June 30, 2010

Boy, the Tea Partiers sure threw Harry Reid a gift by making Sharron Angle the GOP nominee in his Senate race this fall. Indeed, though Angle has been mostly sequestered since winning the nomination, she's proving to be one of those gifts that keeps on giving.

She finally emerged from her Cave of Media Silence and went on TV in Vegas, interviewed by Jon Ralston in his excellent "Face to Face" program. And it wasn't pretty:

Only once did she flatly admit her pre-primary language was too strong, when asked to explain her comments that the citizenry will resort to “Second Amendment remedies” — referring to the right to bear arms — if conservatives didn’t win this election.

“I admit it was a little strong to say,” she said. “That’s why I changed my rhetoric to ‘defeat Harry Reid.’ ”

... She said the separation of church and state is a doctrine meant to “protect the church” and that elected officials should “bring our values to the political system.” She sidestepped her comments from the 1990s that the separation of church and state is an “unconstitutional doctrine.”

Actually, what she said was this:

Ralston: The separation of church and state arises out of the Constitution.

Angle: No, it doesn't, John.

Ralston: Oh it doesn't? Oh, the Founding Fathers didn't believe in the separation of church and state, the Establishment Clause, the First Amendment?

Angle: Actually, Thomas Jefferson has been misquoted, like I've been misquoted out of context. Thomas Jefferson was actually addressing a church and telling them through his address that there had been a wall of separation put up between the church and the state precisely to protect the church.

Ralston: So there should be no separation.

Angle: To protect the church from being taken over by a state religion. And that's what they meant by that.

This is just plain weird. In the space of mere seconds, Angle shifts from denying that the Constitution enumerates the separation of church and state to describing how it works. And yes, it is intended to protect religious freedom -- which is precisely why the separation is so absolute. After all, a "state religion" is enforced precisely by people who use the power of state to enforce their religious beliefs.

Which is also what Angle does when explaining her position on abortion:

When Ralston challenged her comments to a Reno conservative talk show host that abortion should not be available even in the case of rape or incest, Angle said she values life.

“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?” Ralston asked.

“I didn’t say that,” she said. “I always say that I value life.”

She went further to say she believes government should stay out of the issue of abortion, but it decided to insert its control after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

“The government decided to get involved in this, not me,” she said. “I’m just defending my position.”

To say that this is incoherent is gross understatement. Angle is a perfect example of how the Republican Right in this country has gone over the cliff: there is nothing coherent or rational about her positions, except that they are those of a typical right-wing extremist.

I'm sure wondering how all those smug conservatives like Sean Hannity and Dick Morris who were reading Harry Reid's poll numbers a few months back and boldly predicting he would be gone as Majority Leader come November are feeling these days.

They can thank their beloved Tea Party movement, if they like.

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