Will we get another People’s Pledge?

Even though MA just had one of the country’s most closely-watched and most expensive Senate races, we were spared the absolutely epic onslaught of third-party advertising that pummeled viewers and listeners in other states.  Ask your friends and family in states like Ohio (I have) – they’ll tell you it was unbelievably awful.  We really don’t know how good we had it by virtue of the facts that (a) MA wasn’t contested in the presidential race, and, more importantly, (b) Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren agreed to the “People’s Pledge,” which successfully kept outside groups off the airwaves.

Brown claims that the People’s Pledge was his idea, and whether or not that’s actually true, he absolutely deserves credit for agreeing to it, and for sticking to it even when he started slipping in the polls.  A lot of people thought the Pledge wouldn’t hold up when the going got tough for one of the candidates, but it did.  Even in running a generally lousy and ultimately failed campaign, Brown did accomplish one very important and positive thing by taking concrete and successful action to keep many millions of dollars of third-party attack ads out of Massachusetts in the last cycle.

If Brown decides to run again, but won’t agree to a similar pledge this time, it would look like an admission of weakness.  Which, in fact, is exactly what it would be.  He would be saying, in effect, “I realize now that I can’t win without the help of Karl Rove and the other guys who would have dumped gajillions of dollars into my race if only I had let them.  So this time around, bring it on!”

But that only weakens Brown if the Democratic nominee does the right thing.  So how about it, Ed, Mike, Steve, Ben, and whoever else might get in?  Let’s have all the Democrats commit that they’ll sign on to a People’s Pledge – hopefully revised to eliminate the robocall and direct mail loopholes – if the GOP candidate will do the same.  Massachusetts voters can be trusted to make their choice based on what the candidates themselves have to say.  They don’t need Karl Rove & Co. (or, for that matter, outside groups that are more Dem-friendly) to tell them what to think.


7 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Given the powerful anticorrelation between spending by

    outside Republican groups and victory… I hope Rove, the Kochs, Adelson, and all the rest of that crowd fill our airwaves with what amounts to advertising for Democrats. It will brIng money to the state, too.

    • Less Republican ads is better

      Last year’s Republican ads were a bunch of spam. Brown had a good ad honoring a Medal of Honor recipient, but presidential ads by Republicans were not presidential. Elizabeth Warren was destined to beat Brown by around seven percentage points. Warren was not born a Senator, but once initial polls framed her as beating Brown by seven points, she fulfilled her destiny. She earned her destiny over sixty years by baby-sitting, being a good sister in a military family, deciding to be one of the first few women professional lawyers (practicing out of her own small home), potty-training her own Amelia, educating, coauthoring books and impressing us the nation on Fox Business News TV. Warren did lose by five percentage points in mid-cycle polls, but on election day, she got what she was initially poised for her… a seven point victory over our Senator Scott Brown. Corporate conservative speech must be restricted. GOP money should be deemed NO LONGER GOOD by regulation. The FEC has to enact regulations against GOP spending money for annoying TV and radio ads.

    • I've been thinking about that too

      Lots of folks work to create those ads — the creative types in radio, television, etc. Those folks make middle class wages.

      Lots of the price of those ads goes to the broadcasting companies. Now it’s true, much of their stock is owned by the wealthy, but much of it is also owned by pension funds, 401k middle class investors, etc.

      I think it would be really interesting to do an economic analysis on the wealth & income of those who contribute to those ads and how that money flows to other folks… does the net result of the ad expenditures themselves* result in a transfer of wealth from the rich to the middle class?

      * ignoring their impact on the results of the elections which, for the folks you mention, was very small for national races and very large for state legislative races, and part of the reason why Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin have GOP state legislatures (both houses) and why Washington and NY have “power sharing” agreements despite Dem majorities. How much of the reason? Impossible to even track the money, no less measure the money’s impact.

  2. Great idea

    And one the candidates would be wise to embrace immediately. It could get them some good press, too.

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Tue 28 Mar 11:44 AM