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Obama declines public money while asking the public for money. Good for him!

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Message George Ripley
Obama will leave $80 million in the public treasury!

As regards Obama's signal call for the public (see below) to support his campaign directly rather than let the 527 groups, or the party machinery of the GOP go wild in their campaign season spin:

Capitalism asks people to buy into the system. OK, then let's do away with government as the source and middleman of public financing (it is our taxes they spend), but sustain its' duties as election monitor. Let's buy into our own elections. Donating as individuals under equitable rules, we, the people, become public financing. Capitalists would respect that. Money cannot buy the intelligence of the common man....but it can pay for the spread of common sense through public educational outreach campaigns,....but only if the people at large are willing to contribute to the educational outreach success (the whole idea behind PBS.)

Let individuals voluntarily contribute reasonably equitable amounts to specific campaigns, controling the ability of one partisan campaign or another to escalate the irrational "volume" of their campaign debate. Only real persons should be allowed to contribute personal funds to real candidates, ideally to the exclusion of party machines. Let the FEC continue to monitor and establish limits for, campaign financing, by donor and amount, so it can be easily seen what interested parties are spending how much. In this manner we can learn to analyze and separate that which is in the general welfare and of the common wealth, from control by special interests who have become greedy and should no longer be recognized as representing the will of the people. We need high quality well communicated campaigns, and we need candidates elected on merit rather than hype and spin.

Obama is discouraging 527 groups from clouding political debate with clever spin campaigns. I think 527's should have a place in the campaign season but they should not be able to lie or otherwise join the debate in a disruptive, manipulative manner. In the future the FEC should have the role of assuring that 527 messaging is of honest content and of rightful intent. If the current manner of "news" reporting continues in the media mainstream, there will already be plenty of disruption and distraction from the important issues. 527 organizations will always have a place among swing voter campaigns.

Please bear in mind that by not accepting money from the current system of public financing, Obama is saying he will leave the $80 million in the public treasury! That money can be well used to assist in the overall strengthing of our other weakened elections systems. We can use it to build a new and practical Help America Vote Act. We can use it to fund educational programs about instant runoff voting, the popular vote, ballot access, ballot initiatives, and even making voter Tuesday a national holiday.

I believe Obama's call to support him directly in affordable sums, pits the will of the majority against the special interests and manipulative power of the already rich. It represents the participation of people in their own governance. It legitimizes "people power". I believe it will serve those politics which broaden the "middle" class, and, in so doing, broaden the opportunities of the least fortunate.

I believe Obama is teaching us a "new kind of politics." Direct citizen participation in power. German philosopher Goethe said, "That government governs best which teaches us to govern ourselves." For too long we have been too content with letting others do it for us. So let's take a collective gasp, join the frey, and with our own little contributions, start taking back America from military/corporatist rule by force and greed.

I believe Obama has a point and I will support his leadership on this issue. I will send a donation today.
Power to the people.

George Ripley

Here are Obama's remarks:

Hi, this is Barack Obama.

I have an important announcement and I wanted all of you - the people who built this movement from the bottom-up - to hear it first. We've made the decision not to participate in the public-financing system for the general election. This means we'll be forgoing more than $80 million in public funds during the final months of this election.

It's not an easy decision, and especially because I support a robust system of public financing of elections. But the public financing of presidential elections as it exists today is broken, and we face opponents who've become masters at gaming this broken system. John McCain's campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs. And we've already seen that he's not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations.

From the very beginning of this campaign, I have asked my supporters to avoid that kind of unregulated activity and join us in building a new kind of politics - and you have. Instead of forcing us to rely on millions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs, you've fueled this campaign with donations of $5, $10, $20, whatever you can afford. And because you did, we've built a grassroots movement of over 1.5 million Americans. We've won the Democratic nomination by relying on ordinary people coming together to achieve extraordinary things.

You've already changed the way campaigns are funded because you know that's the only way we can truly change how Washington works. And that's the path we will continue in this general election. I'm asking you to try to do something that's never been done before. Declare our independence from a broken system, and run the type of campaign that reflects the grassroots values that have already changed our politics and brought us this far.

If we don't stand together, the broken system we have now, a system where special interests drown out the voices of the American people will continue to erode our politics and prevent the possibility of real change. That's why we must act. The stakes are higher than ever, and people are counting on us.

Every American who is desperate for a fair economy and affordable healthcare, who wants to bring our troops back from Iraq. Who hopes for a better education and future for his or her child, these people are relying on us. You and me. This is our moment and our country is depending on us. So join me, and declare your independence from this broken system and let's build the first general election campaign that's truly funded by the American people. With this decision this campaign is in your hands in a way that no campaign has ever been before. Now is the time to act.

Thank you so much.
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Democracy is the pre-eminent value of all Americans, our cherished birthright. My work is to help unite the electoral reform movement into a congruent platform which we can push forward as a nation.
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Obama declines public money while asking the public for money. Good for him!

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