09/25/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

August Madness: Politics, Money and Discontent

August Madness strikes in the summer of health care discontent. Economics are running wild despite the "cash for clunkers" program. If they weren't so small, maybe folks could live in their new government subsidized cars. But a Prius just doesn't work for a family of five during the school year. Yet it is the last hurrah for consumer credit card companies before regulation. Interest rates skyrocket, and no one is putting the breaks on because Congress is at summer camp learning hand-to-hand combat, Chelsea is getting married on Martha's Vineyard, and Bernanke is still running the Fed. Set against this backdrop, Arianna is waxing longingly about FDR and encouraging Obama to get tough.

We know August is always the time when the loonies come out to howl at the moon and do a jig. And yet here we are again locked into August madness without our talking points as: Republicans kick the shit out of the Democrats, Democrats continue to fight among themselves, folks show up to hear the President bearing arms, Liberals threaten to boycott, and the media morphs into whores for ratings. Emotions run high, it's all about juicy drama, and we were not ready. Even sane (and sometimes boring) David Gregory gave into the pressures two weeks ago. Meet the Press entered the arena of high drama news as people tuned in for the tête-à-tête between Rachel and conservative Dick Armey talking about health care reform.

Somehow we are locked into the drama of health insurance reform while so many moving parts are ignored. How did we get here? And more importantly, how do we change the conversation?