John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Obama Buys an Election

Posted on October 19, 2008



            Should the most liberal and the least experienced Presidential candidate in our nation’s history win the election this November, it will be because he bought it.


            Give Barack Obama credit.  He has revolutionized how fundraising is done at the Presidential level.  He combined the tactics used by and the Howard Dean to use the grassroots power of the Internet to raise close to a billion dollars in campaign money.  And he now has a huge fundraising advantage over his opponent, John McCain.


            That McCain is a victim of these fundraising tactics should make proponents of the First Amendment grimace in satisfaction.  Since President Bush signed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill, the Republicans have been bludgeoned in the fundraising department in every election.  John Kerry spent $120 million than Bush in 2004, Democrats vastly outraised the Republicans in Congressional election in 2006, and this year, just about every part of the Democratic coalition is outraising the Republicans. 


            Democratic hypocrisy on this issue is abundant. 


            Here is what Barack Obama told the Washington Post about his pledge to pursue public financing:


“In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election. My proposal followed announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they could raise unlimited funds in the general election. The Federal Election Commission ruled the proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.”


Of course, that turned out to be a lie.  Obama told McCain to stick it when McCain told him that he would stick to the spending limits required by taking public financing.  The Obama campaign’s basic philosophy on this issue is the ends justify the means.  As long as Obama is elected, nothing else matters.


The Democratic Party pretty much agrees with the Obama philosophy.  Anything goes, as long as the Democrats get the money and get the power.  K Street shakedown?  Bad when Republicans do it, patriotic when Democrats do it.  Special interest spending?  Good when Democrats do it, evil when Republicans do it.  Getting money from big money Wall Street firms?  Evidence of an openness to the business community when Democrats do it, but an example of corruption when Republicans do it.


The worst thing about this Democratic hypocrisy is when the big money Democrats, like George Soros, used so-called public interest groups, like Common Cause, to pass legislation like McCain-Feingold, only to exploit the loopholes in the law to pour more unregulated money into the election process than ever before.


The media, of course, has largely given the Democrats and Obama a pass on this issue.   But in the next election, when neither major party presidential candidate will bother with public funs, the press should remember this important fact:  The public financing system is dead and Barack Obama killed it.

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