Historic tipping points, especially tracking the vagaries of self-serving political solipsism, are hard to pinpoint and harder to confirm. We could be nearing a major reversal: fringe Republicanism -- which is to say the entire party -- refuses to back down from its deranged manias, with stunningly negative voting impacts. Evidence: last night's Democratic Congressional win in a very Republican NY District. True, impossible to know now how grievously will inexhaustible corporate gold tarnish formerly "free" elections -- serving up the biggest GOP 2012 brass ring: taking over the Senate.
Reagan spearheaded the GOP ploy, showing that smug, insular self-absorption immune to fallacies and contradictions can win elections (especially against dismal Dems). The pinnacle came when W.'s divinely-ordained "gut instincts" warped terrorism and committed trillions on bad wars -- inducing one of the most concentrated transfers of wealth in our history. My brain still distinguishes the fixated, base-driven, rightwing self-absorption (W.'s or Fox TV) from less ideological Democratic self-absorption -- however volatile, Clinton's egotism never disrespected expertise and intelligence; Obama's 'let's-make-any-deal' "pragmatism" contrasts with Bush-Cheney's rigid, voice-of-God infallibility.
Yet high time to assess the bloodied rightwing birdbrains hitting the earth with a thud, even imagine a shift from radical over-reach and arrogance. With unelectable Sarah Palin in free fall, the Tea Party split down the middle (what, Medicare cuts!), Gingrich bleeding from all pores, compromised Huckabee and Barbour out, Beck job-hunting, and one-third fewer listeners suckered in by Limbaugh and Hannity, we got a visible trend, if not a mud slide. The wingnut hegemony is wobbling and, while 2010 propelled the nitwit right, the truly looming dinosaurs named O'Donnell, Angle, and Joe Miller, got trashed. Lately, Republicans like Ensign, Schwarzeneger, and Trump, even Paul Ryan, are crashing and burning -- while the other team savors the wrecks and plays it safe.
I also predict rightwing politicians, shocked by storms and tornadoes trashing their backyards, will stop badmouthing government when emergency funding shines like gold in them thar hills. Even transparently unprincipled crowd-seekers like Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty can't hold a candle in lying (so far) with the empty-headed, sociopathic W. and the religious whackoes. The political sins of flip-flopping by Romney and Pawlenty will keep them humble -- as well as prominently on the national news.
Hallelujah, the Private Palin = Public Palin
To this end, even before Joe McGinness' certain excoriation of Palin as Wasilla Bubblehead rears its head, ex-attorney Frank Bailey's unkind tell-all ("Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of Our Tumultuous Years") delivers positive reinforcement rare in politics. Turns out, the Palin is just as vicious and petty, flaky and goofy in her private life as her public persona. I take belated solace that Palin is exactly whom she appears, rarely the case with protected, smarter politcos. Excepting Gingrich the walking disaster, what other monumentally flawed character has been as thoroughly mortified for so long, as if all her costly PR filters boomeranged, as if she takes no pro's advice?
True, Palin's spiral started a month or two after McCain got hoodwinked by his own beauty-contestant V.P., but the duration and extent of her disgrace competes with our ultimate, disgraceful melodrama -- Tricky Dick Nixon's forced resignation. Further, the Palin's train wreck marks a notable trend, that the entire holier-than-thou born-again crowd is falling apart, getting unborn, so to speak. Sister Sarah follows O'Donnell, Angle, Miller, Huckabee and Bachmann off the cliff, plus the Rapture genius whose predictions make fringe Christianity a worldwide laughing stock. Pssst, there's no such Rapture predicted in the inerrant New Testament .