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Tilting at Windmills

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June 30, 2010

ANGLE SPEAKS.... Sharron Angle, the extremist Republican Senate candidate in Nevada, has been so afraid of media scrutiny, she's literally run away from journalists asking about her record. Angle's fear of answering questions, when coupled with her radical ideology, has made her something of a laughingstock.

But Angle ended her self-imposed media boycott last night, sitting down for a half-hour chat with Jon Ralston, arguably Nevada's highest-profile, and most esteemed, political journalist.

In her first mainstream media interview since winning the Republican nomination in the U.S. Senate race, former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle softened her rhetoric on "phasing out" Social Security and fearing the electorate would take up arms if conservatives didn't win at the ballot box.

But on other issues, such as abortion and her belief that unemployment benefits deter the jobless from applying for work, she stridently defended herself amid criticism from her Democratic rival, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, that her views are "wacky" and "dangerous."

Angle continued to call for the privatization of Social Security, though she's now wording it in a slightly more mild way, and she continued to state her opposition to extended unemployment benefits, insisting that "there are jobs that do exist" if only the unemployed would pursue them. She also rejects the notion of separation of church and state as a constitutional principle.

It was a startling reminder of the parallel universe Angle appears to live in.

But of particular interest was Ralston asking the right-wing candidate about her proposed "Second Amendment remedies." The reporter showed the candidate and viewers some of Angle's remarks on the subject, including this comment from January: "[I]f this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying, my goodness, what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you, the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out."

Angle conceded that those last four words were "a little strong," adding, "That's why I changed my rhetoric to 'defeat Harry Reid.'"

But that badly misses the point. The issue here was not just Angle talking about "taking out" the Senate Majority leader; there's the larger point about Angle repeatedly speculating about the armed overthrow of the United States government. She'll no longer refer to "taking out" Reid? How nice. But what about her public remarks about armed insurrection?

When pressed further by Ralston about whether she'd gone too far, Angle said, "I think it's interesting that we're nitpicking on all the little topics that Harry is putting out there."

First, when U.S. Senate candidates speculate about a literal revolution, it's not "nitpicking" to ask for clarification. Second, as Ralston was quick to point out, "Harry Reid didn't put this out there. You put it out there."

Steve Benen 9:55 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (17)

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I watched some of that interview on Rachel Maddow last night. I almost felt sorry for her. Then I slapped myself.

Posted by: 3reddogs on June 30, 2010 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

She also rejects the notion of separation of church and state as a constitutional principle.

When religious organizations (read churches, temples, mosques, or any place that is tax exemmpt because it is religious, starts to pay taxes towards infrastructure leading to and from these houses of worship, then by all means you can have what you ask for. Why should some of us pay for your shit to be flushed down a toilet from your house of worship for free and expect us to listen to your shit? You are separate from state because you do not help fund the state. STFU.

Posted by: flyonthewall on June 30, 2010 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Somebody should ask her if she agrees with the Tea Partiers and Tenthers that the 17th Amendment ought to be repealed...

Posted by: NTodd on June 30, 2010 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

I can understand disagreement on the utility of unemployment benefits. This is a policy issue where reasonable people can have differences of opinion

I can understand why, given their world view, fiscal conservatives would want to privatize and even phase out social security. If you are a social Darwinian and don't believe in the benefits of a social safety net then that makes sense. Sure, it will have deleterious results on society but at least it's a coherent position to take.

But no separation of church and state? This doesn't even make sense. First of all, we've never NOT had it in this country. And if we were to pretend for Sharon Angle's sake that we used to have it and that liberal judges somehow wrestled it away from us, just what religion are we going to choose to meld with our government? Mormonism, to satisfy Beck? Congregationalism, in honor of our Pilgrim forebears? Megachurch, to satisfy the leagues of Dobson followers? Because there is little agreement among Christian sects as to the doctrines and praxis of their faiths.

Or does she just envision generic Christian "God Committees" that enforce a melange of authoritarian socially conservative viewpoints defined in order to satisfy social conservatives in general. No sexy dancing! No alcohol on weeknights! No dating before you're sixteen! No condoms!

Someone ought to press her on specifically just what she means by "no separation of church and state:" what legislation she would sponsor, how she would advise judges to rule on people who commit acts that aren't illegal but are sinful to Christians, etc. Let's get the crazy right out in the open. I'm sure if no one else, the inhabitants of Las Vegas are curious to know what they'll be charged with when Angle's government takes power.

Posted by: eh on June 30, 2010 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Three weeks of intense coaching, and that's the best they can do? How dumb do you have to be before you're too dumb to be popular BPublican candidate for office?

This woman shouldn't be elected secretary of her home-schooled children's PTA.

Posted by: Winkandanod on June 30, 2010 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, but, yes but: Wasn't it Thomas Jefferson his own self that said "From time to time the tree of liberty needs to watered with blood?" Or sumpin' like that. So Our Dear Sharon is just, y'know, following the footsteps of our Founding Fathers.

