The right Angle to beat Harry Reid?
On Friday, at the Steamboat Institute’s Second Annual Freedom Conference, I had the chance to speak with Republican Senate candidate from Nevada, Sharron Angle, in addition to hearing her address to the assembled audience.
Here’s my take on Mrs. Angle:
While she doesn’t blow you away with an extreme of intellect or rhetoric, she’s more than adequate in each of those categories. Much more importantly, she possesses an unquestionable sense of being “real” that I haven’t seen in a political aspirant in a long time.
When she spoke about her personal battle to free Nevadans to home-school their children, the story made it clear that she her passion for the issue was honestly acquired by her own child’s public school education experience. It was also clear that this is not a lady who will give up on something she thinks is right and important.
She focused, as all candidates must, on the economy and jobs, noting that her state has the highest unemployment rate in the country and dryly noting that if this is the result of the many things Harry Reid has “done for Nevada", then all Nevadans should hope he stops doing more for them. She noted that unemployment in the county in which her son lives is now 40%. She also said that the value of her home, which was not a very big number to begin with, has been cut in half.
Angle said (twice) that she believes releaing Obamacare is of utmost importance, though she didn’t mention the problem of doing so while Obama remains president.
Angle said in her direct conversation with me, in response to a question, that she does feel like she should be extremely careful when speaking because of the way the Democrats and the media aim to twist her words against her. However, she seems not to worry about it a lot, and said as much, noting that she just needs to let as many people as possible learn who she is by her own words.
One of her strongest moments came when a person in the audience asked her why we should believe that she would avoid being corrputed by Washington should she win election, why we should believe she will not catch “Potomac Fever." Her answer, as good an answer as a candidate can give, was to look back at her history in the state legislature when votes of the 42-member body frequently had the result of “41-to-Angle." While it’s not ridiculous to ask if often being the only vote on one side of an issue might be a sign of an inability to convince others, Angle emphasized that he showed her refusal to “go along to get along." She also stressed her role as the GOP whip in getting and keeping Republicans to stick with support of limited government, liberty, and low taxes in many other votes.
Although I wouldn’t necessarily see Sharron Angle in overall Senate leadership – in part because she probably wouldn’t “play the game” to get there – I could certainly see her chairing or being a leading force on a Senate Education Committee, and she’s one of the few people I could imagine in that sort of position who would have an unshakeable commitment to reducing the federal government’s involvement in education.
All in all, Mrs. Angle struck me as a “citizen legislator” in the best sense of the term. I think she’s a person who knows who she is and will be more resistant than most to becoming part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
Therefore, I wouldn’t hesitate to support her, the various news reports of prior “gaffes” not withstanding.
Mrs. Angle noted that she was hurt in the polls right after winning the primary because Reid’s campaign immediately spent an enormous amount of money attacking her when her campaign war chest was empty. However, she seems to be raising money now and hopes to have more than enough to put up a decent fight against the inevitable Reid and DNC onslaught of negative ads.
The two most recent polls on the race have Angle up by two and Reid up by one, a remarkably weak position for an incumbent Senate Majority Leader but still a stronger position than Reid seemed to be in just a few months ago.
While Republican enthusiasm has a good chance of carrying this race and others for the GOP candidate, Harry Reid is still trading about 56% to win this race in political betting at Intrade.com, in part because of a quirk of Nevada election law: Nevada ballots carry a “None of These Candidates” option which tends to split the anti-incumbent vote, often leading to the re-election of the incumbent. (Even if “None” gets the most votes, which has happened, the actual candidate with the highest number of votes wins the election.) For that reason, while I think Reid should be a little less than 56%, it’s probably right for him to be 50% or more, whereas I wouldn’t say that in a state without the “None” voting option.
Mrs. Angle has a “real person” persona which, for example, Jane Norton was really missing. Angle wants to connect with the average person and seems able to do so, whereas Jane seemed a little more patrician. If she can use this ability to connect, if she can see enough Nevadans face to face to convince them that she really does understand them, I think she has a decent chance of becoming the second Republican in six years to defeat an incumbent Senate Majority Leader. I’d sure like to see it, and I encourage my readers to contribute a few bucks to Mrs. Angle’s campaign. The value of electing a true believer in the values of our Founding while simultaneously sending Harry Reid back to try to find a job in a state with the nation’s highest unemployment rate cannot be overstated.
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