Sharron's new angle
Harry Reid's tea-party opponent trims a few sails, but otherwise sticks to her guns
Sharron's new angle
Finally, she speaks!
Ever since tea-party favorite Sharron Angle won the right to challenge Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid in Nevada's November election, the surprise Republican nominee has been fleeing the press corps - understandably so, given the fact that she doesn't swim in the American mainstream and doesn't relish the prospect of explaining why. But it's impossible in big-time politics to play Greta Garbo forever, which is why she finally relented last night and appeared on a Nevada TV forum.
Her goal was twofold. She sought to defend some of her extreme positions (thereby reassuring conservatives about her bona fides), while nevertheless trying to reassure centrist voters that she was not a nutcase. Regarding the latter task, she dutifully informed her press inquisitor, Jon Ralston, that she may have been a tad over the top when she suggested, in three separate incidents, that angry conservatives might arm themselves for violence if they were thwarted at the polls. Most recently, she had indeed declared: "The nation is arming. What are they arming for if it isn’t that they are so distrustful of their government? They’re afraid they’ll have to fight for their liberty in more Second Amendment kinds of ways. That’s why I look at this (election) as almost an imperative. If we don’t win at the ballot box, what will be the next step?"
But yesterday, she backpedaled. She told Ralston: "I admit it was a little strong to say."
She also tiptoed away from her previously stated belief that Social Security should be "phased out." That was a good move on her part, given the sizable population of senior Nevadans who do tend to vote. She instead told Ralston that she wanted to protect all existing benefits, while giving young workers the future option of choosing between a "personal account" or continued SS outlays - in other words, the proposed George W. Bush formula that bombed back in 2005.
She also distanced herself from her previously stated belief that the separation of church and state is an "unconstitutional doctrine." This was a wise move as well...considering the fact that the separation of church and state is actually enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Nevertheless, Angle stuck to her guns (as it were) on several issues that might ultimately harm her electoral prospects. She stood by her recent claim that jobless people are "spoiled" by the availability of unemployment benefits. As she explained it, elected officials "keep extending unemployment benefits to the point where people are afraid to go out and get a job because the job doesn’t pay as much as the benefit. There are jobs that do exist." We'll soon see whether jobless Nevada voters, living in a state with a 14 percent unemployment rate, can warm to a candidate who considers them "spoiled."
We'll also see whether swing-voting Nevadans are willing to replace Reid with an anti-abortion zealot who thinks, for instance, that a raped teenager should be forced to bear the child of the rapist. That's her belief, and she's sticking to it.
Referring to her stated opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest, Ralston asked her, "You want government to go and tell a 13-year-old child who’s been raped by her father she has to have that baby?"
Angle replied, "I always say that I value life."
She was merely reaffirming what she told a friendly conservative talk-show host back in January. When the host asked her whether she could live with abortions in cases of rape and incest, she said: "You know, I’m a Christian, and I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that He can intercede in all kinds of situations, and we need to have a little faith in many things."
So there you have it. If a Nevada girl is raped and impregnated, there's no point in fussing, because Angle believes that the rape was God's plan. The only difference between her January answer and her June answer is that, in the latter episode, she left out the God part. Many swing-voting Nevadans are likely to be uncomfortable about abortion, but, if their daughters were raped, they may not share Angle's faith in heavenly intercession.
Fortunately for Angle, however, she got a pass yesterday on a recent remark that is arguably the most politically egregious of all. At a recent campaign event, she said that, as a senator, she did not intend to work for job creation in Nevada. I kid you not. Here's the quote:
"As your U.S. Senator, I’m not in the business of creating jobs...People ask me, 'What are you gonna do to develop jobs in your state?' Well that’s not my job as a U.S. Senator, to bring industry to this state. That’s the lieutenant governor’s job, that’s your state senator’s and assemblymen’s job, that’s your secretary of state’s job to make a climate here in the state that says, 'Y’all come.'"
Well. I bet the Nevada business community loved hearing that one. Would those folks actually be willing to forefeit Harry Reid's seniority and clout - and work instead to elect a fringe libertarian who believes it is ideologically wrong to bring home the bacon? Not a chance.