The typical “blogger” thing to do is criticize Democrats for being too willing to compromise on substance without tangible gains, but this looks like tangible gains to me:
A new coalition this morning is launching $12 million in TV ads to support President Obama’s health-reform plan, in the opening wave of a planned tens of millions of dollars this fall. The new group, funded largely by PhRMA, is called Americans for Stable Quality Care. It includes some odd bedfellows: the American Medical Association, FamiliesUSA, the Federation of American Hospitals, PhRMA and SEIU. [...]
The group’s campaign is likely to mean that White House supporters keep the upper hand on the airwaves. PhRMA’s participation is key, because the group has promised to kick in as much as $150 million for advertising and grass-roots activity to help pass the president’s plan. But the new group could provoke complaints from the left. The debut ad is mean to shore up support among the conservative House Blue Dog Democrats, and to target swing senators. So it’s airing in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota and Virginia. The first buy is expected to run for two weeks, with a weekly spend of around $3 million.
The fact of the matter is that the country is likely to pay a price for moving in the direction of health reform that gets buy-in from these kind of interest groups. But that’s a price relative to a theoretical universe in which it’s possible to pass a better plan with PhRMA spending hundreds of millions in negative ads rather than kicking in money to help finance pro-reform ads. In the real world of politics, this looks to me like dealmaking that’s paying off.