Barack Obama’s recent comments that his campaign has created a "parallel public financing system" by tapping into small donors via the internet has produced mixed reactions from supporters of the taxpayer-funded system.
"It certainly is a clear sign that the explosion of small donors will require us to take a fresh look at the structures of campaign finance law," wrote Huffington Post’s Laura MacCleery.
The "fresh look" described by MacCleery and others, appears to focus on "enhancing" the donations of small donors by either, "coupling a substantial grant of public funds with the opportunity to raise contributions of $100 per person" (interpreted, this appears to mean $100 contribution limits with a taxpayer grant as a sweetener), or directly subsidizing small contributions with taxpayer dollars.
We will save a discussion of the merits of subsidizing small donors for another day, but one should not miss an inference in Obama’s comments that make the case against any system modeled after the presidential general election system – or programs in states like Arizona and Maine.
Obama said: "We have created a parallel public financing system where the American people decide if they want to support a campaign they can get on the Internet and finance it."
Now, shouldn’t the natural inverse be that if the American people decide they DO NOT want to support a campaign they should not be forced to do so?
Systems like those in Arizona and Maine, and the presidential public-financing system, give the people no choice.