I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision this week in the Arizona campaign finance case (“Justices void Arizona campaign-finance law,” Politics, Tuesday). I believe the ruling is entirely consistent with the First Amendment. I have to wonder, however, if President Obama will be so bold as to chastise the justices on their decision in this case, as he did following the Citizens United decision.
For the following reasons, I don’t think Mr. Obama will confront the justices over the decision. First, in 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama was the first presidential candidate in decades to forgo public financing for the general election because he raised so much money from private donors. If federal law in 2008 had been similar to Arizona’s Clean Elections law, however, Sen. John McCain would have received an amount equivalent to Mr. Obama’s for the general election, courtesy of federal taxpayers, not private donors. It might not have changed the result, but it probably would have made for a closer election. As a McCain supporter, I would have been thrilled but it still would have been wrong.
Second, in 2012, Mr. Obama stands to raise another record amount. If he has the audacity to criticize the court over the decision, then he should have the same audacity to accept public financing for the general election. If he does not, then we know Mr. Obama does not really believe in level playing fields when it comes to campaign financing.
Of course, saying one thing and doing the opposite is a trademark of this president, so he might prove me wrong once again.