Why would anyone, knowing the stakes, seek unilateral disarmament this election cycle?
Asked about public financing, he tells reporters in Milwaukee, "If I am the nominee, then I will make sure our people talk to John McCain’s people to make sure we abide by the same rules."
The answer should've been "No".
Look, no one gives a shit if Obama takes public financing or not. The Edwards campaign thought they'd get brownie points for opting in during the primary, and other than me criticizing them for it, they heard crickets. And that was among Democrats, who supposedly care about this sort of thing.
This is such a process story with zero relevance to the public that there's no benefit to be gained by taking public financing -- unless you can't raise it as fast as your opponent. Then you do whatever you can to try and goad your opponent to join you by opting in.
John McCain is accusing Barack Obama of backing away from a promise to participate in a public financing program that would force him to turn off his free-flowing spigot of campaign cash, foreshadowing a likely flash point if the two are pitted in a general election battle for the presidency.
McCain can't hope to raise anywhere near what Obama raises online every time he yawns. So why give McCain the option of financial parity?
Obama should say right now that he's decided to opt out. He's empowered hundreds of thousands to become financially vested in his campaign, and it would be undemocratic to deny them that option. Big money in politics is a problem when corporate interests fund a candidate. In this case, it's regular people.
Let McCain squawk. If Obama gets out and McCain follows that lead and also opts out, then it's a moot point. If Obama gets out and McCain doesn't, and then tries to make an issue out of it, who cares? No one will know what the heck he is talking about while hard core Republicans will be reminded every time how much they hate McCain for his position on campaign finance reform.
This is the biggest non-issue of a campaign. It's best for Obama to make that decision now and move on to more important things.