John Zogby @ Truthout - Republicans have dug a deep hole for themselves on matters related to the Middle East and Islam, reflecting the extent to which the Party has become captive of the neo-conservative "clash of civilization" crowd and their partners on the evangelical Christian right. This drift becomes clear listening to statements by Republican leaders and surveying the attitudes of the party's base.
Comments, a few weeks back, by 2012 presidential aspirants Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich in opposition to the building of a mosque in New York City are a case in point (Palin called the mosque a "stab to the heart" while Gingrich claimed that "America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization"). Other top Republican contenders are no better. Mike Huckabee, a leader of the religious right, has made disparaging comments about Muslims and is so bizarrely pro-Israel that he has stated "there's really no such thing as a Palestinian"; while Mitt Romney, once moderate Governor of Massachusetts, now darling of conservatives, has, on more than one occasion, suggested that the government wiretap mosques. Read more.