I missed Meet the Press last week, but on this week's show they were kind enough to replay a clip from an appearance by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) in which he made very clear something which the media seems to be unable to grasp and which the panel on Meet the Press tried very hard to brush under the rug after he said it.
When asked about protesters carrying guns and signs with incendiary slogans at town hall meetings, Senator Coburn showed that at least one lawmaker understands exactly what's really going on when he responded:
"Well, I’m troubled anytime when we stop having confidence in, in our government. But we’ve earned it. You know, this debate isn’t about health care. Health care’s the symptom. The debate is an uncontrolled federal government that’s going to run — 50 percent of everything we’re spending this year we’re borrowing from the next generation. You..."
Not liking the answer because it doesn't fit how he's trying to frame the issue, David Gregory interrupts to ask him about the "tone" of the protests, to which Coburn responds:
"But the tone is based on fear of loss of control of their own government. What is the genesis behind people going to such extreme statements? What is it? We have lost their confidence, to a certain degree, and it’s much worse than when Tom (Daschle) was the, the leader of the Senate. We have raised the question of whether or not we’re legitimately thinking about the American people and their long-term best interests. And that’s the question. The mail volume of all the senators didn’t go up based on the health care debate, the mail volume went up when we started spending away our future indiscriminately. And that’s not Republican or Democrat, that has been a problem for years. But it’s exacerbated now that we’re in the kind of financial situation and economic situation."
Bingo. Look around at the signs being held up at these protests. Many of them have little or nothing to do with health care. Health care is just a wedge issue for a much larger concern that is waking up more and more of the American people. People are angry, and it's not just about anything as limited as health care. Sure, there's concern over various aspects of the health care debate, but that issue alone would not stir up so many people to such high levels of outrage if it were not part of a much larger concern.