Free Markets, Free People
Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos is finishing up a book about Republicans he’s decided to entitle “American Taliban”. Yeah, no poisoning of the well there – it ought to be a real page-turner, no? One problem. He wasn’t sure what he’d written was based on anything factual. That may not come as a big surprise to most who’ve watched and read Kos over the years:
…I’m putting the finishing touches on my new book, American Taliban, which catalogues the ways in which modern-day conservatives share the same agenda as radical Jihadists in the Islamic world. But I found myself making certain claims about Republicans that I didn’t know if they could be backed up. So I thought, “why don’t we ask them directly?” And so, this massive poll, by non-partisan independent pollster Research 2000 of over 2,000 self-identified Republicans, was born.
The results are nothing short of startling.
Those startling results? Well, leave it to Steve Benen, even more clueless than Kos, to give us the “startling results” that “catalogues” (sic) “modern day conservatives” (notice the interchangability of words “conservative” and “republican”) as “shar[ing] the same agenda as radical Jihadists in the Islamic world” (notice too the rather loony premise of all “conservatives” and “republicans” being driven by radical religious beliefs).
The findings? Benen distills those most useful to the “Republicans are nutters” left (poll results here):
A plurality of rank-and-file Republicans wants to see President Obama impeached. More than a third of self-identified Republicans believe he wasn’t born in the United States. A 63% majority is convinced the president is a socialist, about a fourth believe he wants terrorists to be successful, and about a third think Obama is a racist who hates white people.
Now as I recall, the majority of the left not only wanted Bush impeached, they wanted him frog-marched before a court and tried as a “war criminal”. Most Democrats (I’m borrowing the broad brush that these two are using) believed Bush had been AWOL from his military duty and had stolen the 2000 election. A good plurality of Democrats thought (and still think) 9/11 was an inside job. And it goes without saying that a vast majority of them where convinced Bush was a tyrant, a “Nazi” and a significant number of them thought he’d declare a “national emergency” near the end of his 2nd term in order hold onto power.
And a majority of them wanted Bush to fail in Iraq and actively worked against that war – which to most people would handily translate into “they wanted the terrorists to be successful”. Racism, of course, has been a charge the left slings with impunity whenever it has nothing real to complain about. A third of Republicans think Obama’s a racist? Well if we want to play that game, I’m sure it wouldn’t be at all difficult to find a third of Democrats who think George Bush is a homophobe that hates gay people.
Does that make the Democratic party “crazy”?
Nearly a third of Republicans think contraceptive use should be outlawed.
And over two thirds don’t. But at least a third of Democrats think that abortion should be allowed in every possible situation without exception and enshrined in law too boot. So both sides want laws that the government really has no business making – what’s new?
More than three-quarters of Republicans want public schools to teach children that the book of Genesis “explains how God created the world.”
As opposed to a good majority of Democrats who already have their religion of environmentalism being taught in public schools and the have completely bought into the religious zealotry of man-made global warming even while the myth crumbles around them. Gaia is their god, Al Gore is their high priest and man is the sinner.
A third of Southern Republicans want to see their state secede from the union.
This is my favorite “startling” find (the result for “all” was 58% no/23% yes). Perfectly insignificant (a third of “Southern” Republicans), however the implied stereotype was just too useful to ignore (just as were all the others). Let me translate – “Southern” is a code word for “redneck racist religious zealots”. Thus the broad tarring of an entire region is accomplished and they can safely ignore a place they can never have electorally.
Of course, the secession claim is no different than the constant threats we heard from liberals that they’d leave the country if George Bush won the presidency. They didn’t, but I can’t imagine the usefulness of the Kos poll question that would have determined “one third of Hollywood liberals would leave the country if a Republican won the presidency” except to try cast the left in a poor light.
And that’s the point, of course. To demonize. Had Benen (and most of the left) not been so focused on trying to make the Republicans seem “crazy”, he could have said “significant majorities said they didn’t want to secede, thought openly gay men and women should be allowed to serve in the military, teach in schools and be allowed to marry and receive federal benefits. They believe sex education should be taught in schools and that marriages are equal partnerships. They don’t believe the “pill” is “abortion” but do believe that abortion is murder and they support the death penalty. They also overwhelmingly believe that women have the right to work outside the home and, as a group, are overwhelmingly Christian.”
But if Kos and Benen had said that, then they’d be hard pressed to use these results to claim Republicans are the “American Taliban” wouldn’t they? Because everyone knows that the Taliban are a bunch of gay and women’s rights supporting fellows, don’t they?
As I read the poll, it doesn’t at all support the contention clear in the title of Kos’s book. In fact, his title is hyperbole to the highest degree possible. I also find it interesting that he wrote the book based on stereotypes he’d developed and then wondered if what he wrote was true. Now, given this poll, he’s trying to try to make the results fit the premise. His problem, however, is they don’t fit at all, if, in fact, his intent is to prove the premise of the title (i.e. Republicans = Taliban). Square peg, round hole.
Result? Epic fail.
Given that, I’d say the book is a definite miss, nothing more than a poorly researched political pot boiler and most likely won’t be showing up on the reading list of many thinking people. Of course that means it will get glowing reviews from the likes of Benen and other lefty blogs. But then, that’s not unexpected at all, and we certainly don’t need a poll to know that will happen, do we?