Over at the Atlantic, Riehan Salam has a post up about John McCain's fundraising that ties in with a conversation I had over lunch yesterday. Will Barack Obama abide by his pledge to take public financing as long as his Republican opponent did the same? Certainly, Obama and the Democrats will look hypocritical for reneging on this deal and will emerge as a McCain talking point. But would any sane candidate give up so huge an advantage in order to avoid a controversy that may well make voters' eyes glaze?
As Salam points out, McCain raised $15 million in March. Not bad, and only $5 million behind Hillary Clinton. Obama raised $40 million last month. He has 1.3 million donors. Many of them are small donors hard to portray as special interests. Obama doesn't take money from lobbyists. If George W. Bush had taken public financing in 2000 or 2004, it would have been unilateral disarmnament. That will be equally true for Obama. And while a lot of my friends find his approach to foreign policy too peacenik for their liking, I don't think this is an area where Obama favors disarming unilaterally.
* Yes, I know we're not really talking about soft money. The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act banned the parties' national committees from taking or spending such contributions. Thanks John McCain!
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