Can anyone remember a reform pledge Barack Obama hasn’t broken? First, he insisted that he would remain within the public-financing system, as late as February, then suddenly pronounced it “broken” when Obama didn’t want to stay within its spending limits. Next, his campaign went “negative” first against John McCain when he had pledged to eschew such advertising. Now Barack Obama and his team have begun raising millions of dollars in “soft money” from unions and PACs despite his sanctimonious depredation of such donations just two months ago:
Facing a large deficit in the Democratic National Convention budget, officials from Barack Obama’s campaign have begun personally soliciting labor unions and others for contributions of up to $1 million. In exchange, donors could get stadium skyboxes for Obama’s acceptance speech and other perks.
Obama has regularly criticized politicians seeking large donations outside the framework of campaign finance regulations — so-called soft money — while touting the virtues of relying on small donations.
But campaign officials last month reluctantly decided they had to take a hand in raising large donations from individuals, unions and corporations. Some of the donors get special bundles of perks, including use of the party suites at Denver’s Invesco Field, as well as special policy briefings by Obama advisors, choice hotel rooms and party invitations.
What caused the shift was evidence that the Denver Host Committee was having trouble raising the estimated $60 million in cash and in-kind contributions needed to fund the convention, which runs Aug. 24-29.
Oh, okay, I get it — principles are essential only when one doesn’t need cash. Otherwise, the principles go right out the door, along with promises, and especially the sanctimony. For a taste of that sanctimony, watch his announcement on June 5th of this year:
The Democratic National Committee will uphold the same standard: We will not take a dime from Washington lobbyists or special interest PACs. … They will not fund my party!
Unless we need the money.
Who did Obama call to “fund his party”?
- The SEIU, to get another $500,000
- AFSCME, which refused to donate more
- American Federation of Teachers
In addition, the Los Angeles Times reports that the move to Invesco Field may be more about hauling in soft money than creating great optics. Obama’s speech will allow the DNC to sell Invesco’s private boxes for a cool $1 million each, which they need to raise more money to cover the cost of the convention. The DNCC had already reserved the Pepsi Center’s luxury boxes for other purposes. Even with all of these new sell-out opportunities provided by Team Obama, the DNCC remains over $11 million short of their goals with nine days left.
The man who claims the reform mantle has not just repeatedly reneged on those promises, Obama has now commercialized his own acceptance speech to get money from the special interests and lobbyists against whom he inveighed in June. Barack Obama seems determined to redefine the term “hypocrite” in 2008.