If you are not familiar with Reason's Morning Links, you haven't been reading Suki's posts much. I don't remember the last time I posted anything about them. However I do read them regularly.
After Reason's barrage of Ground Zero Mosque (stories that had little or nothing to do with libertarian issues), that seemed like months but was probably just a few days, my annoyance level has been elevated. Today's morning links diffused that a bit when I spotted one to have some fun with: New poll: One in five Americans believes Barack Obama is a secret Muslim. Unfortunately, Rush was talking about this for over an hour (he is talking about it again now) and I just got to it after hearing his take. I did hear about the poll long before Rush's show came on the air.
What would be the libertarian take on this bit of electorate confusion? I know the Libertarian issue: Barry Hussein Obama is not Bob Barr, the small L issues are many.
First, something Rush observed that dovetails with mine: It really does not matter what Obama's religion is. Unless you are a member of a religious party in the US, it really should not make any difference if he is in a Christian sect, a Muslim sect, Jewish or none of the above. It probably matters greatly to Cosmotarians, in some shallow and meaningless way, but to those of us who value freedom of choice, his personal choices matter not one bit to us.
Rush played some MSNBC audio from a Pew Research Center representative who was being interviewed about the survey. I am going to start with the Washington Post article that Radley Balko linked to. Remember his title? One in five Americans believes Barack Obama is a secret Muslim. In the first paragraph, the Post informs us that this is an increase since B. Hussein Obama entered the presidency. Now that is the makings of a headline! Obama has had more air time in a few months than any other president since television was created. No telling how many internet eyeballs he gets. He is mentioned on this blog regularly too. We report, you do what you want.
So, on the social issue, fit for Entertainment Tonight or the 700 Club (is that still on?) more and more people believe Obama is a Muslim. Soon after the Post informs us that this is a trend, they mention that it could be a political problem! "Rising trend in Obama's Supporters Percieving Him as a Muslim could be a Reelection Problem" might sound a little better and more accurate, but the Post article does not mention Democrats and runs off into 'mean media' conspiracy theory for an answer. For some reason, they mention only Republicans and Independants:
More than a third of conservative Republicans now say Obama is a Muslim, nearly double the percentage saying so early last year. Independents, too, are now more apt to see the president as a Muslim: Among independents, 18 percent say he is a Muslim, up eight percentage points.Note the interesting phrasing. For Republicans, the percentage doubled in a year. For Independents it went up eight percentage points to 18%. Pretty much double there too. What of the Democrats?
First, I had to dig up the Pew results, since neither the Post nor Reason bothered to link there. From their headline and first paragraph, it is a bit of a stretch to say "one in five" since they cite 12%:
A July Pew Research survey found 12% of Americans continue to say Barack Obama is Muslim, virtually unchanged from 10% in March. This misperception is not limited to voters who oppose Obama. Identical percentages of Republicans and Democrats (12% each) think he is Muslim, and 37% of those who think he's Muslim intend to vote him. A quarter doesn't know, but significantly those who have heard different things back McCain (48% to 33%) while those who just don't know back Obama (48% to 33%).Ah, Democrat perceptions are identical to Republican and rising at the same rate. I like my headline better :)
What could possibly explain all this? Rush pointed out, he does not attend services like other presidents have. I will add that Bill Clinton only went Church crazy when he was well on his way to his impeachment hearings. Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Bush did not need any prompting to attend and made no secret about attending. Maybe something in Obama's actions is giving people these impressions?
George Stephanopoulos tried to help him out, but a copy of the interview floating around does not help:
Looks like about 1:20 into this clip.
How about other factors? Like running to the rescue of the "Allahu akbar" shouting MAJ Hasan, to the point that command influence may be a major defense strategy. Maybe it is how he jumped into the Cordoba/Project 51 Mosque/recreation center issue? Maybe it was when he gave NASA a new mission, to stop exploring space and help Muslims with math and science? How about all that bowing? Skipping the National Day of Prayer? Phoning in his address to the Boy Scouts? Sending the Ground Zero imam on a vacation at tax-payer expense? The only thing the Post can blame on talk radio is the tendancy for them not to ignore these things like the Post and MSNBC tend to do.
*I have heard similar from others already today.
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