Democracy 21 did not say that Senator John McCain cannot withdraw from the presidential primary public financing system until the Federal Election Commission makes a decision in this case.
We said that the shut down of the FEC has "taken center stage" because there is no agency to make a legal determination of whether McCain can or cannot withdraw from the public financing system. That means that their will be no resolution of the legal question involved here until the agency is re-constituted to decide the legal issue, and if such an FEC decision is appealed, the case is decided by the courts.
Democracy 21 had no trouble interpreting Barack Obama's statement -- "If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election" -- to mean that he was opting into the public financing system for the general election. They sit around and parse this stuff all day, set themselves up as judge and jury about what the law is and how it should be interpreted. And now they want to shrug their shoulders because it's their good buddy John McCain and because there's no quorum at the FEC, and say he can do whatever the hell he wants?
If that's the case they just ought to shut their doors now, because they've just admitted they're completely useless and serve no purpose whatsoever other than to needle people when it's of no consequence. If ever there was a time for groups like this to be weighing in, it's now, during the height of campaign season when the official regulatory agency has been completely defanged by the Bush Administration.
The Common Causes and Democracy 21s and Public Citizens like to rail about "compromised" politicians, but they're proving in vivid color that they, themselves, are not immune to being compromised. And having invested too much in John McCain this past decade, they are incapable of calling him for his breaking the laws they supposedly champion.
Meanwhile, Common Cause director Mary Boyle has been reduced to firing off puerile emails to Matt Stoller telling him to "up his meds" and addressing everything but the very legitimate point he makes when he asks where they stand on this issue. And the McCain campaign, knowing it won't be held to account, has now "stepped up its criticism of Mr. Obama" on the issue of campaign finance. That's some high hypocrisy.
Just because George Bush shuts down the enforcement mechanism doesn't mean it's a free-for-all, and if that's the position the reform groups are taking, can someone explain what it is they're good for?
Jane Hamsher blogs at firedoglake.com