Obama’s Campaign Finance Flip-Flop-Flip

January 25, 2011

 President Obama likes to talk about cutting spending so much so that the left fears his “move to center”:

As the president touts spending austerity, deficit reduction and extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, some Democrats worry Obama will pivot too hard away from the party’s core principles and concede too much to the new House GOP majority that campaigned on destroying his agenda.” (Meredith Shiner and Maggie Haberman, “Left laments Barack Obama’s move to center,” Politico, 1/24/2011)

Except the jury is still out on whether he’ll ever cut spending. Obama came out in opposition to the House Republicans’ first of a series of YouCut spending cut proposals, a measure which would save $671 million by ending taxpayer funding of presidential elections:

“The statement illustrates President Obama’s opposition to ending federal funding of presidential campaigns despite his decision in the 2008 campaign to not accept federal funding and use private donations instead.”

“The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) late Monday estimated that a bill eliminating taxpayer funding for presidential elections would save $617 million over the next 10 years.” (Erik Wasson, “Obama ‘strongly opposes’ end to federal funding of campaigns,” The Hill, 1/25/2011)

If Obama won’t support scrapping a “broken” system he abandoned by breaking a campaign promise, is there any spending he is actually willing to cut?:

“The excitement underpinning Senator Barack Obama’s campaign rests considerably on his evocative vows to depart from self-interested politics. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama has come up short of that standard with his decision to reject public spending limitations and opt instead for unlimited private financing in the general election.

“Mr. Obama is the first presidential candidate to rebuff the public system’s restrictions for the general election since they were enacted after the Watergate scandal. In doing so, he pronounced the public system ‘broken’ and turned away from his earlier strong suggestion — greatly applauded at the time — that he would pursue an agreement with the Republican candidate to preserve the publicly subsidized restraints this fall.” (Editorial, “Public Funding on the Ropes, The New York Times, 6/20/2008)