Common sense has bloomed among right wingers — not once, but twice. And while these episodes are unlikely to become regular events, we should enjoy them while we can.
First case: Sarah Palin. Alaska's former half-term governor has been masquerading as a political figure, when in fact she's the nation's highest-profile reality-TV star. Even the generally clueless John McCain has woken up to this. His seemingly diplomatic decision not to endorse any candidate in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries has widely been seen by political observers as an abandonment of his former running mate.
He's not alone. On the eve of last year's national elections, GOP hit man Karl Rove questioned Palin's presidential viability. And conservative egghead Charles Krauthammer concluded in effect that Palin offered more promise than payoff.
Even William Kristol, editor of the neoconservative Weekly Standard, has distanced himself from Palin's road show, saying on MSNBC that he's disappointed that Palin has failed at "framing the policy agenda."
This may not sound like a rebuke, but in political-speak it is the equivalent of saying that a moose could do a better job.
Kristol's kiss-off was guarded. He delivered it in a this-hurts-me-more-than-it-hurts-you tone of voice. He also left enough wiggle room to re-pledge for Palin should she start climbing in the polls.
But on the right, Kristol's agonizing reappraisal is hard to ignore. Kristol was Palin's godfather. He brought her into the Republican inner sanctum and sponsored her deliciously disastrous appointment to McCain's presidential ticket.
Palin's self-pitying remarks after the Tucson massacre claiming she was smeared as a hate monger, her ignorance about the events surrounding the US-USSR space race, and her dysfunctional response to the Egyptian revolution are all more or less standard stuff.
It seems, however, that as the 2012 national elections loom, the same old thing just does not fly within GOP circles of power.
President Barack Obama has his game back. Obama has rebounded in the polls as a result of his tax compromise, his reaffirming remarks after Tucson, and his on-target State of the Union speech.
To GOP plutocrats, Palin is looking as appealing as, well, McCain.
Predicting what Palin will do in real life is, of course, risky business. Odds are that she will do what's good for her ego and her pocketbook. If running for president will satisfy one or both, then get ready for candidate Palin.
Meanwhile, the rest of us can sit back and enjoy the show as the big brains of American conservatism wake up to what most voters realized some time ago: Palin is a menace.
And then there is Glenn Beck.
Fox News' clown prince always seemed to have a tenuous grip on reality. These days he has deserted the parallel planet he usually inhabits and has blasted off to another galaxy.
The spontaneous uprising of the Egyptian people calling for an end to President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year dictatorship has vigorously rattled Beck's cage. So much so that he has spun what surely must be — to date, at least — the mother of all conspiracy theories.
According to Beck, Egypt's incipient revolution is the next step in the unfolding caliphate, the plan for Muslim world domination orchestrated by Obama, Democrats, communists, the Bush family, and radical Islamists.