One unfortunate factor that exacerbated the tendency to dismiss all critics of Barack Obama as kooks: the many right wing bloggers who did act like kooks, enthusiastically and relentlessly promoting stories like the birth certificate nonsense, the “Michelle Obama ‘whitey’ tape,” the “Obama is the love child of Malcolm X” rubbish, and countless other insane and/or stupid smears. The damage they did (and are still doing, in some cases) to the center-right blogosphere was enormous; when some of the loudest voices are screaming gibberish, they drown out everyone else and tar the whole group by association.
That's the problem, innit? Your loud voices are the ones that stick most in the minds of people. Someone says it's time for hope and change and says it loudly enough and people believe. No one pays attention to specifics. Certainly the mass media is looking only for the glaring images that attract looky-loos.
You can almost see the same thing happening now. The Administration is trying very hard to make Rush Limbaugh the face of the opposition. And credit to Saul Alinsky, it's working. Anyone who thinks the government is doing the wrong thing is automatically a Dittohead. And Rush is eating it up because it's great for his ratings. And Americans are buying the image of conservative opposition as fat Bourbon Republicans. As long as that's the image, things aren't going to improve. In fact, I'm thinking they are going to get much worse. Maybe not Depression-era worse, but close enough to be uncomfortable.