Let's make a deal: no more talking about health care reform. For a while, anyway. A couple weeks, let's say. Because no one on TV and few people in newspapers can actually explain what's going on with it.
Here's where we stand: right now Harry Reid is hammering out a final Senate bill that will probably include a public option. Tom Harkin is looking at taking some funding proposals from the House bill. No voting will happen until a final Senate bill is scored by the CBO, which will take a while. Eventually a Senate bill will be voted on and a House bill will be voted on and they will be merged and then we all get free government abortions.
So that's it. There is nothing entertaining to report on, really. And when there is nothing entertaining to report on, like last August, the media just goes nuts. Death panels and angry teabaggers and lies and reporting on lies and reporting on reactions to lies. Polls! Tracking polls! Scary commercials about Canada! Scary news stories about England! Just nonsense. Because no one knows how to report on the legislative process. At all. There are no pictures or snappy quotes to go along with closed sessions of a couple lawmakers making compromises. Television news is structurally incapable of explaining the pros and cons of various funding provisions under consideration without just shouting about taxes.
Everyone should just shut up for a while! The media can move on to climate change, baseball, Afghanistan, and all the other issues they're also incapable of tackling seriously.
Serious and boring reports on the legislative process are still ok, as long as they appear in places like Roll Call. Wonky analyses of the details of the specific provisions that may or may not make it into the final bill are ok on the serious wonky blogs. But no more opining on Obama's wasted moment, or what he should do next, or critiques of his branding of the reform effort. No more town halls. No more Betsy McCaughey. No more comparisons to Clinton. Please. Just leave our legislators in peace for a while. Until the bill gets to the floor. Then everyone can freak out, again, with the calling your congressman and online petitions and what-have-you.