Green trail:

The power of money in politics has never been more pronounced or problematical as it is in this year’s presidential campaign — the costliest in American history. Painful contradictions abound. Senator John McCain, who made a career of attacking big-money abuses in politics, has had to send five top campaign aides packing after their lucrative professions as special-interest lobbyists, capital insiders and money bundlers became too embarrassing to ignore. Senator Barack Obama is raising such prodigious donations on the Internet that he seems likely not to honour his offer to accept spending limits in the general election. And the campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, champion of the fabled money-raising machine of the 1990s, has slipped $19 million into debt — half of it her money.

Earlier, Obama vowed to accept the tighter alternative of public subsidy and its spending limitations — $85 million for the general election — providing the Republican nominee does the same.

As a candidate running against money-driven Washington, Obama should follow his instinct to defend the public alternative. The candidates must commit before the voters to saving public financing, and then make its updating a priority upon election to the White House — or return to the Senate. — International Herald Tribune