The Growth of Extremism

Andrew Sullivan quickly summarizes new data from Public Policy Polling:

More Republicans believe that the president is illegitimate and born in Kenya than those who acknowledge reality. A quarter of Dems believe Bush allowed 9/11 to happen. But at least a big majority – 63 percent – are not insane.

I guess it is a good thing that at least a big majority of Democrats are not insane but this number is still too high for comfort. Finding that a majority of Republicans are insane is also unfortunate but no surprise. Checking the actual data:

Among Republicans there are more voters- 42%- who think he was born somewhere else than there are- 37%- who will say for sure that he was born here.

Upon first reading Sullivan’s post I thought there might be a way to rationalize the Democratic findings. I do not believe that if George Bush had paid attention to the daily intelligence brief which warned of the attack, or if he had any idea as to what to do about it, he would have allowed the attack to happen. I believe that the success of the attack could partially be attributed to Bush’s incompetence, but not to any actual intentions of Bush. Therefore I could see how wording such as “Bush allowed 9/11 to happen” could lead some to say this is true depending upon how they interpreted this. However, reading the actual wording excludes any such interpretation:

Do you think President Bush intentionally allowed the 9/11 attacks to take place because he wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East?

This does limit the yes answers to the insane, just like those who denied that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, along with the smaller  numbers who consider Obama or Bush to be the Ant-Christ. (Actually I wonder how many people just answered yes to the Ant-Christ questions to screw with the pollster. I might have been tempted to do so).

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Remember, there is a sub-culture of historians who believe that FDR deliberately allowed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to happen.
    Winston Churchill’s government did deliberately fail to defend Coventry from a massive terror bombing attack by the Luftwaffe to conceal the fact that they could read some of the German codes.
    I don’t believe the Bush government deliberately allowed the 9/11 attacks. I think that’s pretty unlikely. However, I do understand why someone could believe it. Massive lies were told before, during, and after the Iraq invasion and those lies cost many more lives (mostly Iraqi, admittedly) than the 9/11 attacks. In the context of the whole of Bush’s presidency, when compared next to the outing of an undercover CIA agent and the ‘rendition’ of ‘terror suspects’ to Syria to be legally tortured by a government with now laws against it, the idea that he deliberately allowed the 9/11 attacks to happen becomes slowly less ‘insane.’
    I don’t believe it, I believe it was a matter of arrogance. Similar arrogance was displayed in the way the White House handled ACE reports about the New Orleans flood control system.
    Insane, though? If you look at the 8 Bush years in their totality then the whole picture is insane enough that one can understand why someone does not think such a possibility any more insane than what actually happened.

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