Here are two incidents:
Shutting down the government for attention is fun
Fox puts words in Perry's mouth
There are, of course, many more where those came from. What they all have in common is failure.
The Republicans in Congress have become so used to obstruction that they don't know how to stop. Even when the leadership realizes it's gone too far, they can't reign in all the rogue elements. This is, of course, the danger of using rogue elements and relentless obstructionism in the first place.
Fox news has been telling increasingly brazen lies for so long they've forgotten how to stop. Now they are putting words in Republican's mouths. This is, of course, the danger of a culture that winks at dishonesty.
And yet, people continue to vote Republican and watch Fox news. The tilting has been gradual enough that people have time to adjust their bearings in between, and so they haven't noticed how far in absolute terms the tilt has gone. Like lobsters on the boil. Is there any point at which people wake up, look at the last 20 years, and say, "Where are we, and how did we get here from there?"
If President Obama loses the 2012 election, it's not just the end of his career. It is the beginning of the end of democracy for the entire the world. When minority parties realize they can seize power simply by wrecking the economy because the electorate isn't paying attention, then every minority party in turn will repeatedly sabotage their own government in a death spiral to the bottom. You know, like Rome did.
If a democratic electorate cannot see past the economic numbers and the faux news, then it's over. The electorate no longer possesses the ability to govern itself, and soon enough, it will lose the privilege. This process will be repeated in every democracy of any consequence; as the vultures flee the self-imposed collapse of American society, they will take their money and tactics elsewhere. So even if a nation were inclined to exercise its civic duty, it won't have a chance. The rats from our sinking ship will sink theirs. I already see signs of Americanization in the Australian insurance and housing industry. And of course Murdoch is Australian.
There was a reason we adhered to strict empirical standards of truth and accountability, even when it cost us our political victories or jobs. Because not doing so costs us everything.