Our politics is failing at the center. The focus on the telegenic freak show put on by the extreme Right is distracting us from the reality, that the Center, complacent and corrupt, is failing the country.
The functional task of the elite Center is to resolve conflict into pragmatic choice. The duty to compromise invites contempt from idealists, but a functional center wields the awesome power to marginalize as extremists those, who would attack the legitimacy of the Center's pragmatism and practicality.
A dysfunctional Center cannot exercise its power to marginalize the crazies, or chooses to marginalize people of good will and good sense, instead. A dysfunctional Center cannot manage the intellectual coherence to construct policy compromises that remain functional, creating Frankenstein corpses, instead of possibly ugly, but supremely useful camels*.
That's where the U.S. is at, politically. The elite Center is dominated by people, who are wrong about everything, who have no understanding of what can work, who, in their complacency and corruption, are intent on marginalizing good will and good sense.
Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck are the by-product, not of their audience, but of the corporate executive elite, that cannot, or will not, set any reasonable standard for the conduct of their journalistic enterprise.
The University of California cannot muster the will to fire torture-attorney, John Yoo.
And, health care is suffering the tender mercies of "fiscal conservative" "moderates" for whom only a dysfunctional health reform makes "sense".
*A reference to the insight that a camel is a horse designed by committee.