52% Of Republicans Think Obama Favors The Goals Of Islamic Fundamentalism

Another depressing result from a new Newsweek poll:

I’m not even sure there is a rational explanation for the fact that 31% of Americans believe something like this, and the fact that a majority of Republicans thinks that it’s probably true that the President of the United States shares the same goals as Osama bin Laden and Mahmoud Ahmadenijad.

Is rational debate even possible at that point ? I’m not sure.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Islam, Politicians, Quick Takes, Religion, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. PD Shaw says:

    “Sympathizes” doesn’t seem to be a good word for the poll to use here.  It conjures up the impression of an emotional understanding.  Is it possible for Obama to be sympathetic to the various positions taken on the Ground Zero mosque, while ultimately not agreeing with them?  I sympathize, but disagree is something I hear a lot.

  2. legion says:

    I think the only rational explanation is that a majority of self-identified Republicans are gullible tools.

  3. @PD:  why would being sympathetic to the GZM (sic) equate to sympathizing with the goals of Islamic Fundamentalism?

  4. Steve Plunk says:

    Seriously, the word sympathize is not the same as favors.  PD expands on it well.
     
    Who’s being irrational?

  5. PD Shaw says:

    I didn’t equate anything.  I’m pointing out that one can be sympathetic without supporting something.  It would have been clearer if the poll asked whether Obama supported the goals of fundamentalist Islam.

  6. Brummagem Joe says:

    Steve Plunk says:

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 14:47

    “Seriously, the word sympathize is not the same as favors.”

    Are you kidding? And yesterday these same guys were claiming Republicans don’t abuse the English language. Just to improve your language skills:

        sym·pa·thy

     (smp-th)
    n. pl. sym·pa·thies
    1.
    a. A relationship or an affinity between people or things in which whatever affects one correspondingly affects the other.
    b. Mutual understanding or affection arising from this relationship or affinity.

    2.
    a. The act or power of sharing the feelings of another.
    b. A feeling or an expression of pity or sorrow for the distress of another; compassion or commiseration. Often used in the plural. See Synonyms at pity.

    3. Harmonious agreement; accord: He is in sympathy with their beliefs.
    4. A feeling of loyalty; allegiance. Often used in the plural: His sympathies lie with his family.

  7. Michael says:

    “Sympathizes” doesn’t seem to be a good word for the poll to use here.  It conjures up the impression of an emotional understanding…”

    Then perhaps 1/3 of Republican respondents fail reading comprehension.  In order for one to “sympathize with the goals” of Islamic fundamentalists, they must have a common feeling about those goals.
    Sympathy isn’t just a shared understanding, it’s a shared feeling or opinion.

  8. reid says:

    Sounds like PD is confusing sympathize with empathize.  I don’t think the question is a big problem, unlike many poll questions.  Surely the vast majority of people associate positive, common feelings when they hear the word sympathize.

  9. Mithras says:

    Was rational debate ever possible?

  10. Herb says:

    “Is rational debate even possible at that point ? I’m not sure.”
    Yeah….good thing the Republicans are gonna win Congress, eh?

  11. PD Shaw says:

    reid, I’m not sure the question is whether I am confusing empathy with sympathy, the question is whether the people answering the polls make much distinction btw/ those words and “support.”  “Sympathy” can certainly mean support, but it also connotes pity and a more distanced emotional response than “empathy.”  There doesn’t seem to be a good reason not to use the word “support” here, unless the poll-takers thought that word was too strong.

    I would also like someone to explain the one-in-five Democrats that believe Obama may favor the goals of Islamic fundamentalist, or are not sure.  If the answer is that one in five poll respondents have no business responding to a poll, then we’re just arguing specifics and agree on the generality.

  12. sam says:

    @PDe
    “It would have been clearer if the poll asked whether Obama supported the goals of fundamentalist Islam.”
    Do you really think the outcome of the poll would have been significantly different with the word change? I don’t.

  13. swift boater says:

    If Obama cuts and runs from Iraq and lets the Islamic fundamentalists take it over after the inordinate amount of blood and treasure we spent there, read the results not what he says.
    If Israel is attacked because its Islamist enemies think that Obama’s America wont help defend or resupply it (like Nixon did in 1973) again, read the results and not what he says (even tho he has said many harsh things about Israel so in this case maybe it is what he says too).
    I know I am just a tool, just like those tools in 1975 said denying the S Viet Namese arms to defend themselves was condeming them to Communist slavery.
    I don’t think Obama is in sympathy or harmony with Islamic fundamentalists, but he certainly is in sympathy with Islamists goals and end outcomes.
    Don’t believe me, read his speeches on the subject: start with his Cairo speech as only a small sample:
    “They (Palestinians) endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation.”
    That is an Islamic goal, to tar Israel as an occupier and delegitimize it.  If this were true, that national borders have not changed over the years, esp due to military defeat after a war, Poland owes Germany, N Korea owes S Korea, India owes China, etc.
    But the only one dispute that stays on the radar is the one that Islam says is ‘unjust’.  All the Islamic peoples want is Israel to go away, the more ‘moderate’ of course want it to go away in increments (right of return) while the fundamentalists want it to go away in a loud KABOOM!  Matter of degree.
    And that is the point of my long response.  When popular lighters are sold in the Arabic world depicting a WTC in flames when they are lit it tells me that at heart Islamic fundamentalism’s goals are perhaps, just perhaps, the goal of most Islamic people.  It’s just a matter as to the methods, not the outcomes.
    Why are they so intolerant?  Why can’t they respect us???  And why doesn’t BHO call them out more forcefully instead of apologizing for the USA and Western civilization?  As he said in his speech in Cairo:
    “..and one (relationship) based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles..”
    Yea, hard to see where those yokel yankees can get the idea that Obama sympathizes with Islamic fundamentalists (which I do not believe).

