and MEChA? More special interest pay-offs?

by DfD 2007-03-03 01:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

I'm not buying why you're criticizing Senator Obama.

The amount of money needed to run is obscene.

Aren't there other issues in which you could criticize Senator Obama?

I'm not feeling this one.

by rikyrah 2007-03-03 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Aren't there other issues in which you could criticize Senator Obama?

Probably not the single-issues that you would like. I'm more of a nuts and bolts-- this is what it takes to win-- kind of progressive.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-03-03 03:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

I'm sure President Obama appreciates your concern.

Aren't you the group that couldn't defeat Lieberman.

Man.  The Edwards/SockPuppets sure have run out of ways to attack Obama.

Did you know his great-great Grandfather was the grand marshall of the Kill Whitey Parade.

by rapallos 2007-03-03 01:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Which one, bringing the troops home or enforcing our current immigration laws? Or both?

by DfD 2007-03-03 01:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

I don't do this often, but in this case I agree with Jerome. Obama's placing principle before winning (and not even a particularly great principle at that.)

If he wants to reform politics, that's wonderful. But to do that, he has to win. So less of the handshakes and more of the crucifying the bastards.

by Englishlefty 2007-03-03 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

I had a good laugh when I heard that Obama and McCain agreed to accept public financing. I know Obama wants to "transform" politics and reform the system but to do any of those things you need to get elected first. Edwards and Clinton had the brains to figure out that you have to give it everything you got to win. Obama must be a big fan of Michael Dukakis because he sure knows to shoot himself in the foot.

by bsavage 2007-03-03 02:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

With more money, the Obama campaign could become active in more states, increasing the national support of progressives. (Or they could just spend more money on the swing states)

But a grassroots based campaign can have a similar effect to the higher spending of a campaign that is not funded by public funds. Obama's campaign has organized supporters in all fifty states. These people can garner support for Obama's progressive message. In fact, if Obama's campaign doesn't have to spend more time seeking contributions, than that would gave them much more time to focus on grassroots activities.

The most important idea overall is that if both Republican and the Democrat presidential candidates are publicly funded, then the other Democrats and Republicans will have more fundraising potential. Although people don't donate a finite amount of money, if they haven't already given to Obama, donors will still probably be more willing to give other Democrats for  running elected office. The Internet's fundraising potential could still be tapped for the other Democratic candidates. Furthermore, if the local candidates accepted Obama's message, then they could turn Obama's campaign into a national movement.

On a side note, his support of public financing matches Obama's campaign theme, and his past work on Illinois and US Senate ethics reform. He's is seeking to fight cynicism and build trust in politics.

And the idea that Obama should've sought primary public financing is ridiculous. He needs to compete with his other Democrats who haven't opted in to public financing.

by jb1125 2007-03-03 02:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

So Jerome, I assume you support Hillary Clinton: the progressive candidate most capable of raising money, who has no interest in public funding, and who has demonstrated that she definitely prioritizes winning over any particular principle.

If ever there were a "nuts and bolts" candidate it is her.

by Baldrick 2007-03-03 03:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

I find this post interesting because it is so clearly counter to the progressive message.  

It even uses rightwing framing about the poor taxpayer.

by sterra 2007-03-03 05:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

And I like how the loaded poll still has 95% against the intended answer.

by The Animal 2007-03-03 05:51PM | 0 recs
Jerome jumps the shark

That public financing of elections is the anti-progressive position is beyond ridiculous.

Jerome is just worried that his own personal power will suffer if Obama takes away his ability to raise money for the presidential election.

It's a sad, sad day when the interests of Jerome and the Bush Pioneers align.

by Disputo 2007-03-03 07:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Maybe as a Canadian I can be more objective, but voluntarily limiting what you spend in an election campaign would be an amazingly stupid move for any Democrat, much less one who is going to be fighting an uphill battle against both an entrenched Republican machine AND a society where racism will be a significant factor limiting his vote-getting potential.  Obama will have to out-fundraise and out-spend the Republican candidate by millions and millions, and certainly he'll have to run a 50-state campaign to create the "unstoppable rock-star landslide" impression -- which is the only way a Democratic president, black or white, has been elected in the United States in the last 50 years.  The last dull Democratic president was Johnson in 1964 -- and he won against Goldwater!

by CathiefromCanada 2007-03-03 08:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

There is no argument here by Jerome - just condescension and assertion - is THAT our progressive voices now??

This follows up an early attack on Obama for the hiring he did - which, is a type of guilt by association, and unworthy of drawing some type of "lesson" from it.

I'm wondering who Jerome is supporting now - it seems clear that he is shooting at Obama, now is that because Jerome has already committed to another guy?

If so, he should say that.  David Sirota, when going after lieberman, would also say he was doing consulting work with the challenger.

Very very interesting sets of posts from Jerome recently.

Perhaps I'm paranoid, seeing too much in the string, but I'm going to be reading Jerome's next string of posts much more closely...

by jc 2007-03-03 10:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

If you go back, you'll find that Obama is in the top tier of candidates I like. I don't work for him though, nor any of the '08 contenders, and am free thinking enough to criticize a candidacy-- even one I like.  No koolaid here.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-03-04 02:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

For me the larger issue of limiting the cash spent on presidential campaigns is a good thing--the billion dollars projected to be spent (most on tv ads) is out of hand and only goes to embolden the MSM and diminish people powered politics.

Something has got to give.

by aiko 2007-03-04 02:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would Rather Play Even than Win

Can't he just take it back? That wouldn't look very good, but it's not as if it'd look that bad if it was done early enough.

by bjaklitsch 2007-03-04 04:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Play Even

Democrats have a great advantage right now.  There is a general malaise within the GOP.  The general population is fatigued with the party and its nominees, especially with established insiders like McCain.  Why would our eventual nominee give up on that current advantage?  Our current strength in fundraising positioning?

Stupid move.  I agree with the writer of this diary that the bi-partisanship "at all cost" Obama is striving for is going too far.  We need to take advantage of the current mood in the electorate and general population, not embrace a "Ah, come on, Republicans are as nice as everybody else, we just have to find and embrace the common ground and play fair" attitude.   Once our nominee is financially shackled the GOP will find ways to get around the restrictions while screaming at the top of their lungs that the Democratic nominee is doing just that, even if that is untrue.  

At this point, with the alignment the way we are finding it (a historic opportunity for Democrats,) the last thing we should do is to strike deals with the GOP to restrict our fundraising capabilities.  It is like "making a deal with the devil."  I would have gained a lot of respect for Obama if McCain's advances would have been Me and my campaign don't make deals with the party that has brought our country to the brink of disaster on almost every conceivable level."  

by georgep 2007-03-04 05:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Play Even

The last sentence should be:

I would have gained a lot of respect for Obama if McCain's advances would have been responded to:  "My campaign and myself don't make deals with the party that has brought our country to the brink of disaster on almost every conceivable level."  

by georgep 2007-03-04 05:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Play Even

Should be "my campaign and I," actually.

But the idea that the grammar of that sentence would matter is pretty silly, given that any version of it would alienate about 98% of the American population.

This country is not on the brink of disaster on almost every conceivable level.  Check out Darfur or Somalia.  Rwanda in 1993.  This country in 1859.  Those were countries on the brink of disaster.

You people want to win so badly that you're willing to go to any length, sacrifice any particular principle as long as it achieves the goal of destroying "the Republicans," who are as a class, across the board, and completely without distinction, understood to be the enemy.  

This is not politics - it's nationalism of the very worst sort.

by Baldrick 2007-03-04 07:57AM | 0 recs

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