There's an old adage in electoral politics about running to your wing to get the nomination, then running to the center to win the general election. Time and again this axiom has proved its worth as wise counsel. At the moment, there's a lot of running to the far flank by people who will probably find their bridges back to the center burned by their own intemperate arsenal of rhetorical dynamite.
Sharron Angle is one such person. Having scooped up the Republican nomination for US Senator from Nevada, Ms. Angle is already the unlikely beneficiary of another political self-immolation—that of former candidate Sue (Pay Your Doctors with Chickens) Lowden. When Lowden balked at backing down from her "chicken" solution to the health care crisis, Angle was right there to pick up the support of those who didn't have any chickens to pay their medical bills.
The thing about marching back to the center in time for November is that one must have the skill to do so without appearing to repudiate everything that has come out of your mouth up to that point. Otherwise, odds are you will be exposed as little more than a double-talking opportunist. Sharon Angle has revealed a desperation by staking out positions that are sure to rev up the far right flank allowing her to cakewalk her way to the party's nomination. But so much of what she calculatingly embraced during the primary process appears to be precisely what will ignite the C4 lining her bridge back to reality.
Let the double-talking opportunism begin: Dismantle Social Security. No, privatize Social Security. No, personalize Social Security. Get rid of the EPA. No, give the EPA a more defined mandate. Too much banking regulation ignited the Wall St. collapse. (No discernible retreat from that one yet. There may not be one that makes any sense.) If we don't get what we want at the ballot box, we may have to look toward Second Amendment remedies and take out Harry Reid! What I meant was take him out of office. (Yeah, with Second Amendment remedies? Charming.)
The foregoing represents a mere sampling of the kind of double-talk Ms. Angle has engaged in since winning the nomination and trying to traverse that treacherous bridge back to the center—one that is quickly becoming a bridge to nowhere.
Just weeks ago, Majority Leader Harry Reid's reelection bid was in deep do-do. Now, thanks to Sharron Angle herself, that may no longer be the case. In fact, Reid's most effective tactic for the time being seems to be that of just letting Angle drown in her own political oil spill. So out of touch are most of her positions, the best response is no response. The more she talks, the better Harry Reid looks.
Even if Sharron Angle morphs into something more palatable in time for the November election, my hunch is that she won't be able to hide her true colors, another wing nut will wither away, and Republicans will have to seriously examine whether all the tea they've been drinking is doing them any good.
2 years ago