Skip to main content

From Obama's debate intro Thursday night

Senator Clinton mentioned Barbara Jordan, somebody who ... said that what the American people want is very simple: They want an America that is as good as its promise. I’m running for president because I want to help America be as good as its promise.

And I marvel at this, because I'd been thinking a lot lately about Obama's promises, and a former Hooters waitress from Panama City Beach, Florida.

Waitress wins You may remember Jodee Berry, who was led to believe that the winner of her employer's regional sales contest would be awarded a brand new Toyota!  After hustling her hot-pants'd buns off and winning the contest, a breathless Ms. Berry was blindfolded, escorted to the parking lot, and presented with her brand new toy Yoda!

The disappointed waitress brought suit for breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation, eventually settling for an undisclosed sum, but one clearly sufficient to cover the price of any Toyota on the lot.

[Cross-posted, as usual, from The Confluence.]

In this context, we review a curious set of instances in which Sen. Obama's counterparties came to believe that something had been promised, but when those promises stood to be fulfilled the Senator's position became ... something else again.

In our most recent case, Sen. Obama's fellow campaign finance reform advocate Sen. McCain thought they had agreed to abide by public financing restrictions in the 2008 general election, should they become their respective parties' nominees.

An earlier case involves the same Sen. McCain, who believed he had secured a promise by the rookie Sen. Obama to work jointly on bipartisan lobbying/ethics reform legislation.

A third and most serious instance involves Sen. Obama's answer to a question posed at the July 2007 YouTube Debate, and his subsequent increasingly nuanced interpretations of that answer.

Taken together, these cases suggest that Barack Obama may not recognize a promise when it passes his lips.

Or are the misunderstandings on the other foot, and are his argumentative defenses sufficient? Toyota or toy Yoda? You decide.

In the case of public financing, per this March 1, 2007 NYT lede:

Senator John McCain joined Senator Barack Obama on Thursday in promising to accept a novel fund-raising truce if each man wins his party’s presidential nomination.

... [Obama spokesman] Burton added that if nominated Mr. Obama would "aggressively pursue an agreement" with   whoever was his opponent.

Now that the hypothesized predicate "if each man wins his party’s presidential nomination" seems within reach, and Obama's fundraising prowess has grown legendary, and Sen. McCain seeks to enforce the agreement -- Sen. Obama seems engaged in evasive maneuvers rather than aggressive pursuit.

Obama's prospective "out" in this case is to pull an ancillary condition out of the hat. He'll consider the pledge null and void unless McCain can guarantee a "a publicly financed general election" -- meaning no 527 expenditures by independent supporters of either party. This, of course, McCain cannot guarantee. (Nor can Obama. Nobody can. It's the law.)

Thus, from Obama's nuanced perspective, Obama's March 1 pledge is unenforceable -- now, and in any foreseeable sequel. Likewise, it was unenforceable when it was made.

This, then, was an empty promise. It advantaged Obama at the time (in media visibility and good-government credits), but didn't bind his future conduct in any way that might conceivably disadvantage him.

Consider next Obama and McCain's infamous public exchange of letters from February 2006. McCain:

I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere.

Obama:

I confess that I have no idea what has prompted your response.

Obama had accepted McCain's invitation to the formative session of a bipartisan working group, and left the group with the impression he was on board. A press stand-up with Sen. Feingold seemed to confirm this commitment, and he sang from the hymnal of bipartisan reform at other public forums (in addition to which, Republicans still controlled Congress).

Nevertheless he signed on to a Democratic draft, a move that effectively pulled the legislative rug out from under McCain's efforts. Obama made this known to McCain in a letter released to the press.

One writer who used to play hoop with Barack says he has a wicked cross-over dribble. I'll bet McCain felt like he'd been faked out of his socks.

There are times in politics when you can't help crossing up one ally or another ... but the times a few and far between when you can't let them know where you're going, and why, face-to-face. Obama's letters seem clotted with mistakes and misunderstandings that might have been avoided in such an encounter. In the end, though, the central problem was that he did not realize what he had promised, and to whom.

Our third instance is of much greater portent. In the famed YouTube Debate, Obama was asked a very precise question:

In 1982, Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since.

In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?

[Note for accuracy: Sadat visited Israel in 1977, not 1982, and was assassinated in 1981.]

Obama answered without hesitation:

I would.

In subsequent discussion, this commitment becomes serially more nuanced.

  • As a diplomatic term of art, "without precondition" does not mean "unconditionally" or "without prerequisite agreements" ... more like "without predetermined substantive outcomes or limits to outcomes". [As a rule, BTW, it's the weaker of the two parties who will seek preconditions, and the stronger who resists them. And divergent perspectives as to what's a precondition and what's not can delay substantive contacts interminably.]

  • "You" doesn't necessarily refer to "President Obama". It could refer to lower-echelon emissaries or even third party intermediaries.

  • "Meet" doesn't necessarily imply "meet", i.e., encounter in person. It could simply mean "communicate", though channels.

  • And "I would" doesn't necessarily mean "I would". It has been whittled down to "I'm willing" ... with the clear proviso that "I'm willing" doesn't necessarily mean "I will".


