By what jaundiced standard do right-wing politicians derive their smug, self- congratulatory persona and float such outrageously inaccurate versions of the world? What drives the raucous Tea Party outpourings and the strident, fact-deficient rhetoric of political opportunists like Sarah Palin? And how do such content-deprived political pretenders manage to titillate the media into covering their screechy events?

Bill Maher said recently that at some point, the right became a group of “religious lunatics, flat-earthers, and civil-war re-enactors.” How long can such modest credentials serve to frame an agenda and, Maher asks, why do the media take Sarah Palin seriously when she is “manifestly not a serious person?”  Yet, despite her tenuous grasp of issues, Palin followers embrace her message, a phenomenon reminiscent of how an elderly butcher at a small grocery in NYC once described his countrymen to me. One moment, he said, a crowd would be chanting in wild obeisance at a papal audience only to be found a short time later at a nearby public square cheering in wild support of Mussolini. Such is the human condition that the nature of its support is often hard to fathom.