It's interesting that the result of not one but both major parties nominating presidential candidates known as process-oriented reformers has merely resulted in an usually large volume of campaign finance shenanigans -- from McCain illegally backing out of the system after having used public financing to secure a loan, to Obama wriggling out of a commitment to use public financing for the general election. I bet that two years ago, reformers would have told you that a McCain-Obama matchup would be great for their cause. In practice, it's turned out to be terrible.

And I think it's not a coincidence. McCain and Obama both feel they can take the hit on these issues in part because they're both branded as "reformers" and thus don't need to worry as much about being perceived as corrupt. Years ago, of course, McCain had a different reputation as a consequence of the Keating 5 business and became a reformer in part in order to change that reputation. But politicians who have the clean image can feel free to ditch process constraints whenever convenient.

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