September 29, 2023

Working for Change and “Will Work for Change”: A Tale of Two War Chests

Working for Change_02-25-2008_smallWith apologies to Senator Clinton who isn’t out of the race yet and could still pull a Clintonian miracle and find her way to the head of the Democratic bumper sticker this fall (though the potential cost gets bloodier and bloodier with every delegate that Obama accumulates), the presumptive candidates for the general election are already being taken to task for how they’re going to fund their autumn campaigns.

Inasmuch as he remains committed to any issue he’s ever stood for, John McCain is, for the moment, still riding the campaign financing pony that he’s embraced for much of his recent Senate career. The McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill particularly sparks the enmity of the Limbaughts, because apparently it’s a boot on the throat of free speech to prevent telecommunications and pharmaceutical executives from donating as much as they please to a given candidate (that has to do with some cynical liberal paranoia that there would ever be a quid pro quo assumed with such an arrangement. Whatever. Like that ever happens).

Obama’s position is a bit rickety on this issue. He took a pledge with Senator McCain last year that, if he were the nominee, he would only accept public financing for the general election if his Republican opponent did the same. You remember last year–when John McCain was moving more pink slips than Victoria’s Secret and shopping school district bus auctions for a new Straight-Talk Express, flying coach and carrying his own luggage? When it looked like Hillary would raise more money than the Gross National Product of Heaven and before tens of millions of Americans galvanized and anointed Barack Obama America’s Piggy Bank, and most polls had him hard-pressed to see Hillary’s backside with binoculars?

Fast-forward to 2008 and…who knew? Look who the last two men standing are probably going to be. And this is where the memories get selective, and the original intents “clarified”. Obama could cure muscular dystrophy as fast as he’s raising money and, at least before the New York Times non-story rallied the GOP to circle the wagons, McCain couldn’t pry Republicans’ wallets open with a Jaws-Of-Life.

This is going to be one situation where political expediency wins out over principle. Obama will continue to dodge the issue or drag his feet on one point or another, and continue to use his own massive war chest rather than accept that much-ballyhooed “level playing field”.

Don’t look for “Senator McClean” to take the high road either. For one thing, as last week’s Times episode proved, there’s no way the Republicans are going to sit on their checkbooks and let Obama walk away with this election. He’s already proving that he can be encouraged to re-evaluate his positions on key issues, and that will only continue as he’s enticed by the opportunity to purchase ad buys against his Democratic opponent.

That kind of talk is apostasy to his alleged true believers. The Arizona Senator is a man of his word, and he’s no more committed to that word than when it comes to the area of campaign finance reform.

Well, sort of. McCain was entitled to accept $6 million in federal funds, but offered a polite, “No thank you, my friend” because it would have placed spending limits on his campaign between now and the convention.

It’s all for the best. Campaign finance reform is a noble idea in the abstract, but Obama can’t very well tell his supporters to stop inundating him with money, can he? And it would be unseemly if he used all that leftover private dough to take Michelle and the kids to Hawaii (a few thousand times).

As for “Senator McCoin” it was a sad enough spectacle watching the Senator have to travel with the great unwashed as he attempted to resurrect his battered and bankrupted campaign, and no one wants to witness the indignity of a major party candidate having to send his surrogates out with empty coffee cans and handwritten signs to stand at freeway exits. Barring any onerous contribution limits, I’ll toss in my two cents for politics-as-usual.

“I’M SORRY. PLEASE LET ME MAKE THIS WHITE….RIGHT!”: I imagine if there’s one place in the country where a lapse in racial sensitivity might be understood in the lily-white context of its makeup, it would probably be Utah. Still, one has to wonder what got into Utah Senator Chris Buttars when he said of a bill making its way through the statehouse that other Senators referred to as “the ugly baby bill”, “This baby is black. It’s a dark, ugly thing.”

He also apparently is unfamiliar with the adage, as Stephanie Miller said of his dilemma, “Once you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” He issued an apology, stunned that what he said could be construed as racist, and then continued to douse himself in gasoline before pulling out his Zippo and complaining of the “hate lynch mob” assailing him. Again stunned at the outrage of using a symbol of racial brutality to attempt to defuse a racial “misunderstanding”, he finally threw up his hands and remarked, “How do I know what words I’m supposed to use in front of those people?”