Barack Obama: taking money from 1 percenters compromised my politics

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tl;dr version

Sen. Barack Obama’s decision to opt out of the public financing system
marked a milestone in modern presidential politics: the first time a
major nominee has declined public financing since the system was created
after Watergate.

McCain’s campaign said he would commit to public financing. “Should John
McCain win the Republican nomination, we will agree to accept public
financing in the general election, if the Democratic nominee agrees to
do the same,” Terry Nelson, McCain’s campaign manager, told the
New York Times.

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Funnily enough, on Hillary Clinton’s own website:

“We have to end the flood of secret, unaccountable money that is distorting our elections, corrupting our political system, and drowning out the voices of too many everyday Americans. Our democracy should be about expanding the franchise, not charging an entrance fee.”

Hillary, September 8, 2015


But until then…


‘Should’ is a tricksy word.


…vote for Bernie Sanders?


Well that’s what I did, or caucused or whatever you call it. I am crossing my fingers that I will get to do the same in the general election as well.


This isn’t even really in serious question - taking money from private groups influences your politics. To say otherwise is like denying climate change. That she’s trying to pretend otherwise is evidence of her already being critically influenced. That influence is why Dodd-Frank wasn’t better. Why we still have problems with the investor class.

That her website seems to disagree with her on this is evidence of some cognitive dissonance that hasn’t quite struck home yet, and part of her overall credibility problem. It’s also evidence that she’s had to at least try and respond to Sanders’s message, which is him doing his job as far as I’m concerned. Bernie’s campaign should hold her feet to the fire, here, as much as they are able: which is it? Do we need to get the corrupting effects of money out of politics, and so you shouldn’t be taking this Super PAC money, or do you think that money HAS no corrupting effects in politics and are thus quite simply dangerously wrong on the facts? Because it can’t be both, and she’s trying to say it is one thing or the other depending, I guess, upon how desperately she needs the money? It’s clear where Sanders stands on this.

One of Hillary’s YUUUGE flaws is her credibility, her trustworthiness, the tendency for her mouth to flap out whatever her audience wants to hear. That lack of authenticity marks her as a political operative first and foremost. The decision of the states left to vote in the Democratic primary is: is that the candidate we want to send to face Trump?


The problems of ordinary people, the voices of the Rust Belt town or the dwindling heartland, become a distant echo rather than a palpable reality, abstractions to be managed rather than battles to be fought.

Obama’s basic personality doesn’t seem like that of a “fighter” in the first place. He seems instead laid back, and more interested in compromise and getting along, than in fighting.

His comment about how ordinary people’s problems become “abstractions” reminds me of his description to Mark Maron of what it’s like to be president (after agreeing, for shit’s sake, to Maron’s description of the job as being like “middle management”). Obama said it’s like being at the helm of a ship; you can only steer it so much in the short time that you’re the helm. Some “fighter.”

Hillary seems like more of a fighter, but not for the ordinary people Obama says he regrets having so little contact with. She’s fighting for the presidency, and she seems to be doing it for herself. For power, and even more money.

Sanders, well, he’s different, right? He’s a fighter, and he’s not in it for personal gain. He cares about us, and it’s much harder to imagine him losing that concern, and his connnections with us, while working as president. As for being compromised by taking big money, he’s already shown that he’s centrally, directly against that – that rejection is most of what he’s all about.


money from 1‰ compromised my politics

Yeah, it’ll do that

  • a feature, not a bug.
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I think though there is maybe some room to distinguish between the perception-distorting effect of hanging out with the privileged instead of with the needy and actual quid-pro-quo corruption.

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Were you even conscious in 2008?

Obama was raising vast sums of money in (on average) small donations from, eventually, more than 2 million people - at least 10-fold more than he could spend if he used the Public Financing option. Meanwhile, McCain had the advantage in mega-rich donors, the type who could spend independently through their own PACs (as had helped kill Kerry in 2004) or could launder their money through (maximum permissible) $35,000 (iirc) donations to the RNC. Sure, Obama didn’t cripple himself by going the public financing route. That’s because he wanted to get elected, and it’s not a sign of corruption.


While those might be two distinct scenarios, they’re not mutually exclusive and accepting money is likely to influence even if there is no verbally confirmed expectation of quid pro quo, especially if you want a second term.

Money in politics is corruption per se.


Kind of an academic distinction. The result is the same: wealthy donors get their agendas addressed, at the expense of those who are not wealthy donors.


On this particular topic, Clinton richly deserves a little satire & sarcasm.

[post amended for the sensitive]


I don’t want to be that guy, but I’m not a fan of the ‘wicked witch’ stuff.


It’s sarcasm, Sir or Madam…

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I’ll be that guy. :slight_smile: I get it, but I definitely prefer the Hillary = Han Solo (or even Hillary = Lando) comparison - the heart’s in the right place, but they’re involved with shady characters and aren’t exactly entirely trustworthy. They might feel like they have to be involved with these shady characters. It’s up to the ragtag group of rebels (with Bernie as maybe the Obi-Wan) to show them that there’s another way, that there’s…a new hope.


I definitely prefer the Hillary = Han Solo (or even Hillary = Lando) comparison

Even Hillary-as-Greedo would be profoundly unflattering (and, unlike your examples, unmixedly so) but wouldn’t tie into a huge morass of ugly gender stereotyping like the Wicked Witch meme does.