Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ethics and Hypocrisy

Obama volunteers offend Muslims in a hypocritical PR move to block them from appearing on camera at a rally.

The New York Times confirms that Michelle Obama made more than $300,000 a year in her job at a Chicago hospital. Buried on page 3:
"Mrs. Obama is on leave from her more-than-$300,000-a-year job."

... and Obama opts out of Public Financing in the general election saying the system, "as it exists today is broken," and that the other side would game it with money from outside organizations.

"...Obama's clear financial advantage over McCain is offset in part by the resources of the Republican National Committee, which has far more money in the bank than the Democratic National Committee. Both national parties can spend money on behalf of the presidential candidates.

Obama said McCain and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and political action committees.

'And we've already seen that he's not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations,' Obama said.

Obama campaign lawyer Robert Bauer said he had met with McCain lawyers to discuss terms for both campaigns operating in the public financing system, but he said they could not agree on how to limit spending by the campaigns and outside groups heading into the late summer party conventions."

To be fair, it looks like he said he would try to participate, but never actually committed, previously. From the same article:

"In response to a questionnaire in November from the Midwest Democracy Network, which is made up of nonpartisan government oversight groups, Obama said: "Senator John McCain 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."

On his website Obama says that he supports Campaign Finance Reform:

"Obama supports public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. Obama introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and is the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingold's (D-WI) tough bill to reform the presidential public financing system."

John McCain has sent mixed messages about Public Financing of Campaigns, and has used it when he needed it, and discarded it when he needed to raise more. So his support of it seems more pragmatic than principled at this point. Historically he has been a strong supporter, and co-authored the McCain-Feingold bill, the strongest national campaign finance reform legislation passed so far.

John McCain's website doesn't mention Campaign Finance Reform on it's Ethics Reform page. He focuses on limiting earmarks and special interest lobbying saying,

"John McCain would shine the disinfecting light of public scrutiny on those who abuse the public purse, use the power of the presidency to restore fiscal responsibility, and exercise the veto pen to enforce it."

That's pretty vague. The line item veto was declared unconstitutional at the federal level, so what he would do exactly is unclear. Is he really going to veto the budget bills?

His criticism of lobbyists seems to be fluid as well. When his campaign was broke he brought lobbyists on board to raise money, and then fired many of them when conflicts of interest started emerging. And of course there was the infamous New York Times cover story focusing on Vicki Iseman, a female lobbyist they claimed he had a "close bond" with.

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