I opened my mailbox last night and found this threatening letter, tossed in by the John Edwards campaign:
Today, Senator John Edwards announced he will be seeking public financing for the 2008 presidential primary campaign. Just as he challenged the Democratic Party to stop accepting contributions from lobbyists, today Edwards is again taking the lead in ending the money game in Washington.
"You can't buy your way to the Democratic nomination – you should have to earn the votes of the American people with bold vision and ideas," said Edwards' campaign manager Congressman David Bonior. "This is the most expensive presidential campaign in history, by far. And the simple fact is that the influence of money in politics – and the focus on raising money in this election – has gotten out of control. It's time to get back to focusing on the issues that matter to the American people. That's why John Edwards has decided to play by the rules that were designed to ensure fairness in the election process by capping his campaign spending and seeking public financing."
You might say "What a flip-flop! Back when people were taking him semi-seriously he jumped out of the public financing regime and didn't seem too distressed about it." But that would be churlish. Edwards' campaign is too important, his ideas too essential to the survival of our nation, for it to be funded by some sort of appeal to actual donors. He's going to pick all of your pockets to pay for the glorious cause. You'll thank him later.
Marc Ambinder has more, about how this is simply a taxpayer-funded effort to put a guy with little public support on footing with two candidates with a lot of public support and how that's totally fair. I pre-emptively buried public financing here.
UPDATE: Joe asks:
And backup to the assertion that Edwards is doing this because his support is dropping, either in the polls or among donors?
In February, when he renounced public financing, he had a fat lead in Iowa. Since then he has fallen into a 3-way tie with Obama and Hillary with Richardson rising fast. And his campaign is predicated on a big win among white, old, anti-war Iowans propelling him to the front of the pack. His fundraising has been down, reportedly, but we won't know til early next month.