Most of these qualifiers merely nullify boundaries between Obama's diplomacy and Clinton's -- or for that matter, Bush's. But the last item is a bombshell. How will President Obama receive the enthusiastic acceptance of a Chavez, (Raul) Castro or Ahmadinejad who gushes:

You're willing? Listen, Barry, you're not gonna believe this, but guess what? I'm willing, too! Isn't that a kick in the head? Hey, I'll be in New York next month at the U.N., I know a great little place across the river where we can meet separately, without precondition. Plus, the appetizers are out of this world, and you gotta see their regular bartender ...  guy named Rico .. you name it, he can do it. Whaddya say Barry? ... Barry? ... Hello. ... Hello! ... Oh, hell.

Candidate Obama's answer will be perceived as extending a promise to other heads of state, conditional on his election. If that condition is satisfied, and it turns out that "I would" can mean "I'm willing, but I won't", President Obama will be perceived as having broken a promise. Misunderstanding could arise, leading to harshly worded letters ... perhaps even worse.

By the Laws of Politics, breaking a promise is a civil infraction ... but not keeping track of your promises is a felony. In all three instances, Obama does not seem to realize what he had promised.

And that's not counting Obama's BIG promise, the one his followers are iching to elect him for ... a promise so big, no serious aspirant to high office has made one like it, anywhere, ever.

We'll get to that one another day. Meanwhile, what's in your future? A new Toyota? Or a new toy Yoda?

Originally posted to RonK Seattle on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 02:53 PM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Nice condescending diary title (10+ / 0-)

    There themes to be a "young people are stupid" theme in some of the diaries that have been published today.

    Full Disclosure: I'm an Obama Supporter

    by smash artist on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 02:58:02 PM PST

    •  "Obama may be as bad as HRC" not a good title: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highacidity

      HRC won't say anything about public financing, but Obama MIGHT be as bad as she is, so let's all vote McCain.

      More confused, tone deaf HRC campaigning.

      If she's so hardworking and wonky, why didn't she read the NIE before voting for the war?

      by Inland on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 04:26:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What would be great, is if for once, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        linnen

        an Obama supporter would read a diary such as this, that brings up some important and well presented issues about their man, and acknowledge that maybe, just maybe Obama does have some flaws. Instead all we get are excuses and more triangulation, no matter how much evidence is presented. I'm an Edwards democrat, but I'm the first to acknowledge that JE doesn't walk on water, and he does have some ideas that I don't think too highly of, but I suppose I'm asking for too much from the Obama faithful.

        •  Obama's flaw: may be as bad as HRC. (0+ / 0-)

          But maybe not.

          It would be interesting if someone could actually COMPARE the candidates, rather than engaging in a purity exercise out of the context of the campaign.

          If you consider less than purity a flaw, sure.  But of course, you have to claim that we see Obama as pure, when in reality, we just see his flaws as immaterial to the big picture.  He's not going to sacrifice his fundraising advantage to make a purity point.  I can live with it.

          If she's so hardworking and wonky, why didn't she read the NIE before voting for the war?

          by Inland on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 07:05:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  There may be a lot of disappointed progressives (9+ / 0-)

    by the end of 2009, but at least we'll have a Democratic president

  •  it's obama hit piece central today. (9+ / 0-)

    was there a freeper attack when i wasn't looking?

    Cynicism is a sorry form of wisdom. -Barack Obama

    by jj24 on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 02:59:18 PM PST

    •  RonK Seattle has been posting since 2004 (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MarkC, realalaskan, farleftcoast

      (or earlier?)

      but there's sure been a big attack of something around here lately.

      •  he's been posting (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pletzs

        condescending, depressing crap since 2004...  I've said this before--if Obama's elected and successful as president and that drives some of these gleefully pessimistic folks out of business, it will be a nice side effect. Of course, they'll just move the goalposts or something, but at least we can ignore them in earnest.

        Barack Obama ate at the Chowder House

        by JMS on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 04:01:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Easy on RonK (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          highacidity

          It's not easy holding a senior position in the James Carville fan club these day. All us whippersnappers just don't understand the political genius it took to win 43% of the vote in 1992 (and then push the Dems into minority party status over the next eight years).

      •  2002 - and note to readers re 'pletzs': (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        farleftcoast

        This member has been stalking and sniping since August 2003 ... when I wrote something about Howard Dean that rubbed him the wrong way (but which Markos, and Howard -- among others -- are directly aware was well-founded).

        •  RonK, I admire your courage (0+ / 0-)

          It is not easy telling it like you see it.  I am appalled by the snark directed at you -- I bet not one of these people have any clue about your HISTORY here at DKos, your brilliant writings, and your superb comments in others' diaries for many years.  I was always thrilled when you posted your smart insights in one of my earnest diaries about torture at Bagram and Bucca, and extraordinary rendition.  (Oh well, these punks have no clue about either of our histories here.)

          Ron, I have looked for an e-mail address for you.  Please drop me a fast line at susanunpc at gmail dot com

        •  Question (0+ / 0-)

          Someone on myDD showed me your post on the BHO health care plan.  I tried to add my myDD response to your diary, but it failed, so I'm sticking it here, I apologize for being extremely off topic.

