Surprisingly crazy is effective. The average voter sort of doesn't have time to focus on the political discourse the way pol-junkies do. The average voter pays attention when he or she loses their job, health insurance or pays their taxes on April 15th. People have lives to live and government sort of lives in the background keeping the bad guys away, paving the roads and doing all the stuff that can't be run as a business. The current Great Recession has the public's attention and the highest profile bonfire visible is the Fox News promoted TeaBagger movement. The TeaBaggers have simple answers for complex problems and serve as an outlet for the resentment and rage of those who a modern mixed economy and emerging multicultural society is a threat.
We are, as always, teetering on the knife edge of history. We have the power to destroy the greatest, most advanced liberal society in human history. We've had it easy. Taxes are low in relation to services provided. Our military matches all others combined, yet we have passed the cost of empire on to other generations and creditors. Our schools have degenerated into social organizations dedicated to living out the vicarious lives of the students' parents. Curiosity is discouraged and wealth is praised. Yes we don't have tens of thousands ICBMs pointed our way, and our only enemies are a tiny group of religious fanatics given power by their willingness to die in their attacks. The NRA will tell you that having a pistol in your nightstand will make you safe from crime, and Ron Paul tells you that the economy will not be stable unless we re-adopt the gold standard. Simple solutions for complex problems. Unless we become skeptical of easy answers I fear that we will continue to fritter this great civilization away.