So there was ritual significance to freshly circulated reports that, as Talking Points Memo put it, “Republicans Think Obama Is A Greater Threat Than Putin, Assad.”

Of course, the poll didn’t actually phrase it that way, instead asking respondents rate the danger of a range of potential threats. But the reason we’re discussing the poll at all is that 34 percent of Republicans said President Obama was an imminent threat to the United States. Never mind that 32 percent of British respondents said in 2002 that George W. Bush was a bigger threat to world peace than Saddam Hussein. Never mind that, as The New Yorker gamely observed, 22 percent of Democrats polled by Reuters — and 10 percent of Republicans — said the GOP itself posed an imminent threat to America. That 34 percent number rammed home every stereotype we have about wing-nut Tea Party types.

For many people, the GOP has already been lost to these unhinged goons. Unless they’re aggressively laughed into oblivion, America could be next.

Throw a stone on the internet and you’ll find portentous references to Obama in the context of our military’s oath to fight “all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Last fall, a county official in Missouri even made news demanding a coup d’etat on Facebook. “I cannot and do not understand why no action is being taken against our domestic enemy,” she wrote, calling Obama “supposedly the commander in chief.”