Friday, August 20, 2010

Barack Obama believed to be a Muslim by one fifth of Americans.

The right wing media in the United States have long ago realised that the more you say something, or hint at something, the more people are likely to believe it. Or, at the very least, to voice it.

One in five Americans believe Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim and nearly half question his claim to be a Christian, according to a new opinion poll.

The survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Centre reflects a broader questioning among many Americans as to whether Obama is a "real" American – also reflected in the significant number who believe he was not born in the US, a constitutional requirement for presidents.

According to the poll, 18% of Americans say Obama is a Muslim, a steep rise on a year ago when the figure was 11%. The number who said the president is a Christian dropped to 34% from 43% last year.

Where do people get this junk from?

Conspiracy theories about Obama's faith have dogged him since his presidential campaign, in part fuelled by his middle name – Hussein – and because he attended a school in Indonesia, the world's most populous Islamic country. The questioning has been driven in part by the rightwing media, particularly Fox News, and by bloggers and an internet campaign.

Cooperman said he suspected that a number of those surveyed who said the president was a Muslim do not believe it and were using it as a means to express their dislike of him. A Time magazine poll shows that one in four believe that Muslim citizens are not patriotic Americans. The same poll revealed that an even higher proportion say Muslims should not be permitted to sit on the supreme court or become president.

The anti-Muslim rhetoric currently racing around the US is terrifying to behold. "Muslim" has become a shorthand for all who wish to do harm to the United States, which is why we now see protests all over the country whenever it is proposed that a Mosque be opened.

That's terrifying enough. But to see nonsense like this embraced and encouraged by one of the leading political parties is amongst the most irresponsible things I have ever seen.

And it is interesting to see people like Joe Scarborough recoil from what the Republican party is becoming.

"When I was in Congress in 1994, when I got elected in '94, I was considered to be one of the more conservative guys up there," Scarborough began.

"I am feeling further and further distant from the people who are running my party," he said.

I thought after the election that defeat would probably cause friction in the Republican party, similar to the friction which happened to the British Labour party shortly after Thatcher's election.

And I said that friction would be between those who said that the reason the Republicans lost was because they were not right wing enough and others who wanted to play more to the centre.

So far, with the exception of Joe Scarborough, I can't seem to hear the sensible wing of the Republican party at all. It's as if, listening to Newt Gingrich, that they have decided to throw their lot in with the Tea Party protesters and simply embrace lunacy as official party policy.

And they are obviously having some success in this if one in five Americans believe that Obama is a Muslim and not a "real American" to quote Bible Spice.

That may be a substantial minority, but it is still a minority. And that's the mistake with the current Republican strategy. Their supporters may be terribly passionate, but passion is a poor substitute for reason. Indeed, they are playing to a group of people who feel that their passion alone should guarantee their success at the ballot box. After all, they are trying to take their "country back", so the stakes, in their minds, couldn't be higher. Indeed, they currently have people running for office who state that, should they not be elected, they might have to take "second amendment remedies."

Angle: If we don't win at the ballot box, what will be the next step?
It simply doesn't get crazier than that. And, yet, she is an official candidate for the Republican party.

Now, people like Newt Gingrich are standing up and embracing notions that usually exist on the outward fringes of political parties and making it the official party line.

They might have one in five embracing their most outrageous lies, but I feel sure that the vast majority will see through this nonsense and utterly reject it.


Here's a sample of how the right wing push this nonsense.

Click here for full article.


daveawayfromhome said...

This is probably the same people who persist in believng that George W Bush was a great president. The same people who still believe invading Iraq was a really good idea because Saddam had nuclear weapons.
As an American, this doesnt worry me so much because of the impact that these people may have on politics. The people who represent those increasing numbers are not, after all, people who've changed their minds about Obama, they're merely people who've hardened their positions. What worries me more is that this is a large number of people actively displaying Teh Crazy, and it's hard to predict where that many crazy people will go (or stop).

Kel said...

I agree that these people are ideologues and that all we are seeing is a hardening of their positions.

The worry, as you say, is where this amount of loons will go.