Monday, June 30, 2008

Obama Getting In Touch With His Grassroots

Did Barack Obama really break his promise when he decided to stop taking public financing? That was the major question in last week's election news. Obama has repeatedly been called a flip flopper for deciding to no longer accept public funding. So listening to my daily talk radio I have learned that there are a lot of mixed emotions about this issue. Some I understood and some I think were out of left field. Obama truly believes that the financial system within politics is broken. This is made very apparent through his method of getting most of his funding, the internet. Obama is determined to fix this financial system and one of the steps he is personally taking in this venture is to take no more public funding. Does that make him a rule breaker or a flip flopper?

Obama acknowledges that the system is needed. It came out of the financial scandal in Watergate and has been used by all candidates for most of its existence but it is still flawed. One caller, Mary from Kansas said that "Obama talks out of both sides of his mouth. He says one thing and does something else. I don't trust anything that he says." Another caller pointed out that it is revolutionary where his money is coming from. Do the numerous contributions, private and public, equate to votes? No one in history has ever done this much internet fundraising so how will this all pan out in the general election? However, this is not the only money that he raised. Bundlers are a big part of his funding as well. However, bundlers have been known to cause many problems within the logistics of finances as well throughout a campaign. Many Obama supporters seem to be skeptical as well about him turning down public funding. One woman stated she hates to think that money buys elections but she thinks that it certainly helps because that funding is not just for aid but also influence. Republican strategist Tony Fabritsio says he hopes that this campaign is decided based upon the issues not on how much money was raised and used.

But this is a huge venture for Barack Obama. This will be the first time in years where you will have literally one major party nominee that will have the ability to outspend the other one by 2 to 3 times! A huge advantage for Obama. People are asking if McCain can compete. It is not about the money he has. It is about the fact that he is able to more accurately gage where his voters are coming from. Fabritsio points out that when Barack Obama puts out an email blast, due to his lengthy contributor list and a volunteer list that rivals any ever seen, his message reaches more people than any cable broadcast network. Amazing. This is due to the amount of grassroots support he has in SO many states.

However, in past statements Obama said he would be willing to accept public financing if him and McCain could sit down and discuss the logistics of it. As far as anyone knows McCain has not entertained the notion to do so. It seems that Obama does not want to deal with the illegal actions of some 527 Groups when it comes to fundraising and wants to discuss flaws in the system before he decides to take any more public financing. (Well at least that's what I get out of it.) Republicans argue that the money allotted in the general election plus the amount of money that the parties raise is more than enough funding, and if Obama just concentrated on making money for the Democratic party he'd get a lot of legitmate "on the up and up" funding. They also argue that when he signed the committment statement in 2007 to run he knew what was asked of him as far as finances.

So is Obama's integrity at question? Did he break a promise?Is it a HUGE deal that Obama has decided to pass on the public funding? Interested to hear some opinions on this one...

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