Daily Kos recently commissioned independent polling firm Survey 2000 to assess political beliefs among self-identified Republicans. If you're even slightly a political junkie, you've seen this in the news cycle since the beginning of February, along with the usual outrage from leading conservative figures, especially media types such as Bill O'Reilly and Karl Rove. The Republican talking point is that this is a biased poll designed to make conservatives look ridiculous.
Click through to the cross-tabs for a list of the questions. They include such gems as:
- Do you believe Barack Obama was born in the United States, or not?
- Do you think Barack Obama is a socialist?
- Do you believe Barack Obama wants the terrorists to win?
- Do you believe ACORN stole the 2008 election?
And believe me, the answers are embarrassing. Embarrassingly counterfactual. Embarrassingly accurate in being on message to exactly what the McCain-Palin campaign was putting out during the past election. On message to what the same right wing media now professing outrage (FOX News, etc.) have been telling their viewership for years.
These beliefs are real. They have been ingrained almost word-for-word with a drumbeat by the very same people who now profess shock at an alleged liberal attempt to make Republicans look ridiculous. This is the messaging that Lee Atwater and Roger Ailes launched to get Reagan into office, evolved through three decades of Republican electoral strategy that has always favored politics over policy, victory over governance. This is the messaging that has infested the "liberal" media for years without challenge for fear of conservative backlash. This is the messaging coming out of the mouth of Sarah Palin and the GOP Congressional leadership every day. (What do you think she meant by "Palling around with terrorists"?)
How is it ridiculous to ask Republicans if they believe what they've been told over and over by their leaders, their heroes and their news outlets? GOP, you guys have been making yourself ridiculous for years, for the sake of trolling votes from the frightened, the unaware, the wilfully ignorant, the religiously self-blinded, and the bigoted.
What you get out of it is this poll, which is in reality a blip on the cultural radar. But you also get the Tea Party movement, saying these same things with a proud know-nothingism, as if the complex business of government were any more amenable to folk wisdom and common sense than civil engineering, aeronautics or medicine.
Republicans, don't be outraged, be proud. This is the America you've worked hard to create.
Unfortunately, the rest of us have to live with your creation.