Campaign Finance

Public-Spirited Do-Gooders Outspend Special Interests by 5 to 1

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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.

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  1. Funny how the first two paragraphs describes how the “conservative” message “saturated” the market during Obama’s visit, and it isn’t until paragraph six that it’s mentioned that advocates far outspent opponents.

    Who is saturating whom?

  2. Lies are cheap and easy. The Truth is a more expensive message.

  3. Fascism is cheaper

  4. “Lies are cheap and easy. The Truth is a more expensive message.”

    NBC gave Obama free time for his infomercial. How many times has Obama been on television selling health reform?

  5. “How many times has Obama been on television selling health reform?”

    He hasn’t been on today! …yet.

    Racist!

  6. wow…add a hyphen and you get Americans for Stable-Quality Care…put the horse down when he breaks a leg…almost too stupid to be Astroturfed.

  7. Well, isn’t this just the same thing as the complaining about corporate sponsorship of anti-anthropogenic global warming theories, when the other side gets way more money?

  8. Lies are cheap and easy. The Truth is a more expensive message.

    brotherben is exactly right. So when you consider that the advocates of a bigger government role in health care are both out-spending and out-lying the true advantage becomes more like 10-1!

  9. And don’t forget these racists:

    Dear President Obama,

    We would like to respectfully request a meeting with you to discuss the impact of the very important healthcare reform legislation and how it will impact the African-American community and other at-risk groups. Many leaders have come to Washington, DC this week in bipartisan support for “Define the Dream” healthcare discussions in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in search of The Beloved Community.

    Mr. President, in the Beloved Community envisioned by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., equal justice means that young people in the womb are not terminated and the elderly in ill health are not denied care because of their age.

    We are concerned that your current healthcare plan will not serve the needs of those who are most at risk.
    The African American community is severely disproportionately affected by abortion, which would not only be expanded under current healthcare proposals, but also be paid for by taxpayers. Planned Parenthood’s informational branch, The Alan Guttmacher Institute, reports that 37% of all abortions are performed on black women[1], even though blacks constitute roughly 13% of the U.S. population. Abortion has claimed the lives of about one-third of the black community.

    http://www.nationalblackprolifeunion.com/?p=57

  10. “The Alan Guttmacher Institute, reports that 37% of all abortions are performed on black women[1], even though blacks constitute roughly 13% of the U.S. population. Abortion has claimed the lives of about one-third of the black community.”

    Why do black women hate black babies?

  11. Can we call it ‘Afro-turf’ if it’s money spent from Obama’s campaign coffers?

    Or is that racist?

  12. JB, I’m gonna go out on a limb here. That one’s right on the line. Safe . but not by much.

  13. ROTFLMAO!
    JB that’s hilarious!!

  14. This is only interesting until you consider what advocate groups supporting any change are up against. Consider how uneven the playing field is for this (or any) complex policy initiative. (see http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/08/asymmetrical-policy-warfare-and.html)
    Whether you’re an anti-Obama town hall protestor or anti-Bush Cindy Sheehan, you don’t have to spend a dime to get TV time. Your story sells in a nanosecond. The complicated facts about policy are neither as interesting or as ‘newsworthy’ and take a long time to articulate.

  15. “The Alan Guttmacher Institute, reports that 37% of all abortions are performed on black women[1]”

    So you’re saying that the roaming abortion squads are more likely to target pregnant African Americans, to then deliver beatings to the belly with baseball bats? That’s terrible!

  16. Kinda blows Obama’s statements about a vast conspiracy funneling money into opposition for “HIS” health care plan.

    What’s next in his game plan for name-calling?
    Going to call them ‘cheap’? After all, “evil-doers” isn’t working.

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