EDITOR'S NOTE: The story below includes references to polling conducted by the firm Research 2000. The reliability and accuracy of Research 2000's polling has since been called into serious question by a report published in June 2010 by a group of statistical analysts.
A new poll of more than 2,000 self-identified Republican voters illustrates the incredible paranoia enveloping the party and the intense pressure drawing lawmakers further and further away from political moderation.
The numbers speak for themselves -- a large portion of GOP voters think that President Obama is racist, socialist or a non-US citizen -- though, when considering them, it is important to note that a disproportionate percentage of respondents are from GOP strongholds in the South (42 percent) as opposed to the Northeast (11 percent). Also note that this is a poll of self-identified Republicans, which means that independent Tea Party types are not included.
- 39 percent of Republicans believe Obama should be impeached, 29 percent are not sure, 32 percent said he should not be voted out of office.
- 36 percent of Republicans believe Obama was not born in the United States, 22 percent are not sure, 42 percent think he is a natural citizen.
- 31 percent of Republicans believe Obama is a "Racist who hates White people" -- the description once adopted by Fox News's Glenn Beck. 33 percent were not sure, and 36 percent said he was not a racist.
- 63 percent of Republicans think Obama is a socialist, 16 percent are not sure, 21 percent say he is not
- 24 percent of Republicans believe Obama wants "the terrorists to win," 33 percent aren't sure, 43 percent said he did not want the terrorist to win.
- 21 percent of Republicans believe ACORN stole the 2008 election, 55 percent are not sure, 24 percent said the community organizing group did not steal the election.
- 23 percent of Republicans believe that their state should secede from the United States, 19 percent aren't sure, 58 percent said no.
- 53 percent of Republicans said they believe Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Obama.
During his appearance at the House Republican retreat last Friday, Obama explained that it was hard to forge bipartisan consensus when lawmakers were trashing his health care bill as a "Bolshevik plot". These poll numbers show that the gulf preventing bipartisan consensus extends well beyond health care. How does a Republican lawmaker explain to his or her die-hard base that it is important to work on legislation with a racist, socialist president who is illegally holding office only because of the help of ACORN?
"This is why it's becoming impossible for elected Republicans to work with Democrats to improve our country," said Markos Moulitsas, founder and publisher of Daily Kos. "They are a party beholden to conspiracy theorists who don't even believe Obama was born in the United States, and already want to impeach him despite a glaring lack of scandal or wrongdoing. They think Obama is racist against white people and the second coming of Lenin. And if any of them stray and decide to do the right thing and try to work in a bipartisan fashion, they suffer primaries and attacks. Given what their base demands -- and this poll illustrates them perfectly -- it's no wonder the GOP is the party of no."