After blasting Super PACs as the source of everything evil in politics for the past two years, the Obama campaign has suddenly done an about face and openly started working with one. But, as Jim Messina stressed on the campaign blog last night, it’s not because Obama wants to. No, it’s because he needs to, in order to win the election. And as we all know, winning is more important anything, especially principles and personal integrity:
With so much at stake, we can’t allow for two sets of rules in this election whereby the Republican nominee is the beneficiary of unlimited spending and Democrats unilaterally disarm.
Therefore, the campaign has decided to do what we can, consistent with the law, to support Priorities USA in its effort to counter the weight of the GOP Super PAC. We will do so only in the knowledge and with the expectation that all of its donations will be fully disclosed as required by law to the Federal Election Commission.
This has been coming down the line for awhile, ever since two key Obama staffers left the White House and immediately formed Priorities USA, a pro-Obama Super PAC, last April. But it makes sense that the Obama campaign would wait until the start of the general election before announcing its support for the group. Why make such a controversial announcement any earlier than you have to?
As for the backlash against the decision, it’ll probably come mainly from the left, because it’s hard for conservatives to really criticize Obama for this move. In fact, conservatives should applaud him for seeing the light. It’s nice that he’s finally come around to embracing Super PACs, even if his reasons for doing so are based less on a principled defense of First Amendment rights and more on a craven thirst for maintaining power. Way to go.
That said, it will be interesting to see how this is received on the left. After the Democrats spent years rallying their base against Citizens United, the idea that Super PACs equal evil is mentally ingrained with progressives. In fact, it was one of the biggest issues at Occupy Wall Street. Will the progressive movement turn against Obama for working with Priorities USA? Or will it be enough for them that he says he still opposes Super PACs in theory?