Eight of ten Americans distrust their government, a new Pew poll finds, concluding that "Politics has poisoned the well" in the era of "a dismal economy, an unhappy public, bitter partisan-based backlash, and epic discontent with Congress and elected officials."
In the face of such domestic bitterness, however, a BBC poll of 28 countries finds that, coinciding with Obama's tenure, "America's influence in the world is now seen as more positive than negative." Only in Pakistan and Turkey does more than half of the population have an unfavorable view.
Tea Party proponents will likely find that such foreign approval only confirms how un-American the first African-American president is, seeing a lack of patriotism in his efforts to avert nuclear destruction in an unstable world.
Yet, on the fifteenth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, Bill Clinton reminds us what can follow from "the belief that the greatest threat to American freedom is our government, and that public servants do not protect our freedoms, but abuse them."
The man who was president then to mourn the deaths of 168 innocent men, women and children warns that, in "a contentious, partisan time...we must all assume responsibility for our words and actions before they enter a vast echo chamber and reach those both serious and delirious, connected and unhinged."
As if to underscore Clinton's warning, a gaggle of "patriots" prepares to make history by taking guns to a demonstration in a national park, only a few miles from the Capitol and the White House.
The politicians and pundits who spread verbal poison in this summer of American discontent may make headlines and get TV ratings for their efforts, but they should be reminded that their jihad against an elected American government may leave them with as much blood on their hands as any Middle East terrorist.
No number of votes in November can be worth that.