Sen. Obama should stick by his pledge to use public funding for the general election if Sen. McCain does the same on the Republican side. He is right, however, to proceed with caution. Sens. McCain and Clinton are criticizing Sen. Obama for what they see as switching positions. They should know better. They all saw what was done without any campaign money in 2004: swiftboating. Any agreement to limit spending must be given careful consideration. I am all for removing the poison that moneyed, special interests bring into campaigns. But any agreement must be done after carefully considering how to deal with 527 and 501(c) organizations. These organizations, like MoveOn.org (527 and 501(c)), Swiftboat Veterans for Truth (527), and AARP (501(c)), are not limited in any way, whether the candidates agree to accept public funding or not. Therefore, if one of these 527 organizations were to raise a lot of money and mount an effective attack against one of the candidates, that candidate would be limited in his or her ability to respond if they were to accept public funding.
I wrote all that and then came across Sen. Obama's piece in USA Today. Well said.