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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-02-12 05:24
Subject: [politics] The Daily Kos poll
Security: Public
Yes, this is old news by now, but it's been bothering me. Now that my left brain is a bit back on my usual liberal-progressive politics, I thought I'd walk through it.

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.

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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2010-02-12 14:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ah yes, the Tea Party, an organisation dedicated to people who think tea is made with salt water....
Sorry, that was a bit of a British moment. But more seriously, I find the right-wing US phobia of the word 'socialist' somewhere between baffling and frightening. A republican of my (distant) acquaintance once lectured me at length about the communists who run Spain, which threw me totally until I realised he was equating 'socialist' with 'communist' (what that view dos to the Nazi party doesn't bear thinking about).
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-12 14:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That's actually part of the problem here. The American right uses words like "Socialist" in ways that have little to do with their actual meaning outside the right's own echo chamber. So it's actually reasonable (for some rather odd value of "reasonable") for a Republican to believe Obama is a Socialist, given their definition of Socialism.

Of course, this is a bit like me deciding that "ham sandwich" means a pate of goose liver, and railing against the cruelty of the ham sandwich industry...
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Kenneth Mark Hoover
User: kmarkhoover
Date: 2010-02-12 15:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Conservatives, in the main, have a very poor grasp of American history, and an even more tenuous understanding regarding the basic tenets of Constitutional government they "profess" to love.
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russ: quo vadis
User: goulo
Date: 2010-02-12 17:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:quo vadis
The difference being that the ham sandwich cruelty actually does involve cruelty, under either definition of "ham sandwich". But that's another kettle of fish...
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Jay Lake: food-ribs
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-12 19:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Poor example, yes.
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Kenneth Mark Hoover
User: kmarkhoover
Date: 2010-02-12 15:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That poll validated everything I believe about RepubliKans and their "We want America to fail so we can win" ideology.

You think these hate-screaming conservatives are energized now. Wait until they nominate the Quitter Queen as their presidential candidate.
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Blind Geoff: Smee
User: blindgeoff
Date: 2010-02-12 16:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I wandered in here via 'Friends of Friends' and saw this...

The best part of Fox' reaction is that just a couple of days later they were touting Sarah Palin's popularity among 'The Base' by citing - yeah, you guessed it - the very same Research 2000/Daily Kos poll that they'd just finished declaring 'a fraud, as is the website.'

Ahhhh, Comedy Gold!
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