Obama's a Pragmatist, Not a Reformer

His decision to opt out of public financing is right in character
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2008 11:06 AM CDT
Barack Obama talks with Howard Dean, the head of the Democratic National Committee, while in flight from Washington to Chicago Thursday, June 19, 2008.    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama’s decision to opt out of the public financing system shouldn’t come as a surprise, writes Politico’s Ben Smith. Obama has been inching away from the money for a long time now, proving once again that he’s not a traditional reformer—he’s a pragmatist. Obama comes from a community organizing tradition that focuses on results, not methods.

“Their campaign is brutally pragmatic,” said one Democratic operative. The candidate is taking flak from John McCain for going back on a promise, but the decision has been a no-brainer since his fundraising began shattering records. "In terms of what I care about, which is winning this election, he made exactly the right decision,” said Bob Shrum, a former adviser to John Kerry who thinks Kerry would have won had he done the same. Kerry, by the way, agrees.