The Super PAC President

Wall Street Journal

Get out your checkbook, George Soros. You too, Peter Lewis and Steve Bing. An Obama for President fund-raiser will soon be calling to hit you up for some big campaign money. May we suggest $5 million?

That’s the meaning of the White House decision, announced late Monday night, to encourage donations to a struggling Super PAC trying to raise money to attack President Obama’s Republican opponent this year. This would be the same kind of political action committee that Mr. Obama and other good liberals have been denouncing for months as an avenue for corruption and a blight on America’s national honor.

It’s easy to denounce this switcheroo, and no doubt many liberals will do so—for all of 24 hours. This synthetic outrage will be highly entertaining. But then they will return to deploring Republicans and privately encouraging “millionaires and billionaires” like Mr. Soros and Jeffrey Katzenberg to save the Democratic Party in November. It may create a little “psychic dissonance” to denounce big money and then beg for it, as one Soros acolyte was quoted Tuesday as saying. But you gotta do what you gotta do.

The better way to understand this decision is that it is Mr. Obama’s second in-kind contribution to the demise of the campaign-finance reform movement. In 2008, Mr. Obama was so flush with cash he voluntarily dropped out of the presidential public-funding system that limits the amount a candidate can raise and spend. John McCain, trapped by his own history of favoring spending limits, played the sap, obeyed the rules, and was heavily outspent. You may have noticed he lost.

The liberal goo-goos want to ban money from politics, but now their political hero has made them look like fools—twice.

Mitt Romney and any other potential GOP nominee won’t be fooled again. Mr. Romney’s Super PAC has already raised in the neighborhood of $30 million and has shown it is willing to use it to carve up an opponent.

Mr. Obama’s Super PAC has had a harder time raising funds this cycle. So the President is now anointing certain Administration officials to be able to speak directly on its behalf—though apparently not actively to solicit checks.

So let’s see: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will be able to speak at an event that is expressly a Super PAC fund-raiser, but because she won’t be stuffing the checks in her purse she will not violate federal rules against coordination between a candidate’s campaign and a Super PAC. After the election, and especially if Mr. Obama wins, the President will switch one more time and become a reformer demanding limits on money in politics. And good liberals will praise him for it.

No wonder Americans are cynical about politics.

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