          A few things jump out immediately:

          Note: In the interest of conserving time, I'm skipping to obviously baseless claims, such as implying that BHO doesn't care about limiting expenses, that way I can focus on his specific policies.  If you can show me where BHO said he doesn't care about limiting expenses or any claim I missed, then we'll have something to discuss.

          BHO is for a Patients Bill of Rights

          No candidate is suggesting a single payer plan

          BHO is for negotiating for drug prices, as well as other reforms to part D.

          The NYT article about Cutler shows that he is a respected, well published academic.  His peer reviewed publications are quantitative analysis, based on actual data.  Cutler has suggested some policies that Obama has rejected, e.g. vouchers.  I say, "so what?"  Do you have criticisms of the parts of Cutler's research that have been adopted by Obama.  If you're only against the stuff Obama is against, you should be for Obama.  So please identify what part of Obama's plan you don't like, rather than playing the red herring game with Cutler.

          Again no candidate is supporting a single payer.

          What's wrong with Cutler's work on economic valuatons.  He used historical data to show that some efforts at efficiency are more effective than others.  I say the more research the better.  For example I also like the Dartmouth research.
          http://www.dartmouthatlas.org/
          What is your point, we should never do health care research?  And, what about Obama's plan do you object to?

          What does John Graham have to do with the Obama plan?  (This diary has gone way beyond throwing the kitchen sink, now they're tossing the plumbing and the floor.)

          Then, complaining about the lack of a mandate.  Never mind that mandates don't work (MA only half are insured and the system is out of money.)  And, don't note that the CA mandate plan was supported by the big insurance companies, and it only got 1 vote out of 11 on the committee.  And, don't mention that HRC has an unfunded mandate.  Only the poor will have subsidizes--just like the BHO plan.  HRC wants to charge a fine to middle class citizens.  We don't know many details about the fine but we've heard it could be 10% of a family's income (and this won't cover the actual cost of insurance for a middle income family, so it is more likely to be higher than 10% rather than lower, or they could just pay the fine and not have health care, as has happened in MA.)  Can you imagine families that are living pay check to pay check being charged a 10% tax.  And, the effect of this is that the government will continue to take pressure off of the private insurers so that they can make more profits.

          Then, more talk about the limits of effeciencies.  I agree that the HRC and BHO plans won't realize huge cost savings because neither of them are single payer.  But, at least BHO doesn't burden middle income families with an unfunded mandate that they can't afford.

          Cutler is correct when he questions the fee for service model that the government follows.  Ask any health care administrator, they'll tell you that the government fee for service system is the financial support that providers depend on, this allows the private companies to drive down their costs as they increase there profits.

          Then, more talk that doesn't refer to Obama's policies.

          Then, more complaining about the lack of the mandate which I addressed above.

          Please ask me any specific question that you feel I missed as I read through the diary.  In particular could you focus on the questions that relate to Obama's plan.  I'm not sure what can be gained by noting the Cutler ideas that have been rejected by Obama.  If you don't like the rejected ideas, and Obama doesn't like the rejected ideas, then you agree with Obama.  

          Also, do you have thoughts on the back and forth between Julian and Jonathon?  (Jonathon has already been described as crap on myDD, so the bar is pretty low.)

          http://thinkonthesethings.wordpress....

    •  I'm far from a Clinton fan. (0+ / 0-)

      Legitimate tough question, answerable.

      Thanks, RonK, for the basketball link. which doesn't reflect unfavorble with me.

      Time to change my sig.

      by ben masel on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 04:55:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Links to your charges of equivocation? (5+ / 0-)

    Nice of you to stand up for Senator McCain and all, but I'm wondering where this is sourced?

    In subsequent discussion, this commitment becomes serially more nuanced.

    As a diplomatic term of art, "without precondition" does not mean "unconditionally" or "without prerequisite agreements" ... more like "without predetermined substantive outcomes or limits to outcomes". [As a rule, BTW, it's the weaker of the two parties who will seek preconditions, and the stronger who resists them. And divergent perspectives as to what's a precondition and what's not can delay substantive contacts interminably.]

    "You" doesn't necessarily refer to "President Obama". It could refer to lower-echelon emissaries or even third party intermediaries.

    "Meet" doesn't necessarily imply "meet", i.e., encounter in person. It could simply mean "communicate", though channels.

    And "I would" doesn't necessarily mean "I would". It has been whittled down to "I'm willing" ... with the clear proviso that "I'm willing" doesn't necessarily mean "I will".

    Back it up.

    "In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope."

    by Pacific NW Mark on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:00:11 PM PST

    •  good timeline of evolution of Obama's response (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ben masel, RonK Seattle, farleftcoast

      is here.

      RonK Seattle seems to be rhetorically satirizing how finely Obama has reparsed this pledge, but there has been a whole lot of backing and filling going on by the Obama campaign on the issue.  It remains unclear to me if, as president, Obama intends to meet with leaders antagonistic to American interests without using the meeting itself as a bargaining chip, or not.

