Obama’s Big 527 Mistake

Barack Obama is criticizing Edward’s connection with a 527 group that plans to run an ad in his favor (ABC Political Radar, via The Huffington Post).  That in itself is a pretty normal move to make during a campaign season.  The problem is in Obama’s own attitude towards 527 groups:

Obama would not definitively answer if he would accept 527s in the general election, but said during the primary season he would tell them to stop.

So magically, 527’s would be ok in the general?

“What I hope to do is to get Republicans to come up with some sort of agreement in terms of how we are going to operate,” Obama said, “You know, I’m not going to endanger the Democratic party’s ability to win races by letting the other side outspend us by two or three million dollars.”

Ah, now we come down to it.  In the primaries its all about staying away from those nasty 527 groups.  But once the general hits, we’ve gotta stay competitive against the Republicans, and out go the ethics:  win at all costs!  Moves like this edge Obama ever closer to Hillary in the public eye.

Either 527 groups are acceptable, or they are not.  If they are not, then he is keeping an option open he never intends to use, when closing that door would have an immediate and lasting political benefit.  If they are acceptable, then he is offering the Republicans a cheap shot come the general and making himself look foolish during the primaries.

In fairness to Barack, he’s probably trying to setup public pressure on the Republicans in a novel way.  If framed as a mutual decision on 527’s, then the prohibition against using such groups would hold greater weight in the public’s eye.  However his attack on Edwards comes across as the most oddly unprincipled sort of “Do as I say, not as I do” politics.  He seems to be all about keeping his options open, even when he himself finds those options improper.


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