A 21st Century Twist On Old Standbys: The Islamophobic Southern Strategy

Yes. One in five Americans believes the untrue but persistent myth that President Obama is a 'secret Muslim'. And because it's "let's be stupid be

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Yes. One in five Americans believes the untrue but persistent myth that President Obama is a 'secret Muslim'. And because it's "let's be stupid because Congress is on recess and we like jumping over a cliff" month, the story actually gets some traction, because it was reported by the ever-vigilant Washington Post.

That the question was polled at all lends legitimacy to it. That it was reported simply offers the cynical and the stupid cover to believe what is just simply not true, not relevant, and not an issue.

Among those who say Obama is a Muslim, 60 percent say they learned about his religion from the media, suggesting that their opinions are fueled by misinformation.

That could possibly be the understatement of the century, and we're only ten years in. The very lethal combination of Fox News, talk radio, and a timid press with no stomach to actually speak truth without some form of "balance" is whipping up a toxic bacteria which has the potential to resist any cure.

When do we stand up and say "enough"? I loved this:

Palin could post a new amendment on Twitter: "Our God is red hot; your God ain’t doodley squat."

Yeah, just what we need. Palin cheerleading for God with her faithful sidekick Sharron Angle.

Via digby, Will Bunch paints a grim picture of just how dangerous this slippery slope is:

[T]he bottom line was that for many, reports that whites will be a minority of Americans by the year 2050 carried the shrill ring of an alarm bell. But this concern about the submersion of a dominant white culture in America spiked prematurely in 2008 with the political rise of Obama. In researching the book, I spoke with many conservative voters who talked of their "discomfort" the first time they watched Obama speak on television, who said that in particular they were alarmed at the future president's use of the specific word "transformation." These voters were egged on by political "leaders" like vice presidential candidate Palin, who didn't just voice traditional policies differences with the Democrat but accused him of "palling around with terrorists."

And this:

These rank-and-file citizens were often echoing what they heard in a 24/7 right-wing media bubble of ratings-driven irresponsibility -- outlandish neo-McCarthyite allegations that Obama had Commies and Maoists working in the West Wing, Glenn Beck's notorious claim that the president has "a deep-seated hatred of white people" and, perhaps more tellingly, of "white culture," and most recently radio's Rush Limbaugh's bizarre charge that Obama is probably the "best anti-American president the country's ever had."

If you think this isn't a war for the soul of this country, think again. It is a war of cynics and profiteers against our own best interests; indeed, against the Bill of Rights itself, and this "Muslim" nonsense is nothing more than a barrage of cannonballs intended to take out the most ignorant and fearful of us all. It is Willie Horton wrapped in a hijab stirring the same flavor hysteria and hate as it did when Nixon did it, when Reagan did it, when George W. Bush did it, and most recently, when Sarah Palin did it.

John and Dave walk through specific examples in their book. From Goldwater to Nixon to Reagan to the despicable Willie Horton ads, the strategy is identical. And successful, evidently.

Except, we really are the ones we've been waiting for. Us. The left-wing populists. This is not about Barack Obama. This is about whether or not we will rise above the cynical efforts of those who stand to profit from turning us into a nation of fear. It is about rising above it, and being vigilant, being willing to set aside differences long enough to fight back on our terms.

In the conclusion of Over the Cliff, a warning:

As long as Glenn Beck and the Tea Partiers are out there working people into a hysterical anti-government frenzy, as long as mega-corporate news organizations are able to endlessly propagandize against progressive policies, and as long as the Right effectively taps into ordinary citizens' anger at the failure of the system, progressives are going to find their ability to effectively enact their agenda limited at best.

There's much at stake here. Not only policy-wise, but soul-wise. The right wing is infected with warmongers and religious zealots whose single goal is to throw this nation into utter disarray for one purpose: to profit much.

Don't let them win. Also? This.

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