  14. Brummagem Joe says:

    swift boater says:

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 16:13

    “If Obama cuts and runs from Iraq and lets the Islamic fundamentalists take it over after the inordinate amount of blood and treasure we spent there,”

    You propose we stay there forever to keep the sides from descending into civil war 

  15. Brummagem Joe says:

    PD Shaw says:

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 15:49

    I gave you a dictionary definition which most people would understand. Why don’t read it rather than entertaining us with your casuistic skills.

  16. reid says:

    casuistic skills.
     

    Speaking of dictionaries, gulp….  Got me on that one.

  17. john personna says:

    Also the phrase “Islamic law around the world” isn’t exactly the same as “Islamic law everywhere.”
     
    It kind of gets back to the fundamental question of self-determination.  I feel that every people should chart their own future, and shape their own government.  Does that mean I am sympathetic to people who create Islamic (or Buddhist) nations?
     
    As an aside, I actually feel every people have the responsibility to chart their own future, and shape their own government.  Hence, I am not so much the global policeman.
     

  18. Brummagem Joe says:

     (kzh–str)
     
    n. pl. ca·su·ist·ries
    1. Specious or excessively subtle reasoning intended to rationalize or mislead.

  19. Michael says:

    If Obama cuts and runs from Iraq and lets the Islamic fundamentalists take it over after the inordinate amount of blood and treasure we spent there, read the results not what he says.

    So allowing the democratically elected government which we both proposed and endorsed take control in Iraq is “cutting and running” as well as “letting the fundamentalists take it over”?  We’re getting everything that a rational person could want to get out of Iraq, the only people unhappy are the ones that think “mission accomplished” means clearing Iraq of Muslims of any stripe.

    I don’t think Obama is in sympathy or harmony with Islamic fundamentalists, but he certainly is in sympathy with Islamists goals and end outcomes.

    Now I’m curious, do you think Islamist goals are a free and democratic Iraq?  Do you think their goals are a free and democratic Afghanistan?  Do you think their goals are a free and democratic Palestine?  Do you think Obama’s goal is the destruction of Israel?  What exactly goals do these two have in common?

    When popular lighters are sold in the Arabic world depicting a WTC in flames when they are lit it tells me that at heart Islamic fundamentalism’s goals are perhaps, just perhaps, the goal of most Islamic people.

    And therein lies your biggest mistake.  There is plenty of anti-Islam and anti-Arab merchandise for sale in the United States, but the majority of us are peaceful, tolerant people.  Confederate flags are hugely popular in the south, but the majority of us are against slavery and pledge our allegiance to the United States of America.
    You seem to be of the belief that Islam is a monolithic, unified community that shares the same goals and opinions.  Furthermore, you seem to be of the belief that said unified Islam is incompatible with the United States of America.  When you start out from such a wildly wrong premise, how is any reasonable person supposed to have a conversation with you?

  20. PD Shaw says:

    sam, I sincerely do.  You know what they say, “lawyers, priests and politicians all have words to thank for their positions.”  The word “sympathize” was probably chosen to soften and broaden on the idea of support.  How much the difference is we probably will never know.

  21. Franklin says:

    I’ll be honest, if you had me define the word ‘sympathize’ before seeing the actual definition today, I would have probably said something about understanding but not necessarily agreeing.
    So considering that more than one of us thought so, you can bet at least a few poll respondents did as well.

  22. Tano says:

    If forced to come up with an explanation for this phenomenon other than the obvious, that Republicans as a group are out of their fricken minds, it could only be that Republicans, as a group, are so bitter and hateful that they don;t even actually listen to the questions that they are asked. They mentally skim the question simply to ascertain which response would represent an insult to the president, and they go with that. It really doesn’t matter what the actual question is.
     
    I don’t know, but maybe that could somehow be distinguished from them simply being out of their fricken minds….

  23. […] crazies in the GOP to keep the narrative going. After all, a very large chunk of the GOP really is crazy. The Southernized GOP of today helps to concentrate and ferment this sort of paranoid right-wing […]

  24. Steve Plunk says:

    Tano,  PD points out that a good number of Dems and Independents seem the President as sympathetic.  Are they bitter?  Out of their frickin’ minds?  Hateful?  Clearly the poll question evoked a response more along the lines of understands rather than supports or favors.
     
    I can tell you this president is less likely to understand, support, or favor the goals of the average American than any president before.  I wished they would have asked that question.  That’s my beef, not so much he understands the plight of Muslims worldwide but that he doesn’t understand the plight of Americans he is charged to lead.

  25. wr says:

    Plunk — Which goals of the average American did W support? To transfer the nation’s wealth to the top one percent? To invade a country that never threatened us? To torture? Are these all goals you share?

  26. Michael says:

    Tano,  PD points out that a good number of Dems and Independents seem the President as sympathetic.

    I’m willing to concede that 15%-20% of respondents across the board didn’t fully understand the question or the meaning of “sympathetic”, but I don’t see any reason to believe that Republicans would be more inclined to misunderstand it than Democrats or independents.

    Personally, I think Tano’s explanation is probably the most likely, that some significant number of Republicans will agree with any given negative opinion on Obama more than it’s opposite, regardless of the merits of the opinion.