Wafflish?

The Philadelphia Inquirer, which has a history of supporting public financing of elections, gets on Sen. Barack Obama's case for his remarks about possibly opting out of the presidential public financing program because of his so-called "parallel public financing system" -- meaning his large number of small dollar donors. Accusing him of the dreaded "waffling," the Inquirer calls on Obama to shore up his reformer credentials and not twist around terminology around public financing.

Obama has, like his Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton endorsed full public financing for congressional races, as well as fixes to better fund the presidential public financing program but the notion of a "parallel" system does rub me the wrong way. As the paper rightly notes, big donors still account for a hefty chunk of Sen. Obama's campaign account and while that's to be expected in the current campaign finance environment it's nothing like the model of small donor participation you see with a Clean Elections-style public financing program.