He changed

Whenever you want to show how soft big media are on Barack Obama, refer back to Howard Kurtz’ column on their coverage of the candidate’s hypocritical flip-flop on campaign financing. Chapter and verse. “The question: Are the media going to call Obama on the reversal? Will there be hand-wringing pieces about the corrupting role of money in politics? Or will the story just be covered as the two sides trading charges?” Howard analyzes their leads and how they tucked in mentions of the flip. e.g.,

NYT’s lead graf: “He argued that the system had collapsed, and would put him at a disadvantage running against Senator John McCain, his likely Republican opponent.” Fourth graf: It “represented a turnaround.”

  • Jeff, I felt that Barack did absolutely the right thing, and had told campaign people that he should reject that financing.

    He’s running a bottoms up campaign, where we all can participate with our votes and our dollars. It’s a campaign run with heavy participation from ordinary people like myself. We’d rather he take money from us than be involved with a failed public financing system.

    Here’s two real issues:

    — telecom amnesty: they want to operate above the law, should we let them?

    — support for the troops: who’s for the new GI Bill, who’s not?



  • tdc

    i thought mccain opted out of the public finance system long ago when he overspent the limits in the primaries.

    since there’s no quorum at the fec (thanks to the current guy’s tactics), why bother?

  • Mike

    It is funny to watch Bill Clinton get taken on and criticized in the main stream news after all of these years. I have a hard time remembering him being criticized like he has over the last 6-9 months during the 1990s and up through the early years of the 2000s. Has he really changed that much? I highly doubt it.

    I like Obama too, but I think he is going to have a high percentage of Americans who hate him with a passion come November because some of the coverage like this. It is human psych-people like Jeff who don’t like the guy are going to see the framing every time he is talked about and resent him more and more.

    I am hoping Obama can figure a way out to run a campaign and not come across as a golden boy.

  • Rob


    Just drop it. It’s clear you were a Clinton supporter, but if you want a Democrat in the White House in 2009, the political reality is that attacking Obama is the same supporting McCain.

    No politician should be expected to have the same opinion, the same policies, for his entire career. That kind of black and white ideology is what we have come to expect from the right. Do you really want to adopt the techniques of that party’s 2004 campaign by invoking the loaded phrase “flip-flop”?

    Obama needs to win the election. We need him to win the election. The public financing system, as it exists today, would hinder that. He has been up front about his decision.

  • Jeff, would you consider some even handed-ness in your political posts ? It makes your position on press bias seem fairly hypocritical.

    In terms of hypocritical flip-flops by poloiticians – maybe mention McCain on…um, let’s see…off-shore drilling, taxes, immigration…or even campaign finance:


    OP presidential contender John McCain says he can’t control every attack ad aimed at Democrat Barack Obama and fully expects he’ll face a similar barrage, sounding the bell for a raucous general election brawl.

    “I can’t be a referee of every spot run on television,” McCain told the Herald in an exclusive interview. “I admire Sen. Obama and his accomplishments, but we all know there are groups who want to attack me.”

    The Arizona senator’s hands-off posture on attack ads by now-infamous tax-free and unaccountable political groups called 527s marks a softening of his view on the negative campaign tactic – and opens the door to a no-holds-barred five-month scramble.

    In 2004, McCain strongly condemned 527 ads attacking then-Democratic presidential contender John Kerry’s war record.

    When “The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” released high-impact ads attacking Kerry’s actions in Vietnam, McCain – also a decorated war veteran – called the ads “dishonest and dishonorable” and urged fellow Republican President Bush to condemn the ads as well.

    The Swift Boat Veterans was a 527 group, which are tax-exempt entities who don’t have to answer to federal or state political finance committees, allowing candidates who gain by the ads to claim no involvement in them.

    But McCain may be smart in keeping mum on 527s – named after the federal tax code section which allows them – one pundit said.

  • I am likely to be an Obama voter but that doesn’t mean I can’t hold him to high standards. I am not a member of his cult so I can disagree with him. It’s allowed out here. No, I won’t drop it. He did not act on principle but on raw political expediency. Change? Ha!

  • Jeff, you’re entitled to “hold Obama to high standards,” just like the rest of us. And I realize, in a post like this, you’re trying to expose the inherent bias of the media, not bash Obama. But that’s what you’re indirectly doing.

    I realize you’re trying to change the media, but please don’t (conciously or unconciously) swiftboat Obama in the process.

