Birthers, deathers, now, apparently, there are Antichristers on the Obama warpath.


The Daily Beast's John Avlon writes, "On the heels of health care, a new Harris poll reveals Republican attitudes about Obama: Two-thirds think he's a socialist, 57 percent a Muslim—and 24 percent say 'he may be the Antichrist.'"

Avlon, author of the book Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America, offers the poll as proof that "Obama Derangement Syndrome—pathological hatred of the president posing as patriotism—has infected the Republican Party."

57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was "not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president" 38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is "doing many of the things that Hitler did" Scariest of all, 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama "may be the Antichrist." These numbers all come from a brand-new Louis Harris poll, inspired in part by my new book Wingnuts. It demonstrates the cost of the campaign of fear and hate that has been pumped up in the service of hyper-partisanship over the past 15 months. We are playing with dynamite by demonizing our president and dividing the United States in the process. What might be good for ratings is bad for the country.

The poll, which surveyed 2,230 people right at the height of the health-care reform debate, also clearly shows that education is a barrier to extremism. Respondents without a college education are vastly more likely to believe such claims, while Americans with college degrees or better are less easily duped. It's a reminder of what the 19th-century educator Horace Mann once too-loftily said: "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge."

Alibi.com blogger Erin McCullough writes, "Are you a Republican who is mostly non-crazy? (Leaving the belief that most taxes are bad aside.) Then, hey: Um, tell your fellow party members to stop being so batshit."

The blogger adds,

It's hard for Democrats to want to make concessions with sane Republicans (Olympia Snowe, and, hold on ... I'll get back to you) when dingholes like Texas Rep. Neugebauer (the latest in what's becoming a trend of grown men who yell inappropriate things at work, which I can tell you from experience is not a luxury most of us have. His shout; "baby killer") stinking up the wings.

Anyway. Craziness. There were plenty of people spouting crazy theories about Bush Jr. during his presidency, but most of those people were sitting outside of Winnings coffee, not in Congress. Sigh.

The poll seems to reveal that many Republicans share beliefs with the radical Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas. The church run by Fred Phelps has been roundly criticized for picketing funerals of troops killed in the war on terror.

AOL News recently noted,

Members of the church, most of them relatives of founder Fred Phelps, have shown up at dozens of military memorial services in recent years, bearing signs with slogans like "God Hates the USA" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."

The tiny sect holds that soldiers' deaths are God's way of punishing America for its tolerance of homosexuals. The church's Web site also refers to President Barack Obama as the "Antichrist Bloody Beast" and calls Israel a "savage hypocritical nation of filthy sinners."