Every campaign has moments when candidates substitute political preening for substance. Such an episode is unfolding now in the Democratic field, and it involves that perennial piñata, the Washington lobbyist.President Bush's signature and pushed -- again to the dismay of some colleagues -- to include a provision requiring lawmakers to report the names of their lobbyist-bundlers.Much to the displeasure of his colleagues, Obama promoted an outside commission to handle Senate ethics complaints. He co-authored the lobbying reform bill awaiting
He has co-sponsored bills to overhaul the presidential public financing system and public financing of Senate campaigns. It's nice to hear Clinton talk about how "we've got to move toward public financing" -- Edwards backs it, too -- but I don't see her name on those measures.
Obama readily agreed to identify his bundlers. Unlike Clinton and Edwards, he has released his income tax returns. Perhaps most important, Obama has pledged to take public financing for the general election if he is the Democratic nominee and his Republican opponent will do the same.
Any Democratic candidate wanting to "get the money out of American politics" (Clinton) or demonstrate that "the Democratic Party is the party of the people" (Edwards) ought to leap at this chance. The candidates' silence on Obama's public financing proposal -- they'll "consider" it -- has been more telling than anything they have actually said.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
"Democrats' Purity Primary"
WaPo (Ruth Marcus):