But You Promised!

Today's D&C editorial takes Eric Massa to task for changing his position on accepting corporate financing.

I've already said my piece on Massa's decision, so I want to focus on this part of the editorial:

How quickly they forget. President Obama succeeded largely on the backs of voters who made small donations. But it must not be excused that he, too, reneged on his promise to embrace public financing once his campaign war chest started to swell.

There are (at least) two kinds of stupid in this statement.

First, the whole point of changing the campaign financing system is to limit the influence of individual donors. Obama's network of small donors does just that. Obama didn't just ditch public financing, he found a better way to finance his campaign. It will be the model for every future Presidential campaign, and our politics will be better for it.

Second, if we're going to have better politicians, we need to judge them on results, not just promises. Is there any other human pursuit where we expect the participants to do exactly what they said they'd do months ago, regardless of current circumstances? Being upset that Obama used small-donor financing is like complaining that the coach whose team won the Super Bowl didn't play the same quarterback that he said he'd use at the start of the season.


The claim not to take money from corporate interests always seemed short sighted to me. What I think he should have done was left himself the option of taking corporate money, but only from companies with significant presence in the 29th, e.g. Corning, GM (he borrowed their cars!), Sikorsky, etc. No money from companies with out a presence in the district - sugar cane growers, coal miners, etc.

Agreed. Massa's always getting himself in trouble with categorical statements that he has to walk back later.

As long as he bunks in his office and speaks out against gangsta rap, he'll be just fine.

Concerning the financing, I think the problem is that the politician should state their ideas and stick with them, and if an organization or person wants to support them by providing funds that would be fine. The problem is that the politicians are adopting their ideas based on who will support them, so the ones with the most money win. They then in turn receive that money back through legislation decisions the politicians makes.

Obamas financing model will definitely not be the model for every future presidential campaign. It was a one time novelty deal because people like to be part of history.

I think we need to judge on results AND promises.
"A Man's Word Is His Honor"
"Integrity – The true measure of a man is in the word he keeps"
If someone states that they are not taking funds from special interest, they are stating that because they know there are people who want to hear that and will vote for them in part based on that statement. To turn around and break that promise says one of two things. Either the person was straight up lying and his honor and integrity are shot. Or two, he is naive abotu the political process and the funds needed to run a campaign. In either case, he shouldn't be in office because he is either not a man of his words, or schtupid.

I also think the sports analogy used doesn't provide a very good respresentative analogy. I think it is more like the coaches getting together at the beginning of the game and deciding that due to the muddy weather conditions "all players will use 1" spikes on their shoes so that it is fair", then once the game starts, the one coach has his players change to 2" spikes because they want an advantage. Its a RULE change after the RULES have been set. Even if informally (see "A mans word").

If you can't keep a promise, then don't say it!