Monday, June 25, 2012

The Hijacking of Democracy

    Four years ago, the Obama 2008 campaign made history.  The New York Times reported:
Obama Forgoes Public Funds in First for Major Candidate

WASHINGTON — 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.

With his decision, Mr. Obama became the first candidate of a major party to decline public financing — and the spending limits that go with it — since the system was created in 1976, after the Watergate scandals.
 And with those limits out of the way, Obama went on to make more history (ABC News):
He was not quite the first $1 billion president -- but he was three quarters of the way there.
In 21-plus months, Barack Obama raised roughly $750 million from donors, surpassing all of his White House opponents this year and also eclipsing the total amount of money raised by all of the presidential candidates combined in 2004...
To put the $750 million in perspective:
McCain's fundraising for the 2008 cycle was not terrible. The Arizona senator raised a respectable $238 million from donors, in addition to the $84 million federal grant he received for participating in the public financing system.
 And of course this year, the Obama campaign reversed course on SuperPACS (New York Times):
President Obama is signaling to wealthy Democratic donors that he wants them to start contributing to an outside group supporting his re-election, reversing a long-held position as he confronts a deep financial disadvantage on a vital front in the campaign.
Out with the public financing and in with the private!  So forgive me if I seem a bit jaded in my reaction to Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter writing on the BarackObama.com blog this weekend:
...right now, we can't change the laws that allow the hijacking of our democracy by private money.
And she wants us to "take this seriously"?  If private money constitutes the "hijacking of democracy", then our republic has been sitting on a runway at Entebbe for four years waiting for a daring raid to set it free.  Let's hope the Romney campaign is as successful as the Israelis were in 1976 (on July 4th, no less) at ending our long, national hostage nightmare.

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