Posted by: DAY on June 30, 2010 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Well...let's not go jumping to conclusions here. Maybe she just wants Reid placed under house arrest or something, rather than actually killing him. I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for all of this...

Posted by: Simon on June 30, 2010 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

just what religion are we going to choose to meld with our government?

What with all the tattooing these days, the time is ripe for the Fosterite "Church of the New Revelation"

Or perhaps the government should franchise L. Bob Rife's "Rev. Wayne's Pearly Gates"

Posted by: joel hanes on June 30, 2010 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Well, ok! If there's going to be no separate of church and state, then let's get those details hammered out now. Will the official state religion be Christian? Protestant Christian or Catholic Christian? Should the state require immediate baptisms as part of a citizenship ceremony for infants -- or should state-required baptisms be done at around age 8, as is common for Baptists?

Since there's no separation between the state and church, are Jewish and Muslim politicians automatically expelled from Congress and other offices? (This would be required. There are no Jews serving in the Vatican, for instance.) Are Jews and Muslims permitted to remain as citizens, or do they have to leave the country altogether? What about the losing side on the Protestant/Catholic choice made above? Also do we boot the Mormons as well? Or should we just force conversion into the official, non-separated state religion? Finally, what do we do about the many professing Christians who somehow only manage to roll into church once around Easter and maybe once around Christmas?

I'm looking forward to our nation's 1492 as Ms. Angle enters into office.

Posted by: Rathskeller on June 30, 2010 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

What I find amazing and disturbing is the very innocent sounding "my goodness" juxtaposed with the harsh PG-13 sounding "take him out."

Posted by: chrenson on June 30, 2010 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

What I find amazing and disturbing is the very innocent sounding "my goodness" juxtaposed with the harsh PG-13 sounding "take him out."

That was how Queen Elizabeth found the nerve to murder her cousin after nearly two decades imprisonment . Her chief of staff presented her with a stack of bills for her signature and a death warrant .

Oh my Goodness !

Posted by: FRP on June 30, 2010 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

@flyonthewall

You are separate from state because you do not help fund the state. STFU.

No. No no no no no no no. No. Not just no but Hell No. Hades No. Hel No. Any particular other religious afterlife that you may decide to insert before the word No, No. Just - no.

The establishment clause has fuck-all to do with taxes. We could tax churches at 100% and still not run afoul of the establishment clause so long as we were treating all churches equally. Churches are tax exempt because they are allowed to form themselves as tax-exempt non-profit corporations for tax purposes because at the time the tax code was first proposed churches were the main provider of social goods such as welfare for the poor. Taxing them would have not made any sense at all at the time (one could argue that times have changed and its time to revisit this, but churches have powerful lobbies and you can't just tax some churches and not others without actually running up against the establishment clause, and taxing churches would be unpopular politically. So not gonna happen, at least in my lifetime).

But that's completely unconnected with the establishment clause, which basically says that the government cannot prefer one religion over any other. You can't pass laws to restrict particular kinds of religious worship, and neither can you force members of government to submit to a religious test for office before holding a position. This is what the basis for all the religious displays on public land is all about - preferential treatment for some religions over others (including the unreligious). Either you have to give equal space/time to all religions or no time to any. That's what separation of Church and State is all about.

And that's what conservatives like Angle are upset about. What they want is to be able to have preferential treatment for particular religions - to be able to have an Evangelical Christian prayer every morning at a public high school, for example. They want to be able to force their religion on other people - which is exactly what the Establishment clause of the 1st amendment is trying to prevent.

Posted by: Nonynony on June 30, 2010 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

The question I think the left should be asking is not whether she thinks church and state should be separate.

She obiously doesn't.

If they want to really smoke her out, then they should be asking her how & when should they be intermingled.

Posted by: bodiddlybop on June 30, 2010 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Another Palin, just half as sexy.

Posted by: exlibra on June 30, 2010 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Here in Oregon people love to cover themselves with tattoos. It's sort of hobby with us. So I am always interested in seeing what others are doing and learning new things. Thanks for the post.

Posted by: Carman Mcgreen on August 15, 2010 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Do you think people are getting tattoos without having any idea what they mean. Or why they wanted it. My nephew explained to me that he got a full sleeve tattoo because he thought it would be cool. He is old enough to have a tatoo and had the money to pay for it. So everything was legit except for his reason. I have tats but they all have meaning and I had to earn the priveldge of wearing them. What's you take on people getting tats for no reason.

Posted by: Tattoo Designs on September 3, 2010 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

My nephew just got a tattoo. It looked great and it had meaning for him. So it made sense. I took him out for a beer to celebrate. My niece went with us and she asked me what I thought about her getting a tattoo. I told her absolutely not. Any other male chauvanist pigs out there that think women are beautiful just they way they are.

Posted by: Cross Tattoos on September 10, 2010 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK
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