Late last night (actually, literally in the dead of the night) President Obama’s campaign team held a call with the President’s National Finance Committee to let them know the President was reversing his position on Super PACs, something he said was “a threat to our democracy” just two years ago.
Forget the fact that the President ordered his campaign manager to encourage his donors to support an organization that neither he nor his campaign can coordinate with. Put aside the fact that he will send Cabinet Secretaries and other Administration officials to this organization’s fundraising events. Try to get past the fact that earlier THAT DAY he was on the Today Show demonizing Super PACs to Matt Lauer. Whatever. If he’s going to flip flop he might as well go all in.
No one blames the President for competing with the same tools as his opposition, but the about face after his holier-than-thou finger-waving on this issue is striking. It also smacks of desperation and underscores two vulnerabilities in his reelection.
First, it shows that the level of support he had four years ago is no longer there. Obama supporters had been pounding their chests about a billion dollar warchest. With that prediction no longer realistic, he has to play with those evil Republicans in the dirty gutters of unlimited contributions.
Second, and more importantly, it is another example of a promise he couldn’t keep. He promised to do things differently–as an “outsider” he wouldn’t play the typical Beltway games. Hope and Change indeed.
This was the right move for the President. You can’t give the opposition a leg up. But it also reminds voters that he’s a politician who will do anything to win, just like the rest of them.