Monday, January 23, 2012

Reason #116: Voluntary Restraint

Adding more fuel to the fire of her pro-regulation, pro-financial-sanity public image (not to mention the fire of my love for her) Elizabeth Warren has signed a groundbreaking pledge designed to curb or even eliminate outside (read: Super PAC) spending in her Senate race against Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Scott Brown, impressively but perhaps not surprisingly--given that third-party advertising has been mostly pro-Warren thus far--has come on board as well.

Since they can't legally coordinate with their sides' respective PACs anyway (see: Colbert, Stephen), the agreement the two campaigns have reached is that each will pay a penalty of 50% of their side's ad spending to a charity of their opponent's choice. This seems batshit crazy for a split second, but if you put yourself in the mindset of someone who wants a person to get elected so badly that they'll actually form their own PAC and launch their own negative campaigns against the other guy, it actually makes a bizarre kind of sense - would you rather let your favorite candidate get their own perspective out, or would you rather get your perspective out at said candidate's expense?

Whether the Super PACs will actually feel that way, of course--or whether both campaigns will abide by the agreement--remains to be seen. I wonder, if it seems to work out, if it will get brought up as a model for the presidential race as well. That would really be interesting.

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