      But it does seem clear that he stated a more black-and-white diplomatic policy during the debate than the more complex, nuanced policy he actually holds in his mind.  Whether that is a flaw, or simply the nature of televised debate, is -- well -- debatable.

    •  Here's a start: MTP, Nov 11, 2007 (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      catfish, farleftcoast, PamelaD

      ... though these ref's are easily found in more recent speech.

      MR. RUSSERT:  In July, you were asked if you were willing to meet separately without pre-condition during your first year with Fidel Castro, Kim Jung Il, Hugo Chavez.  You said yes.  You stand by that?

      SEN. OBAMA:  I do.  The—now,
      I did not say that I would be meeting with all of them.  I said I’d be willing to.  Obviously, there is a difference between pre-conditions and preparation.  Pre-conditions, which was what the question was in that debate, means that we won’t meet with people unless they’ve already agreed to the very things that we expect to be meeting with them about.  And obviously, when we say to Iran, "We won’t meet with you until you’ve agreed to all the terms that we’ve laid out," from their perspective that’s not a negotiation, that’s not a meeting.  Preparation means that we are sitting down ahead of time, various lower-level diplomats and envoys, are sorting out what’s the agenda going to be?  ... Once those items are on the table, then, yes, I would be willing to have a meeting to see if we can make progress on these fronts.

      http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...

      Incidentally, the word "willing" passes Obama's lips about a dozen times in that conversation, and I'll suggests it's a word he uses artfully.

  •  Most binding contracts . . . (7+ / 0-)

    are made in writing.  There was no binding pledge.

    On the other hand McCain's team conceived a loan scheme which essentially was designed to game the public financing system.  There is an arguable case here that the McCain scheme was actually designed to perpetuate a fraud against the U.S. taxpayers (e.g. he was going to stay in the race even if he was non-viable, simply to collect funds to repay a bank loan).  

    A strictly literal reading of those loan terms might say that he adhered in a very slim manner to the letter of the law.  He certainly violated the spirit of it.

    Never mind that McCain's questionable opt out of public financing during the primary -- and violation of the spending limits could very well constitute a violation of civil and criminal laws.

  •  Hi RonK (5+ / 0-)

    I heard second-hand that Obama said he would agree to limits on campaign expenditures IF the Republican candidate could guarantee there would be no swiftboat attacks forthcoming.  Since they obviously can't guarantee that, nor would they if they could, then it makes sense for him to remain fully armed for defense if necessary.

    How does that sound to you?  I have no link though, maybe someone out there can back me up.

    Never give up! Never surrender!

    by oscarsmom on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:03:35 PM PST

    •  No, Obama's pact with McCain was unconditional (6+ / 0-)

      ... explicit, and public (except for being conditioned on D's nominating Obama and R's nominating McCain).

      He separately said he'd "aggressively" pursue discussion with any OTHER Republican nominee.

      And as I pointed out, an offer conditioned on things that can't be done is a phony offer. (Certain real estate analogies come to mind.)

      It's an absolute renege, which Obama's camp tries to cover with the diversionary claim that it was an empty promise.

      •  You're not reading his quote about it (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rick, ILDem, cosmicrob, oscarsmom

        ooops, I get it, you don't WANT to read the original quote.  Far from "unconditional."

        You know, I think it's fine to do diaries criticizing Obama.  Honest ones.  Diaries that don't start from

        In this context, we review a curious set of instances

        after telling a tale of nastiness totally unrelated to Obama.  

        Makes this a hit piece.

        NetrootNews coming soon!

        by ksh01 on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:45:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Has there been a den meeting (8+ / 0-)

    of the Clammy Clinton Desperation Club?

    Cuz we got a lot of them type of diaries in the last hour or so.

    NetrootNews coming soon!

    by ksh01 on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:04:23 PM PST

  •  Whatever Obama's faults, HRC is damaged goods (5+ / 0-)

    She was damaged goods before the campaign started, thanks to her vote on Iraq and bewildering excuses for that vote.

    In recent weeks, she's compounded her problems with her increasingly graceless performance on the campaign trail.

    I never had high hopes for her, but she's now so damaged that even if she is elected, she's likely to accomplish nothing and open the door to a Republican comeback.

    John McCain's Straight Talk Express runs on fossil fuels.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:04:39 PM PST

  •  I don't see how there was any agreement. (6+ / 0-)

    Obama said he would work to achieve an agreement.  He still says that.  This is an obnoxious and risible charge, especially when made not by a Republican or member of the press, but by a supposed partisan Democrat.

    •  go back to posting blank comments (5+ / 0-)

      they may be thoughtless but they made more sense.

      There is not much question that Obama said he intended to acecpt public financing before his fundraising took off:

      Q: If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?

      Obama: "Yes.

      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."

      Most of us agree that he should now break this promise, in favor of getting elected.  But there is also something to be said for keeping one's promises -- running as the "straight talk" candidate against someone who wants to hold onto that mantle -- and that's a position that can be reasonably sounded out in a forum like this.

      or, at least, a forum like this used to be.

      •  you beat me to it...I had trouble copying the (0+ / 0-)

        Adobe doc...

