May the People's Pledge against Attack Ads Spread and Prevail
Major kudos are in order to U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Scott Brown and his Democratic rival in the upcoming election, Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren. They recently made an agreement that Brown has dubbed a "People's Pledge" to work to limit attack ads by outside groups during their Massachusetts Senate race. As reported by the AP, "Under the terms of the deal, each campaign would agree to donate half the cost of any third-party ad to charity if that ad either supports their candidacy or attacks their opponent by name." The big question now, raised in a NY Times blog post, is how to enforce this pledge:
The agreement requires each side to donate to a charity of the other’s choosing whenever a third-party ad is aired supporting them or attacking their opponent. Both parties will also sign letters to outside groups and to television station managers, calling on them to stop running ads in the race.
But Brett Kappel, an election lawyer at the firm Arent Fox, said there was “zero” chance that all such groups would comply, no matter how much pressure Mr. Brown and Ms. Warren exert.
“There just isn’t much they can do legally to put a stop to it,” Mr. Kappel said in an e-mail, adding that “people who want to affect the outcome of this race will do what they want, regardless of what the candidates would prefer.”
Mr. Kappel also predicted that television stations, which reap the financial benefits of outside advertising, would not go along with the plan. “Even if they didn’t have an economic incentive,” he said, “they wouldn’t want to be accused of being a censor for one or both campaigns.”
Watching the mud-hurling between Republican candidates during primary season, I personally am thrilled to see our current Senator and his rival make an attempt at civility here in Massachusetts. A Washington Post blog commended the two politicians for making this attempt. I completely agree.
I only hope it can be executed successfully and will become a trend during the rest of this election year. Following their lead, I'm going to stay positive. What do you all think?