Nearly 4 out of 10 Republicans Think Obama Is Acting Like Hitler

by Kevin Jon Heller

I’m not much of an Obama fan — though I think the health care bill is a step in the right direction — but at least I’m not certifiably insane.  From a recent non-partisan Harris poll:

67 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Americans overall) believe that Obama is a socialist.

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.”

24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama “may be the Antichrist.”

What is wrong with these people?

13 Responses

  1. Welcome to sweet home Alabama.

  2. I suppose we need explanations from both cognitive psychology and social psychology (on the latter, think of Fromm’s pioneering studes of ‘authoritarian character’) to account for such egregious violations of the norms of basic reasoning and simple canons of rationality. In addition, we seem to have failures in socialization/acculturation or systems of formal and informal education. In addition, we need to look at the role of the mass media, including the use of the internet in a way (as Sunstein argues) that reinforces existing beliefs and on occasion pushes those beliefs in an extremist direction. 

    It’s all rather frightening and reminds one of how and why fascist ideologies come to rule peoples’ minds. The consequences of social consensus, conformity and “false consciousness” amount, once again, to a “pathology of normalcy” in Fromm’s locution (we might equally invoke Plato’s Cave allegory here). Collective delusions and widespread (willful?) estrangement from the truth suggest an epidemic of mental illness, one that, to date, has escaped the diagnostic assumptions and methods of most clinicians.

  3. Google for “percent of Americans who believe that”. Be prepared to be scared s**tless, and don’t get self righteous about parties. For example, from Third of Americans Suspect 9-11 Government Conspiracy:

    The level of suspicion of U.S. official involvement in a 9/11 conspiracy was only slightly behind the 40 percent who suspect “officials in the federal government were directly responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy” and the 38 percent who believe “the federal government is withholding proof of the existence of intelligent life from other planets.”

    The poll found that a majority of young adults give at least some credence to a 9/11 conspiracy compared to less than a fourth of people 65 or older. Members of racial and ethnic minorities, people with only a high school education and Democrats were especially likely to suspect federal involvement in 9/11.

    “No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby” H L Menken

  4. What I would like to know is what percentage of those Republicans can correctly define socialism and muslim…



  5. In unrelated news, 40% of democrats thought George W Bush was acting like Hitler from 2000-2008.

    Move along, nothing to see here.

    Both accusations of either president acting like Adolf Hitler are appalling.  The polarization of our nation gets fiercer by the minute.

  6. It’s to do with being right-wing and reality-challenged.

  7. Professor Heller:

    You just posted this gem:

    “Liberals have many flaws, but that sort of hypocrisy is the province of conservatives.”

    But now you are going to lament the breakdown of discourse in American politics.  Really?

  8. KJH,

    If only you were less of a miserable hack you might have realized that the Harris poll was pathetic. 

    Gary Langer, the director of polling at ABC, explains the myriad reasons why the Harris poll is complete junk.

    What’s wrong with people is that you attribute such malevolence to your political opponents that you unquestionably accepted such a ridiculous poll.

    You really should remove this post before you lose all credibility.

  9. this is why counsel aren’t allowed to ask leading questions at trial: you get skewed answers. if the comparison with hitler had not been planted in the heads of the respondents, hitler would not have come to the minds of 38% of republicans. that’s not to say that the respondents aren’t nutty, but these polls are ridiculous, and hardly worthy of comment.

  10. It is always pleasing to be able to believe that those who hold views opposite to our own are morally and intellectually deficient.

  11. Obama annexed Sudentenland?

  12. Yes, there really is moral equivalence between describing conservatives as hypocrites and claiming that the President is a communist and socialist and like Hitler and hates America and is a Muslim and and and….

    As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am not particularly fond of Democrats, either.  Nor are Democrats complete strangers to hypocrisy, as my post earlier makes clear.  But it remains true that conservatives have elevated hypocrisy to a fine art.

  13. As for David’s comment, it’s good to know that right-wingers are so impressionable that they can’t respond to a question like “do you think Obama acts like Hitler” by saying no.

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