        NetrootNews coming soon!

        by ksh01 on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:27:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not to Parse (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rick, ksh01, Tonedevil

        the meaning of "yes," but Obama didn't make a promise.  He stated that, yes, he would aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to "preserve a publicly financed general election."  He pledged nothing.  Now he seems to have changed his mind.

        When you say he promised one thing, then went back on that promise, you're implicitly calling him a liar.  At worst, call him a waffler over this issue.  I for one heartily endorse Obama's changing view about how to finance his campaign, especially considering the value of having one million and more small donors as fuel.  As a Democrat, I would much rather have my nominee "waffle" on this issue than on significant issues within the Democratic platform.  

        You can even term his earlier response "naive," but again, who among us knew that Senator Obama would so completely rout fundraising records?  He certainly didn't, and if he had said last spring that he hoped to be raking in upwards of $100M in the first quarter of 2008, we would all have called him a delusional narcissist.

        As for how this brouhaha is playing out, I think Obama is the clear winner, because it forces McCain and other Republicans to whine about the Democrat with the massive fundraising advantage, even as McCain is beset by fundraising problems, is fighting with the FEC, and is contending with stories of the lobbyists who conduct business from the Straight Talk Express.

        As for McCain-Feingold: Is there nothing more beautiful than a Democratic candidacy fueled by an army of small contributors?  I call that Democracy in action, and I'm proud to be a tiny part of it.

      •  FWIW..your snark is off... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ksh01

        jlkenney is not jkennerl.  ;)

        "In your hands lies the future of your world and the fulfillment of the best qualities of your own spirit." -RFK

        by carolinadreamer on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:56:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  however (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rick

        I don't read this as a promise....

        "If I am the Dem nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Rep nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election."

        First, off, McCain pre-empted this by opting out for the general, right?

        Second, his plan to "preserve the strength of the public financing system" includes "a fundraising truce, return excess money, etc. ..."

        I feel like I'm trying to be as objective as feasible, but I just can't see this as a promise to take public financing or anything else but a promise to agressively pursue an agreement that includes the various aspects of the plan he outlined.

        NetrootNews coming soon!

        by ksh01 on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:57:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's a subsequent pledge ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          farleftcoast

          ... with (perhaps typically) auxiliary conditions attached to the original pledge.

          And secondy, McCain opted out for the primary, and wants to opt in (mutually) for the general.

          •  no, no, He's worried he may HAVE to opt in (0+ / 0-)

            due to taking the loan and not having a quorum to decide if he can get out now or in the general since he took a loan based on opting in during the general.

            So it seems you're okay with giving McCain an advantage but because Obama asked for an advisory opinion from the FEC regarding whether private donations can be given back IF he opts in, he should be stuck with opting in?

            This doesn't make any sense to me.

            NetrootNews coming soon!

            by ksh01 on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 05:21:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  is McCain willing to commit to Obama's plan (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RonK Seattle, farleftcoast

          that is, the one Obama mentions in this statement?

          to your first point, as far as I'm aware, McCain opted out for the primary, not the general.

          second, from Obama's summary of his plan here, I read nothing in it about limiting 527s -- and if that's the case then it would seem that Obama has moved the goal posts, and would no longer commit to his own plan from last year.  

          not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that -- as I wrote above, there are worse things in a politician than strategic disingenuousness during a tough campaign.  

          but to those who say that Obama never shook on the deal, there is an ounce of truth in that -- but it does seem like Obama put out his hand, McCain went to shake, and Obama just went "psyyyyche!" and smoothed back his hair instead.

          •  We should be especially attentive (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            farleftcoast, PamelaD

            ... given that Obama is all promise and no record (exaggerating only slightly), and is making promises on a scale no figure in history ever has.

          •  well, I know we are FOR McCain in this thread (0+ / 0-)

            but he's committed to nothing of the sort.

            McCain is trying...perhaps unsuccessfully....to avoid public financing as we speak.

            If she's so hardworking and wonky, why didn't she read the NIE before voting for the war?

            by Inland on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 04:23:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  if that's true then Obama will have an easy out (0+ / 0-)

              but McCain has promised to accept public financing if the Democratic nominee does.

              another beautiful snark killed by pesky facts

              •  "Has promised"? As in "You first"? Oh. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ksh01

                I guess that Obama doesn't trust McCain's "you first" promise.  

                Maybe you think Obama should be more trusting of McCain, but I"m afraid HRC would mock him for it.  Probably rightly, this time.

                Can we still count on your support in the fall?  

                If she's so hardworking and wonky, why didn't she read the NIE before voting for the war?

                by Inland on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 04:47:55 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  McCain's position is similar to Obama's previous (0+ / 0-)

                  one.  Obama is right to reject it, but I wish he had been clearer last year and said then that he would not commit to public financing unless 527s were better restrained.

                  the remainder of your comment shows a startling disdain for thoughtful analysis, in favor of attempts at snark and bullying.  you would improve this site -- and your standing -- by mastering the former before attempting the latter!

                  •  I find your commentary astounding. (0+ / 0-)

                    Rather than point out the obvious disingenous nature of McCain's "offer", you pretend that it is a firm offer made, and Obama already accepted.

