Country is coming to its senses after calamity of 2008

It’s been nearly three years since an erstwhile wannabe anarchist and a few friends decided to lay down in front of a limo carrying at-the-time vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin from Walker Field to a rally in Grand Junction.

Jacob Richards, the perpetrator of that act of civil disobedience, has since undergone a remarkable makeover, and now does a fair job of passing himself off as a responsible young adult who is engaged in his community and wants nothing more than to be a respectable contributor to the civil discourse, preferably as a member of the Grand Junction City Council.

Poor Ms. Palin, on the other hand, has done nothing but watch her once-mercurial rise plummet as quickly and as deservedly as, oh, say, the tea party, the splinter group that has no clue about how the country should be governed, and, oh, say, Glenn Beck, he the darling of said tea partiers whose viewership is falling as quickly as daily newspaper circulation. I mention the plight (mostly imagined, in my view) of newspapers only because Beck and his fellow travelers are quick to point out and gloat over every canceled subscription of every newspaper in the country.

There’s nothing like an economic and financial crisis like we’ve never seen before to gin up support for the delusionists of the right. And that’s what happened in 2008. The country’s financial system seemingly lost its underpinnings. The greedy s.o.b.‘s on Wall Street were told to clean out their offices but not their bank accounts. While they walked away with millions the rest of us watched our life savings shrink.

Beck and company’s apocalyptic predictions were seemingly happening as we watched day after day of bank failure after bank failure, followed by government bailout after government bailout.

It was time to throw the bums out cried the nascent tea party as it rallied around Palin. Never mind that she wasn’t bright enough to spell cat, even if spotted the c and the a.

I suppose it’s understandable. Desperate times, and that indeed was the way many saw the year of 2008, as they watched their futures disappear with their savings account balances, produce desperate, and strange, solutions to big problems. What’s one to do? Obviously what had worked no longer did.

But eventually people come to their senses. Eventually they realize that platitudes really mean nothing. Eventually they realize that the Sarah Palins and her guiding lights (read: Glenn Beck) may produce memorable sound bites but they have little knowledge of how to govern the country, and even less of the complexities and intricacies of the U.S. economy.

So it comes as no surprise that three years after the beginning of The Great Recession, the number of people who rallied around the noisy right is much less than it once was.

Palin’s unfavorable ratings are up in nearly every respectable poll. They are all above 50 percent now and in some cases are approaching 60 percent. Her numbers are about where those of Al Sharpton and Pat Buchanan were at this point in the election cycle when they ran for president. We all know how well they did.

Tea party support, likewise, is declining but it is still a potent political force. One needs to look no further than the mid-term elections to realize that even if the tea party has no substantive platform, it’s notion that Washington needs a new cast of characters still resonates.

And then there’s Mr. Beck. Despite his predictions, the planet is still spinning on its axis and, what’s more, the number of people paying attention to him is dwindling at a rapid rate.

In just six months, his evening viewership on Fox News has dropped from 2.9 million to 1.8 million. His radio show has been dropped in several major markets and he’s reportedly feuding with Fox over his contract renewal.

Maybe there’s not much to make of any of this right now. But in at least one person’s view — mine — it all means that the country, after overreacting to the calamity of 2008 is, as it always does, returning to its senses.

Denny Herzog is the retired executive editor of The Daily Sentinel. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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