Barack Obama has deeply disappointed me by deciding to forgo engagement in the public financing system. Not only does this go back (or "flip flop") on a pledge he made last year, but it also cedes the issue and the political and moral high ground to John McCain.
The most resonant criticism of Hillary Clinton that many Obama supporters and other Clinton critics brought to bear during the primary was the fact that it seemed like she'd do anything to win. That attitude that the means justify the ends is exactly what turns so many people off from politics.
So, to argue that forgoing public financing gives him a better shot to win because of his superior fundraising abilities is - for me - to miss the point entirely. It's not about winning at all costs -- it's about changing the system.
Obama is right that the campaign finance system needs deep change. But he is deeply misleading to characterize his decision to depend entirely on private money as a "declaration of independence" from a broken system. I do applaud his continued refusal to take money from PACs and lobbyists but the fact remains that he is hauling in more $2,300 checks than anyone. The fact that he also is getting hundreds of thousands of $25 and $50 checks doesn't mean that private money should stay in politics.
Hopefully this is not a first step in the morphing of Obama into just another Democratic presidential candidate. We shall see.