                    I wonder who, exactly, is supposed to be bullied by your placing McCain on a pedestal at Obama's expense.

                    So will we be seeing your support in the fall, or not?

                    If she's so hardworking and wonky, why didn't she read the NIE before voting for the war?

                    by Inland on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 07:01:26 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  clearly McCain was playing games, trying to get (0+ / 0-)

                Obama to commit in case McCain is forced to opt in.  He won't opt in for the general if he can get away it.  

                I'm sure McCain appreciates your support.

                NetrootNews coming soon!

                by ksh01 on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 05:25:16 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  geez (0+ / 0-)

                  apparently an allegiance to so-called "facts" is now the mark of a McCain supporter.  I expected better from you, ksh01, but I must have had you confused with another user as well!

                  personally, given his pitiful fundraising compared to Obama's, I expect McCain is sincere and would love the chance to tie Obama's hands.  which, as I've said repeatedly here, Obama should not give him.

                  but there's no need to cover up the record -- or accuse each other of backstabbing! -- to take Obama's side on this matter

                  •  good on you, getting personal (0+ / 0-)

                    read up on what's going on with McCain.  Start with TPM and branch out.  If you think he really would consider opting in for the general, after that, I'd be surprised.  Then continue to confuse me with someone else you'd be disappointed with until you can get that straightened out as well.

                    NetrootNews coming soon!

                    by ksh01 on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 05:44:02 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I always enjoy (0+ / 0-)

                      when folks try to support their (unsupportable) argument by referencing sites that don't back up what they're saying, and conveniently forgetting to provide links to exactly where their fabricated evidence is coming from!

                      TPM has done a great job of covering McCain's attempts to get out of public financing for the primary, which may be the source of your confusion.  For example,

                      First, McCain opted in to the public finance system for the primaries last year. It meant that his struggling campaign would get $5.8 million in public matching funds in March. Now that he's effectively the Republican nominee, he wants out, because the system entails a spending limit of $54 million through the end of August. He's almost spent that much already, according to the Post.

                      McCain would love to force Obama to commit to public financing in the general, because Obama will out-fundraise him but McCain can bring in more 527s -- by forcing a public financing agreement, Obama's hands would be tied while McCain still benefits from 527 money.

                      your arguments would be improved by sticking to evidence, rather than personal attacks on one's party loyalty, and by providing links for the evidence you do cite.

      •  You forgot to Xerox the end: (0+ / 0-)

        will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election."

        Of course, McCain won't commit to publically financed campaigns, and has formally requested the FEC to withdraw from public financing.

        If she's so hardworking and wonky, why didn't she read the NIE before voting for the war?

        by Inland on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 04:22:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  you forgot to read (0+ / 0-)

          it's in there.

          and, as I noted upthread, McCain claims he will accept a public financing truce if the Dem nominee does.  

          next.

          •  So the claim Obama has gone back on something (0+ / 0-)

            is false.  McCain hasn't accepted public financing.  He's promised to, but has requested the FEC to withdraw it.

            So you would have Obama accept public financing on the hope that McCain isn't able to withdraw it?

            Well, I guess Obama doesn't agree with your strategy and will only work toward an agreement with McCain.  

            Can we count on your support regardless?

            If she's so hardworking and wonky, why didn't she read the NIE before voting for the war?

            by Inland on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 04:46:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  obama now says he will not accept public money (0+ / 0-)

              (nor, in my opinion, should he)

              I'm not sure where you're going here.  it seems like you're not quite up on the facts, and are just looking to fight with folks you suspect of Obama apostasy

              •  No, Obama says that he's still open (0+ / 0-)

                if he's the nominee.  Which is the same position he took before.

                And better than any other candidate.

                I'm not sure why you are looking for an Obama inconsistency, when there is none, nor why you're tryuing to smack down Obama when he's the best on financing, period.

                If she's so hardworking and wonky, why didn't she read the NIE before voting for the war?

                by Inland on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 07:03:07 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  You're confusing the primary with the general. (0+ / 0-)

              The McCain shenanigans are about accepting public money for the primaries.

              He says he still wants to do it for the general.

              Getting more general about this, I will admit that I'd be being disingenuous if I said that Obama didn't seem to be backing away from an earlier commitment to try to seek public funds in the election.

              That being said, it's ridiculous to argue that he needs to just agree, unilaterally, to accept public funding right now.  That's absurd.  He's absolutely right to say that, when he is the nominee, his and McCain's people should meet to try and work out a deal.  This would be true whether or not he was trying to back out.

              Beyond that, spreading ridiculous memes about how Obama is "all promises" and so forth, and how this shows he won't keep his word, etc. etc., is silly, and playing into the Republicans' game, and, so far as I can tell, doesn't even help Clinton in any way that I can see.  It only helps McCain.

  •  It's like the flying monkeys are (9+ / 0-)

    coming out of the trees right now.

    Sheesh!

    "The Revolution Won't Be Microwaved."

    by Glinda on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:05:01 PM PST

  •  McCain was gaming the system (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MarkC, Tonedevil

    from the beginning.  No candidate this cycle is going to willingly tie one arm behind his back.

