Harry Reid and Sharron Angle are headed to Las Vegas tonight for what will be their first and only debate, the night before early voting begins in Nevada. Many see the heated race as a referendum on President Obama, and a major test of Tea Party energies. The debate promises to be good television for election-watchers, if only because the immensely quotable former Nevada assembly woman will likely say something truly outrageous.
Most Tea Partiers make racism or homophobia their stock-in-trade. Riling up voters by exploiting working class whites' anxieties or appealing to people's most base fears make for reliable election-year stunts.
Not Nevada Republican Sharron Angle. The Tea Party-backed GOP Senate candidate can't be limited to petty bigotry, so busy is she with railing against teen girls' reproductive rights and black football jerseys, and fighting for the privatization of Social Security. Angle's remarkable because she's so willing to spout completely unreal statements as fact, so willing to offend nearly everyone--the unemployed, mothers, people with autism--that when she does appeal to xenophobia it appears to be so much less strange. Still incoherent, but at least familiar. For the singular achievement of normalizing hate by being exponentially more outrageous about everything else, Sharron Angle deserves recognition.
We've collected a few of her other unbelievable statements--a difficult task, as there are so many to choose from. If you've got a favorite (or most terrifying) Sharron Angle-ism, and we know there are many more, drop it in the comments.
1) "As your U.S. Senator, I'm not in the business of creating jobs," Angle recently said. "That's not my job as U.S. senator, to bring industry to this state. That's the lieutenant governor's jobs. That's your state senators' and assembly mans' job, that's your secretary of state's job to make a climate here in the state that says: 'Y'all come.'"
2) She also called the unemployed "spoiled welfare queens," and said: "You can make more money on unemployment than you can going down and getting one of those jobs that is an honest job."
3) Angle has long called for the privatization of Medicare and Social Security: "We need to phase Medicare and Social Security out now in favor of something privatized...I'm saying it can't be fixed. It's broken." Of course, she has also said "entitlement programs" are like worshiping a false God.
4) Angle wants a Joe Arpaio in every state: "We need to secure our borders, enforce the laws, get a sheriff like Joe Arpaio in every state, and go, Arizona, go! When your federal government fails to secure the borders and protect your citizens, it's time for every state to take their 10th Amendment right and do what we need to have done, and that's to protect our citizens."
"My thoughts are these, first of all, Dearborn, Michigan, and Frankford, Texas are on American soil, and under constitutional law. Not Sharia law. And I don't know how that happened in the United States," she said. "It seems to me there is something fundamentally wrong with allowing a foreign system of law to even take hold in any municipality or government situation in our United States."
And for good measure, here are a couple of other things Angle worries about: water flouridization, which Angle calls a Communist plot, and the Department of Education, which Angle says she would work to shut down. Prisoners of America can take heart though. If elected senator, she'll implement a hearty exercise regimen including a "Scientology massage program."
Funny, right? Except that she's headed to the Senate. Reid and Angle have been struggling mightily against each other with a slew of nasty campaign ads and millions of out of state money pouring into Nevada, both to protect Reid's Senate seat and to kick him out. The two are currently neck-and-neck, but the latest polls put Angle two points ahead of Reid, 47-45 among likely voters.