BOSTON (CBS) – With much fanfare and posturing, Senator Scott Brown and his probable Democratic challenger this fall, Elizabeth Warren, have announced their agreement on a plan to keep those so-called SuperPacs from polluting the Senate race with vicious attack ads.
And both candidates are taking a bow for supposedly sparing us from the interference of outside organizations.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
But frankly, after reading the fine print of what Brown and Warren have agreed to, I just don’t get it.
Their deal says if a third party supporting Warren, for example, runs an ad attacking Brown by name or image, her campaign would have to donate half the value of the ad buy to a charity designated by Brown.
So if Warren supporters resurrected that ad they ran endlessly last year showing a Scott Brown lookalike leaving an oil slick wherever sat down, while the voiceover denounced his environmental record, that would cost the Warren campaign money.
Same deal for the foolish SuperPac ad claiming Warren was actually a crony of the big banks she’s made a career out of criticizing.
But any clever ad-maker could omit the target’s name and image and still mount an effective attack.
That anti-Brown environmental might show Warren cleaning up pollution left behind by an elephant.
Brown allies could use the same video of the Occupy protestors they ran after Warren said flattering things about them, and the voiceover might tie it to Warren by saying: “This might sell in Cambridge, but not where we live.”
Meanwhile, nothing in this deal prevents either candidate from thoroughly trashing each other in their own paid ad campaigns, for which they’ve already stockpiled millions.
Frankly, the whole thing seems like a Brown trap that Warren fell into, since the pro-Warren SuperPac ads had been much more effective than the pro-Brown ones.
Either way, it strikes me as a bunch of hot air about hot air.
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