    Patronize Obama (and his supporters) all you want.  He will be the next president of the United States.

    www.bushwatch.net - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

    by chuckvw on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:07:42 PM PST

    •  he was suckered? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linnen, PamelaD

      look, i don't care if he's deceptive to get elected if he gets elected, we need a dem.  But these are roroke mistakes and there is much to do starting now.  She's got a government-in-waiting ready to step in. When will he do the same or signal he'll do it fast?  

      •  Yes, the stale, old Clinton Administration (0+ / 0-)

        is primed to move back into the White House.  Unfortunately for them, they've run a half-assed campaign and it ain't gonna happen.

        Talk about rookie mistakes...

        www.bushwatch.net - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

        by chuckvw on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:57:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  So Who Are You Going to Vote For? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ILDem, Tonedevil, don mikulecky

    McCain or Nader?

    "Some may say words are change. But you and I know words are cheap."
    -- Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2008

    by GW Chimpzilla on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:14:23 PM PST

    •  not everyone's a separatist (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linnen

      some people (amazingly) think that by pushing on candidates -- during the primaries, which is the only time they are likely to court the Democratic faithful -- we can promote a progressive policy agenda from within the party.  

      The time to do that with Obama, is now.

    •  tht's the obama voter outreach mantra. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PamelaD

      i've been noticing it a lot in the past two weeks. some  obama supporters are saying that anyone who's not firmly in the obama camp, as of now, is a no-good, lousy mccain supporter.

      they're basically issuing an ultimatum  to the 55% of the democratic party who don't support obama. the threat is that they'll be rejected and expelled from the party, because obama now IS the democratic party- there is no longer any room in the party for people who don't believe he's The One™.

      Hillary 2008 - Flying Monkey Squadron 283

      by campskunk on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 05:35:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice job of researching, but I am not impressed. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    carolinadreamer, Tonedevil

    With what is at stake in this election, are you suggesting that there is a better choice than Obama?  I can't imagine who that might be.

    An idea is not responsible for who is carrying it. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:14:37 PM PST

  •  Oh my God, you're going to parse the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pletzs, chuckvw, Tonedevil

    public financing bit with John freakin' McCain?  You're going to join in with John McCain on criticism of our presumptive Democratic nominee?!?

    But I do like that you've accepted the premise that Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee.  Maybe by accepting that you could, you know, stop agreeing with the Republican nominee?

    I don't know, just a thought.

    Civic spirit drowns in a hurricane of mere survivalism - McKenzie Wark

    by cfaller96 on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:16:18 PM PST

  •  well, you've certainly convinced me! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil

    i'm voting for McCain! he's one stand-up guy after all!

    er...maybe not.

    sheesh. i'm dizzy trying to find the "here" here, or maybe there isn't any?

    btw, hadn't seen that waitress story, but it sounds like she took their evil butts to the cleaners in court--good for her!

    éí 'aaníígÓÓ 'áhoot'é

    by Librarian on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:16:56 PM PST

  •  Is this the quote you're talking about? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil

    And, hasn't McCain opted out?  Seems moot, right?

    I have been a long-time advocate for public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. I introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and am the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) bill to reform the presidential public financing system. 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.

    NetrootNews coming soon!

    by ksh01 on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:26:24 PM PST

    •  McCain opted out for the PRIMARY election... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      catfish, farleftcoast

      ... not the general (where mutual public financing would be to his benefit).

      As others point out, there are FEC issues with this move and McCain's campaign loan ... but this does not impact the general election campaign, and in no way would it release Obama from his pledge.

      •  No, he hasn't opted out. The FEC has to *let* (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ksh01

        him opt out, and without a quorum they can't do a bloody thing about McCain's utter hypocrisy on all this.  I'm surprised you're giving McCain a pass on this.

        And shouldn't it tell you something that you're sitting around waxing poetic about the Republican nominee, at the expense of the Dem?  I had always vowed to vote for Hillary if she won the nomination, even though I didn't supporter her- but I was NEVER planning on writing critical diaries of her in support of Johnny 100 years.  Never.

        Obviously, you operate according to a different standard, RonK.  You stay classy, Hillary supporters.

        Civic spirit drowns in a hurricane of mere survivalism - McKenzie Wark

        by cfaller96 on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:59:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  He didn't make a pledge (0+ / 0-)

        I know, I know, you're just ignoring the above paragraph in order to write a hit piece, but give it a read.....there's no pledge.

        Second, McCain may be stuck in primary financing because the FEC lacks a quorum. Don't you think the assumption is he'll opt out for the general?

        Third, say Hillary doesn't pull a math miracle and loses, do you really want Obama to opt in and lose?

        Nice.

        NetrootNews coming soon!

        by ksh01 on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 04:01:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  McCain wants to opt out, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linnen, ksh01

      but, thanks to his chicanery floating a loan with public funding as collateral, he may not be allowed to opt out.  The deal was off the day he signed the loan papers.

      This is just sour grapes.

      www.bushwatch.net - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

      by chuckvw on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:48:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Facts. Pesky facts. (5+ / 0-)

    Important questions that will be promptly ignored and/or maligned and/or met with self-righteous blather blaming Hillary and/or Bill Clinton for everything.

