In news that should surprise absolutely no one who’s been studying American politics as it’s played out over the past half-century, the Republican Party has effectively told American Muslims — who they had been openly courting not so long ago — that they can join African Americans and Americans of Latino descent in the ever-growing universe of people the GOP thinks are useless eaters. Per the Politico:

The harsh Republican response to President Barack Obama’s defense of a mosque near ground zero marks a dramatic shift in the party’s posture toward Islam — from a once active courtship of Muslim voters to a very public tolerance after Sept. 11 to an openly aired sense of mistrust.

The dictates of the corporate-bigot alliance known as the "Southern Strategy" have put severe limits on the size of the GOP’s tent. The GOP has turned on the Muslims for the same reason they dumped their efforts to court socially-conservative Hispanic voters: Because they can’t do that and keep their base of white bigots, particularly white male bigots, whose bigotries they have diligently nurtured as a means to get them to back cuts in taxes for the rich and thus social spending (which is depicted as benefiting nonwhites more than whites, as Republican strategist Lee Atwater pointed out nearly thirty years ago).

This is what nearly half a century of intensive application of the Southern Strategy gets you: the inability to talk sanely, much less humanely or morally, about anyone who isn’t white, male, or Christian. To be fair, there’s also an element of "maybe we can peel of the Orthodox and Conservative Jerusalem Post-reading Jews from the Democrats" as well. But really, the roots of this are grounded in the fact that their half-century embrace of the Southern Strategy means that they cannot be an inclusive party, ever, or the corporate-bigot alliance falls apart. And so the Republicans, in order to keep their base in favor of tax cuts for the rich, must keep hewing away from understanding and sanity and continue to be dragged down by the lodestone of insane, and increasingly violent, nutjobs such as the "sovereign" movement.

Or, for the shorter version, the opening words of Hosea 8:7: "For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind."

[Photo: Storm! by LiebeDich. via Flickr]