If you close your eyes and listen to Sharron Angle, you might think she is deliberately channeling Sarah Palin. The Tea Party has pinned its hopes on Angle to defeat Harry Reid in the Nevada Senate race and thus far like Palin, when it comes to public misstatements, Angle is a serial offender. Consider the following quote from: “This Tea Party Candidate is No Jefferson”: ” The strange inconsistency of the Tea Partiers reached new depths recently when Nevada’s Sharron Angle, running against Harry Reid for the US Senate, sat for an interview with Fox News on Monday. She told her interviewer, when asked about her relationship with the press, “We needed the press to be our friend. We wanted them to ask the questions we want to answer, so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported…. The Tea Partiers love to claim that they represent the “Real America.” Yet, here is their favorite candidate in the Nevada Senate race advocating for some sort of docile, captive press. What would a “real American” like Thomas Jefferson think?” Well suffice it to say that Jefferson or any other true Jeffersonian would find Angle’s remarks anything but in keeping with our deeply held democratic values of a free press. So much for the “true patriotism” of the Tea Party in Nevada. The real question for the Tea Party and Angle is, what is the actual effect of such statements on the rank and file Nevada voter?
Angle’s views on the press are just the latest in a continuing series of public pratfalls. So much so that even Fox News’ Carl Cameron had to point out the following: “What precisely she’s advocated; phasing out Social Security and Medicare, withdrawing from the United Nations, abolishing the EPA and much of the tax code and banning all abortions. But it’s not just the positions that Angle has taken, it’s how she’s defended them. She suggested that entitlement programs “spoiled our citizenry”, that it may be part of God’s plan that rape victims get pregnant and to some she even seems to sanction armed insurrection, a “Second Amendment remedy” is what she called it, if Harry Reid isn’t beaten at the ballot box.” So, according to Angle, if Harry Reid is legally reelected, it’s legitimate for the citizens of Nevada to holster up and do something about it. That’s a strangely undemocratic and thus unpatriotic line of reasoning in my political playbook.
What does this all mean for one of the Tea Party’s rising stars? Well if poll results are any guide the bottom line is bad news for Angle, the Tea Party and the Nevada G.O.P. The latest findings from the conservative Rasmussen Reports show Reid has now jumped ahead of Angle for the first time. The poll showed 45 percent of likely voters favored Reid, while 43 percent supported Angle. Earlier polls had Angle ahead of Reid 46 percent to 43 percent. Once considered a sure loser, Reid has seen his poll numbers climb and he now has a new lease on political life, thanks to Sharron Angle’s continuing gaffes. Likewise his own attack ads painting her as too extreme are starting to pay off with the voters because his claims have started to make sense. The public perception of Angle as to extreme has now cost her support even among women and Republican voters. Polling conducted for the Las Vegas Review Journal by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc., primarily conducted to measure the effects of Angle’s opposition to extending unemployment benefits showed: “Angle is also known for her other radical views, like her interest in phasing out Social Security and Medicare, to doing away with federal agencies such as the Education Department to cut spending and developing Yucca Mountain into a nuclear reprocessing facility…These same radical views are also cited as the cause for Angle’s declining support among Republicans and women voters. The poll showed that her Republican support has dropped from 81% to 70%, and her support among women dropped from 38% to 33%.”
I would predict that as we get closer to November 2010 and people begin to pay more attention to the upcoming election, the candidates that espouse the more radical platforms will see their political fortunes fade with each passing day. On the eve of election day, their radically wild statements will come home to haunt them and when voters go into the voting booth they will ask themselves: “Do I really want to elect someone who wants to phase out Social Security or Medicare?
Steven J. Gulitti