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Shock poll: Why do so many Republicans think Obama is a socialist, a Muslim, or even the anti-Christ?

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Catastrophic predictions also occur on the left, of course. When progressive Theodore Roosevelt ran for president in 1912, he rallied his followers by bellowing, “We stand at Armageddon, and we battle for the Lord!” More recently, Naomi Wolf penned “The End of America,” arguing that America under the Bush administration was well on its way to dissolving into a fascist dictatorship.

But it is in today’s GOP that the election cycle and the end times have become one and the same, that extreme rhetoric has infected the party stem to stern.

Lawmakers have led this charge, making them more troubling than the protesters who (flung racist and homophobic words at Democratic legislators as they marched to vote Sunday. These elected officials in good standing with the Republican Party can’t be explained away as a few bad apples. From Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” in the middle of President Obama’s first State of the Union to Rep. Randy Neugebauer’s “Baby killer!” chucked at Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak during Mr. Stupak’s speech supporting healthcare reform, Republican officeholders are behaving badly and encouraging their supporters to do the same.

At least 10 House Democrats have reported death threats or security concerns at their offices in recent days.

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