Thursday, November 27, 2008
Riffing off of Rick Garnett's post questioning Doug Kmiec's editorial praising Senator Kennedy for supposedly building up the "culture of life" by sponsoring legislation providing for public financing of presidential campaigns, by Professor Kmiec's measure then, President-elect Barack Obama has undermined the "culture of life" by dealing a death blow to public financing of presidential campaigns.
Senator Obama had promised in writing and unequivocally to accept public financing for the fall campaign if he were the nominee, presumably to, as Professor Kmiec writes, "curb the corrupting influence of money in politics." Instead, Obama broke his promise, continued aggressive fundraising (including repeated trips to Hollywood to hobnob with the wealthy glitterati) to election day (and beyond), and introduced a massive flood of money (and a corresponding excess of television political advertising) into a presidential campaign, the likes of which we had not seen since the heyday of Richard Nixon.
After this year's experience, no future candidate for President will ever again accept public financing. If a significant part of Senator Kennedy's legacy is indeed public financing of presidential campaigns, it is perhaps ironic that the candidate to whom he gave an early endorsement became the candidate who by his actions destroyed that public financing and ensured that every future presidential campaign will be focused on raising and spending more and more money every four years.