So what is a Caliphate now that we know who wants them? From Caliphate.eu, this is the definition; "The Caliphate is a unique political system from the ideology of Islam that bears no resemblance to any of the Muslim Governments today. It is a government built upon a concept of citizenship regardless of ethnicity, gender or creed and is totally opposed to the oppression of any religious or ethnic grouping.
Non-Muslims have an honorable status in the Caliphate. They are referred to as dhimmi (people of contract), which means they are equal citizens with the Muslims and enjoy the full rights of citizenship. Unlike in Britain they are not given derogatory names like "ethnic minorities" or "immigrants", that implies they are 2nd class citizens and not really welcome. The rights of non-Muslims are enshrined in statutory Islamic Law (shariah) and cannot be reversed by legal precedent or the whims of any government. The Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: "Whoever harms a dhimmi has harmed me." Of course this is a 'Pro-Caliphate site.
Basically from the middle ground perspective (mine if you permit me to use the term middle-ground), a Caliphate can be a benign thing, or a threatening thing. I know that the Republican's have chosen to make it seem akin to the old "Domino" theory that they hawked from 1944 to 1983. It worked well for them then. Maybe that's why they have so much in common with Henry Kissinger and use his "expertise" is their game plan of late.
You can also look at it from a historical perspective. The Muslims have been a fractured religion, much like Christianity is today. The Christians at one time had the Papacy which held the Catholic States of Europe in it's sway until the rise of Martin Luther. Of course the Byzantine Empire had the Greek Orthodox Church. The Muslims have come close to a unified Muslim society, but have never achieved one. They are unlikely to do so in this day and age, with so many secular movements and access to the internet that so many in Muslim lands have. In fact, the days of theocracies are numbered just because of the globalization that is happening in the world today. I am coming to the opinion that this Muslim surge of theocratic violence is not so much as a resurgence of religion, but rather a death throe of another religion that is ceasing to be the mystical holder of "spiritual" knowledge. This is a result of a more educated and empirical way of looking at the world that is being embraced by many people from many nations that can have most of their questions answered by just firing up a computer and logging on to the net. I would hate to see the world go up in flames as major religions near the end of their sway over humanity, especially a war over religious differences.
The Republicans are using this "Caliphate" supposition to back up their new ads that they have launched. I saw one today. They are using quotes from Bin Laden and others to show how much of a threat that they are to America. They are well put together, and with the new terminology will be sure to scare people into voting for the Republicans. People can be coaxed into fearing things that they don't know about very easily, and Karl Rove knows this. All-in-All a Caliphate is just a word. It would be very unlikely that one will emerge in our lifetime in the Middle East. The Republicans will use this word to scare American's and it probably will work. The Democrats should start educating the voters as fast as they can, before the Republicans have a giant conspiracy theory to sell the public again.