Well, we can certainly hope so. I’m inclined to think that it has already begun to break down, with enough examples from both sides of the aisle to suggest that civil political debate in the blogosphere and dead tree press probably has a half life of one week.
The blogosphere, because of its sheer volume and anonymity, is more likely to invite incivility in commentary than the daily press, where letters to the editor require real signatures.
The problem, for political columnists, is how to decide when passionate criticism crosses the line to become personal attack; or is likely to be interpreted as such. And there’s the rub, we are so intractably attached to our core political views that we are likely to take a vigorous attack upon them as personal slurs.
The best we can do is remember that what we write for internet publication never goes away, never wraps the fish, never lines the parrot cage.
Fort Buckley summed it all up recently: Google Never Forgets.