Barack Obama’s record as a maverick, either in the U.S. Senate or his years as an Illinois legislator, is slender at best. Behind the self-avowed reformer’s rhetoric, his policies seem typical, demanding ever-bigger government, ever-more intrusive government.
But there’s at least one reform practiced by candidate Obama that could yield some very good changes indeed: His rejection of government funding of presidential campaigns.
Note I say “practiced by,” not “advocated by.” Obama has opted out of the system for tactical reasons only. In doing so he broke a promise earlier in the campaign that he would accept matching funds – along with the limits on his own general election spending that this would entail. But he had scooped up so much financial support so fast that he decided it would be shooting himself in the foot to accept spending restrictions.
Obama may be uncomfortable with his flip-flop. I applaud it – no, not the hypocrisy of it, but the example it sets for policy.
We should never force taxpayers to fund campaigns they may not support. And while we’re at it, let’s cut away the tangle of campaign laws regulating how much money we can give a candidate, or what and when and where we can say things about candidates.
If Obama could sign on to that proposal, he could really punch away at McCain on the issue. Obama would then be advocating real reform. Real good reform.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.