As I note in my column today, leftish "watchdog groups" such as Public Citizen and Common Cause are worried that you can't tell the players in the health care debate without detailed quarterly reports to the government. Specifically, they are concerned about undisclosed corporate support for seemingly spontaneous criticism of President Obama's plans to rearrange a sixth of the economy. But those allegedly fake town hall attendees would have to be awfully expensive to make up for the huge advantage that advocates of "health insurance reform" enjoy in TV advertising:
Supporters of Mr. Obama's plan to overhaul the system have outspent opponents, with $24 million worth of advertising, compared with $9 million from opponents. An additional $24 million has been broadly spent in support of overhauling the system without backing a specific plan.
In other words, advocates of a bigger government role in health care are outspending opponents by more than 5 to 1. The advocates include not only the Democratic National Committee and left-liberal groups such as MoveOn.org but formerly evil special interests such as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and "a coalition of drug companies, doctors, for-profit hospitals and union members" operating under the astroturfy name Americans for Stable Quality Care. In this context, R. Bruce Josten pretty plausibly portrays his employer, an obscure little outfit known as the U.S. Chamber of Congress, as an underdog:
I'm up against a dozen groups running ads that will spend between $50 million and $80 million to promote a public plan and promote an employer mandate, regardless of the cost. We're trying to create a dialogue rather than cede the ground.