There’s a deep chasm of illogic across which voters must negotiate a leap that may still land them in improbable and fantastical territory. Many theories and much statistical data suggest Social Security is insolvent now or will be soon or will remain solvent for another decade or so. Similar challenges are made about Medicare. Take your pick about whose figures are accurate and whether Health-Care legislation will or will not rein in some of the costs associated with federal benefits.

Besides entitlement debates conservative extremists contend that the government is plotting to curb liberties and saddle citizens with everything from arcane regulations to internment camps – – seriously. In the loudly disputed concerns about the deficit and rising health care costs, voters are left in a fearful state about what the future holds and surrender to a visceral anger that has no rational target. And in the cynical dialectic animating our national discourse voter anxiety is manipulated in poisonous rhetoric by political aspirants hungry for power who feed on the angst of an angry electorate – – like Newt Gingrich’s suggestion that no more mosques be built in this country until Saudi Arabia allows churches to be built there. The man is full of ideas after all, but is one of them that we should be more like the Saudis?