So I am baffled, I am puzzled. Obama is currently debating whether or not to take public financing for the general. Of course, I think that it is still a bit too early to be having this debate (clearly the Obama camp wants to engage it, in order to create an air of inevitability). However, it's a debate worth having and I think the answer is pretty clear: public financing.
It's strange, out in the liberal blogosphere people seem to think that this is a pretty big mistake. For instance, Oliver Willis argues that we in the Democratic party finally have the advantage in fundraising and we should beat McCain in to the ground with it. Now, I agree that the McCain offer to mutually take public funding is probably a bit strategic, but the fact is that if campaign finance reform is at all an important issue this is the time we can cease on it.
Obama has made much of the fact that he is all about campaign reform, for him to refuse public funding here would look hypocritical. The fact is if he is our nominee all the good will he has towards him now (you know: Barack Obama is sunshine and rainbows and all that is good) will evaporate. The press loves loves loves Juan McCain, he's a doddering old man who once was tortured because he refused to betray America. Obama cannot be the better person in this election, and must do all he can to maintain his, "I'm not politics as usual" image.
Refusing to take the funding is similar to the kind of move the pro-immunity FISA democrats take. It's cowardly and craven and directed towards the end of getting elected at all costs. The problem is that when the GOP sticks to their principles they can still take advantage of these opportunities, but if we really want this to be a game changing election we need to stick to good, liberal principles. Remember, that in the long run the GOP had innate advantages amongst the corporate money set. Setting the trend of publically financed elections now is only to our long term advantage.
Finally, we are NOT going to lose this election. Either candidate will be able to beat McCain. All they need to do is hit him on economics and Iraq and this should be a landslide. Remember polling does not account for the absurd turnout advantage we've seen in these primaries. By all accounts this is a Democratic year, let's do this right for a change.