Rachel Maddow links to a letter from a Georgian Republican that provides a window into the southern Republican mindset:
"... Progressive Democrats have evolved who believe the sooner we become all of one color, throw out the morals and the Constitution and ask the government to provide us with everything, ...But first they have a real big challenge: how to destroy peoples' common sense. Thus, the Georgia Republican Party, people with common sense, know that when more horses are riding in the wagon than pulling the wagon, the wagon stops moving. ...The last thing that we as Americans want to see happen is the ethnic cleansing and religious civil war that is going on around the world. Don't laugh, I say, just look at what people are doing with arming themselves today. Our government continues to hand out money. What will those recipients do when it stops? Only the meat eaters will survive. ...When the zombies get hungry, they will leave the projects and look for whatever they can find to eat. They will not know how to provide for themselves and will destroy what they cannot consume."
In the comments section we are assured by southern commenters that this is pretty much the mindset of the vast majority of the rural south. From my experience it is also typical of tea partiers.
I won't try to critique the letter, if you don't spot the glaring errors in reasoning, then try harder. The point is, this bizarre thinking used to be marginalized by thoughtful political leaders and the press in the past. Fox News, the Internet, and now right-wing pandering politicians have now united people who think like this into a political force, which has morphed into the Tea Party, which now dominates the Republican Party.
Until recently this worried me because it looked like emotion, shallow thinking, fear, and clever propaganda was going to overwhelm centuries of progress and a tradition in this country of making decisions based on facts, not emotion and silly strawmen ('horses riding in the wagon'), but now I'm beginning to realize that it is good that this looniness is getting exposed and rejected publicly as complete nonsense.
The base of the Republican Party (controlled and manipulated by rich, self-centered capitalists) gained power by intentionally appealing to the religious right, the insecure and frightened (e.g., gun nuts), bigots, and the self-centered greedy (i.e., Ayn Rand devotees). These are groups who generally follow leadership that appeal to emotion. They are not deep thinkers, or at least are not prone to questioning the logic of their leaders. They really don't understand how crazy they appear to the average voter, probably because all the people they know think the same way as them, so they assume they represent the vast majority of Americans,
In the next few years these people will find just how unpopular the Tea Party/Republican Party vision for America is and they will have to re-examine their biases or cling to them knowing they have no chance of ever imposing them on the rest of us. I fully expect some will slowly catch on, as I did when I was exposed to the real world when I left Indiana. Those who catch on will influence others and we'll eventually see a moderation in the politics in the south and rural America.