    And, for the record, Melvin Bray has a great post explaining how this campaign funding issue is NOT a “flip-flop” by Obama. I encourage you to read it:

  • “I am not a member of his cult”

    So, if I support Senator Obama, I am a cultist? I’m blindly supporting the man for misguided reasons? How can you know that about me?

    Steve Mays

  • Mark

    Obama supporters panic whenever a story appears to question, criticize, or point out the hypocrisies of their candidate. See how they blindly pounce and plead “he must be elected” whenever someone asks: why does the emperor have no clothes?

  • No, Steve, but I’m being told I can’t criticize him and hold him to high standards. That’s a cultist talking.

  • “No, Steve, but I’m being told I can’t criticize him and hold him to high standards. That’s a cultist talking.”

    Ahh… and so where were your “non cultist” criticisms of Hillary when she proclaimed that “hard working americans, white americans” wouldn’t vote for Barack Obama. Your hard nosed criticism seems to go out the door when it relates to your candidate making clearly racially motivated arguments, or claiming that she was under sniper fire. What is worse… changing or even reneging on a position on campaign financing, or openly pitting white people against black people in a public speech?

    I for one am not defending the flip-flop on moral grounds. But as someone who has shown not a bit of balance or even-handed logic in your writing to claim that you are just holding Barack to a high standard just sounds silly. In truth you are just *bitter* and it shows in every angry I hate Obama post you make on the election. Why don’t you just hang an “Anyone but Obama” placards across your blog and be done with it.

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  • Ryan

    Obama was in a no-win situation. If he takes public financing, the “Jimmy Carter II” meme advances. If he doesn’t, well, he’s not Mr. Change after all, is he.

    Personally, I’d rather have someone who shows he can make the tough, cutthroat position from time to time. Plus, turning down a 4-to-1 financial advantage over McCain would be flat-out stupid. Posed with that choice, only a moron would choose the virtuous path. Presidential politics ain’t beanbag.

  • great, great post on TPM:

    The guy is not only ‘breaking his word’ he’s breaking the law.


    I am not asking you to express your frustration – but hoping someday you present some sense of consistencey.

  • CMWinfield

    Politics is politics but Obama’s campaign is something else. Since when have poor people, dispossessed people, kids and grannies gone into their own wallets and pumped money into anyone’s campaign? I find it difficult to characterize something like that as “private funding.”

    But, that aside, isn’t it comforting to have a politician admit that he was wrong/mistaken/poorly informed and then do something proactive instead of using his office to justify a decision?

  • tdc

    “…he’s breaking the law”


    based on the forementioned lack of a quorum at the fec, there is NO LAW.

  • roger rainey

    The whitewashing being done by the commenters here is of a piece with what is written in the MSM about this man every day. We are witnessing a nationwide phenomenon where millions upon millions, including most of our vaunted press corps, are seduced by empty platitudes and refuse to indulge the most minor scrutiny of this blank slate of a candidate. Its almost as if they are willfully trying to avoid learning more about him to preserve their own fantasies, and damn the consequences. This country is in for a world of hurt after Obama is elected and we all begin to realize how harmful his views, god forbid they lead to enacted policy, really are.

  • Cooler Heads

    Real public financing is when the public is willing to send $25 to a candidate…that ends up being millions of people sending millions of dollars. This kind of financing, small amounts through the internet from many people, has the potential to upend the current process that favors the rich.

    I love it. I think it’s real populism at work. And runs totally counter to way Clinton and McCain set up their campaigns. They both planned to rely on rich people, bundled donations, special interests.

  • roger rainey

    Cooler Head, Obama has received more money from rich people and from corporations than either McCain or Clinton.

  • Obama’s track record continues to reveal a politician offering little more than the status quo in terms of policy. He’s dressed up in a charismatic package, that’s all.

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  • LTB

    Obama himself said – and I’m paraphrasing here – that Hillary did him a favor by being a really tough opponent. I have to believe that having tough supporters is an opportunity as well.

    For my part, I’m much more concerned with Obama’s stand on telcom immunity than on campaign financing. I’m looking for an unequivacal message from Obama that rule of law will be restored, the Justice Dept with return to Not-Arm-Of-The-Executive-Brach status, that over-reaching presidential powers will be re-redefined — and until I see that, anyone from the Obama campaign who wants my penny ante, embarassingly small campaign donations, can pound dirt.

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