Call for Clarity

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One of Sen. John McCain's (R) home state newspapers, The Arizona Republic, is taking him to task for his muddied position on the presidential public financing system noting in particular the contrast between McCain's reputation as a reformer and his seeming ambivalence towards the presidential public financing program.

Sen. McCain has taken on Sen. Barack Obama for not yet committing to take public financing in the general election, but his attack has been undercut by McCain's simultaneous efforts to get out of the public financing system for the primary:

The campaign's decision not to take public financing for the primaries may not pose immediate legal problems for McCain. But the issue already has dinged his reputation as a reformer, experts say.

"It hurts him because he's made it such an issue for such a long time," said Bradley Smith, a former FEC commissioner.

This is not the only area in which McCain would be well-served by clarifying his position. While he has always been a supporter of Arizona's Clean Elections public financing program for state legislative races, he's not supported a similar program for the U.S. Congress. What's good for the goose isn't good for the gander?