After a major Bill O'Reilly interview, such as yesterday's with Barack Obama, Fox News usually spends a considerable amount of time analyzing how Bill did, what an expert thought of Bill's body language, how about Bill for keeping his cool or getting under the guy's skin, what was Bill's best question, that kind of thing.
This evening the excitement washed over into Sean Hannity's hour, when producers assembled a focus group in Des Moines for a blow-by-blow analysis of Bill's triumph that was barreling right along until it developed that nearly half said they thought the president was a Muslim. This was startling enough that even Hannity felt he had to admit that Obama's a Christian, albeit the radical, Jeremiah Wright kind.
Is the Des Moines effect a manifestation of Sam Tanenhaus's vitally important insight -- evangelical Christians saying that the mainline variety (such as Obama, baptized in the United Church of Christ) aren't really Christians at all and therefore as good as Muslims? Or are they just conspiracy hounds? Either way, their candid admission makes me wonder how much voter delusion Republican candidates will have to indulge or embrace during the 2012 primaries, and after doing so, how they can possibly get elected.