As pretty much everyone knows by now, Barack Obama announced yesterday that he will forego public financing for the general election. What everyone may not know is that it was in response to a Midwest Democracy Network candidate questionnaire that Obama originally committed himself to participating in the public financing system.
Obama is right about one thing. The system is broken and badly needs fixing. But he knew that when he pledged to publicly finance his general election campaign. What he didn't know then was how wildly successful his campaign would be in raising money, especially in small amounts from well over a million Americans. That surely changed his calculation about public financing.
Still, he should have honored his commitment. Now that he's decided not to, he has a special obligation to make sure the broken system is fixed if he is elected president.