    The ...Bushies... don't make policies to deal with problems. ...It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do. Krugman

    by mikepridmore on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:31:52 PM PST

    •  What Is (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ILDem, carolinadreamer, chuckvw

      so important about Obama's stance on public financing in the Spring of 2007?  Is it really self-righteous blather when Kossacks point out that the Clinton campaign has for two months been demeaning Democratic voters in states that went for Obama?  Or that Clinton has indeed spoken out in favor of NAFTA, notwithstanding her own self-righteous denials?  

      Just so we're clear: Is all criticism of the Clintons self-righteous blather?  Please let us know.

  •  Thanks for the diary (5+ / 0-)

    I still crack up at how sensitive and mean BO supporters can be. One minute they are so, "be nice" and the next so hostile.

    Go Hillary. Those last minute victories, those final marches down the field are  the most thrilling and make for the best games -- even if it freaks the patriot fans out.

  •  She's inevitable (0+ / 0-)

    Deal with it, peasants!

    Ah, they were simpler times...

    www.bushwatch.net - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

    by chuckvw on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:50:39 PM PST

  •  What I don't get is if the Dem nominee (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wit Whither Wilt

    has a huge edge in fundraising in this election (as it appears Obama does compared to McCain), why would a fellow Democrat be pushing Obama on this issue?  I understand the discomfort, but why not be quietly discomforted by this?  And why now, before the general election has begun?

    Oh, I know why, because as a Clinton supporter, the house must be torn down if the house will not be ruled by Clinton.  If Clinton isn't going to be the nominee, then the next best thing would be for the Dem nominee to lose to the Republican so these people can all whine about how we picked the "wrong" candidate.

    Now I get it.  With friends like these...

    Civic spirit drowns in a hurricane of mere survivalism - McKenzie Wark

    by cfaller96 on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:55:36 PM PST

  •  Bill C to medical marijuana patient Jacki Rickert (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ILDem, highacidity

    Osseo, Wisconsin, August 1992
    "When I'm President, you'll get your medicine."

    Time to change my sig.

    by ben masel on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 03:59:31 PM PST

  •  Is HRC for public financing? Nope. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ILDem

    Once again, the CONCERN that Obama might, just might, just maybe, just possibly, be as bad as HRC is raised by HRC fans.

    Wonder why that line of campaigning isn't winning her more support.  "Your candidate might be as bad as mine" seems like it SHOULD be a winner, along with sarcasm and attacking Obama's supporters.

    If she's so hardworking and wonky, why didn't she read the NIE before voting for the war?

    by Inland on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 04:25:42 PM PST

  •  Hey, RonkSeattle ! (0+ / 0-)

    Go lick your wounds in private.
    And take that war-voting, centrist, schizophrenic candidate you support with you.
    She's going down and she richly deserves it.
    Deal with it!

  •  We know (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linnen, PamelaD

    what so many people obviously don't know right now:  Obama will say anything to anyone to get elected.  Let's see what happens if and when he gets into the White House.

    Clinton/Obama 08 The Team to Beat!

    by Izarradar on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 04:46:40 PM PST

  •  When this line of attack comes from McCain, (0+ / 0-)

    who better as a running mate than Feingold?

    Thet team beats Mvccain without a direct money advantage, freeing up the D fundraising advantage for House and State legislative races.

    Time to change my sig.

    by ben masel on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 05:05:56 PM PST

  •  Prejudice runs high in this election (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PamelaD

    People ignore the proof of records and go with the feeling.  There is no perfect candidate.  Pick the candidate that will do as promised.

    She is a bitch, media doesn't likes her, she must be bad for the president.
    He talks nicely, he always looks cool, he must be good for the president.

    Ignore that she was the only one that help the firefighter after 9/11.
    Ignore that her healthcare plan will force the insurance industry to cover things they never want to cover.
    Ignore that she did a lot to help the children and disability fund.
    Ignore many other concrete results that she did to improve people life.
    She's a bitch, she can't be nice.

    Ignore that he water down the bill to favor a nuclear company,
    Ignore that he made a lot of attacked based on incorrect information,
    Ignore that he said "a women's right to choose is a decision that's
    best left to a woman, her doctor, her family and her clergy."
    Ignore that his healthcare plan is not universal as he claims it to be.

    But he's a nice man, he won't lie.  He will bring the change he promise us.
    I'll go with the bitch who will fight for what is right for me.

    She's a diamond, strong, bright, and precious.

    by JoeySky18 on Sun Feb 24, 2008 at 05:28:36 PM PST

  •  Nice diary, I learned quite a bit that I (0+ / 0-)

    hadn't heard of before, and that's why I joined DKs in the first place. Rec'ed but still can't tip, thanks, Kos.

  •  A comment about the comments (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linnen, PamelaD

    I was an Edwards supporter, and I am not thrilled with either Barack Obama nor with Hillary Clinton, but I have to say that an awful lot of the comments by Obama supporters are just snarky and rude.  The lack of civil discourse and civility from this bunch certainly does nothing to make me feel better about their candidate.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site