John McCain spent much of Thursday trying his best to convince voters that Barack Obama’s reneging on campaign finance reform is a breach of trust. The AP is annoyed with Obama and the networks are blasting him. Russ Feingold, good government types and Hillary Clinton provide fodder for McCain’s claim that Obama’s word can’t be trusted. The Wall Street Journal dryly noted: “The move, never attempted in three decades of public financing for presidential candidates, puts the Illinois senator in the position of being a self-styled reformer, pledged to diminish the influence of money in politics, who now plans to wage the most expensive campaign in history.”
Well, the media swarm was frankly the harshest treatment Obama has yet received. Had Obama not declared every other politician to be worthy of scorn, I’d say this issue wouldn’t matter. Had he not made himself into the messiah of New Politics no one would care much. But having held himself up to some mythical standard (as his opponent has been known to do, as well) he is now reaping what he has sown–the disappointment that comes with failing to live up to unrealistic expectations.Is it game-changing? Certainly not in and of itself. But there is a deception factor building on this, NAFTA, Kyl-Lieberman, Jerusalem, and perhaps even Iraq. He is no longer the candidate who ran against Hillary, when he ran into the arms of the idealists and the Left. Now on numerous policy items there are changes, big changes in a very short period of time. It is jarring, at least for those who chose to believe in the Old Agent of Change, when he now turns on a dime.
Liberal apologists won’t care or will justify the latest Obama reversal (as needful “pragmatism“) as they have all the others, but they aren’t in “play” anyway in the general election. If independent voters really do care about “authenticity,” his New Politics may become less credible, indeed the subject of ridicule. If that is the case, he’ll be back to running as a run-of-the-mill liberal pol, or worse–a weak imitation of the Clintons’ craven political maneuvering.