Conventional wisdom wranglers were quick to toss the presidential public financing system into an early grave a few months back, now here's an interesting take on what may bring the system back from the brink: a crazy-long campaign season driving candidates into debt.
Noting that candidates like John McCain, Sam Brownback, and Mike Huckabee are struggling to stay competitive with their cash on hand the piece suggests that public financing may be the ticket for candidates whose fundraising is faltering in a packed primary with donors stretched thin -- and who don't have the vast personal fortune of Mitt Romney who's lending his campaign money left and right.
Certainly public financing should be the tool to level the financial playing field for candidates and help dispense with the rubric that makes fundraising prowess a proxy of one's ability in office.
Until the public financing system is sufficiently vital to level the playing field however, we'll be witness to campaign finance laywer Jan Baran's quoted description of the activities of "shoestring candidates":
"They live off the land. They eat what they kill. And they try to find ways to get cash to tide them over[.]"
Once you've got the mental image of Sam Brownback hacking through the forest with an elk strapped to his back, it's hard to shake...