The Tea Party is on the verge of proving their importance as a bona fide political movement, according to various reports like those provided by Politics Daily and NPR. But even the most stalwart of Tea Party members must have reservations about a few of their candidates. And in the end, wasn’t the Tea Party formed to make government better and stronger, more of, by, and for the people? If so, and if one truly wants better governance, the conscionable Tea Partier in some some states might be questioning the advisability of actually voting for their candidate on Election Day. Like Tea Party-backed Sharron Angle in Nevada…
Angle may be the most polarizing, extreme right wing candidate that has a chance of winning the Nevada U. S. senate seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Harry Reid. Unlike the more personable Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, whom the electorate refuses to take seriously, Angle has been and is being taken seriously and even being considered as the next senator from the state of Nevada. A Tea Partier true to their values would have to ask themselves: If good governance depends on the person elected, can Sharron Angle provide such responsible governance.
Perhaps she can, but her history attests that she will not. Her radical views reflect a person who will not only exist as a contrarian in the U. S. Senate, but also someone who will attempt to institute policies unpopular with the American people at large. In short, her tenure in the U. S. Senate, if her history as a Nevada politician holds true, will be disruptive, divisive, and the opposite of the good political office-holder Nevadans want to represent their state, values, and vote.
Over the past few months, Sharron Angle has pushed an agenda of fiscal responsibility, smaller government, and less taxes, all normal Republican platform tenets that form the foundation of the Party. They are tenets to which most people in the U. S. agree. But Angle has also said she wants to completely eliminate the Department of Education (which provides free education for millions of American schoolchildren), privatize Social Security (which would make it dependent upon the stock market) and Veterans Administration hospitals (which takes care of America’s military service veterans), end social welfare programs (which provides relief for families in impoverished circumstances and supplements incomes of families unemployed and/or unable to meet an area’s standard of living), and eliminate or alter unemployment compensation programs so that they will not be an incentive to not be employed (not look for work).
She was such a contrarian while a member of the Nevada state legislature, Angle was known for her nay-saying. In fact, her sole “no” vote became so commonplace that the phrase “41-to-Angle” became stock within the Nevada legislature and in the press.
In the current campaign, she has used race as a voter mobilizer for those opposed to illegal immigration. She has used the fear of religion in her political speeches, falsely stating that two American cities already follow Sharia Law (Islamic holy law) instead of the U. S. Constitution, to further divide an angry and concerned Nevada electorate. At one point in the campaign, she even exhorted her audience to perhaps choose the “second amendment remedies” to “take Harry Reid out.”
It would seem that placing such a divisive individual within the chamber charged with creating and voting on acts and laws that govern the citizens of the entire United States would be the opposite of good governance. If so, would that not be anathema to what the Tea Party purportedly stands for?
What does that mean? It means: Joke’s over.
Supporting Sharron Angle as a viable and serious candidate to get Reid’s attention worked. He’s had to fight for his political life in a state that sees him as doing nothing to help with their crushing unemployment rate (14.4 percent, the highest in the nation). But even though he has supported several policies with which the predominantly conservative state disagrees, has his level of governance been so terrible that it requires his recall and the installment of a restrictive “scorched Earth” contrarian? That is the question Nevadans must answer on Election Day.
It is doubtful an individual serious about good governance could or would cast a vote for Sharron Angle. If accountability and responsibility are what matters most to the average Tea Party member, how could electing Angle, a person who seems to be dedicated to obstructing, eliminating, and dividing, provide that? Of course, that does not mean that the voter has to vote for Reid, either. If showing their contempt and/or displeasure at his representation of the state of Nevada is their concern, a write-in substitute or third party choice might suffice.
But it should be a serious decision. And like the people of Delaware, Nevada’s Tea Party candidate seems to be more of a warning shot or a joke taken too far. Like him or dislike him, Senator Harry Reid knows the political ropes of Washington, has learned how to deal with his fellow politicians, and has risen in the ranks of his colleagues to the point of Congressional leadership.
For some Tea Partiers, it is Reid’s longevity and record in Washington that most lends itself for his immediate dismissal, regardless of the credentials of his opponent. If that is the case, it must be cautioned the voter negligence is also a condition of poor governance.
Although the Tea Party movement has valid points for its existence — adhering to the Constitution, fiscal responsibility, government accountability, etc. — and has proven to be a political powerhouse in the primaries of many states during the midterm elections, in the end, their push for better, accountable, and more responsible governance cannot be achieved if they carry out their push to elect some of the candidates that they have championed up to Election Day. Angle seems to be one of those candidates.
With Sharron Angle either leading, barely trailing, or tied with him in the polls throughout the campaign, there is little doubt that the incumbent Democratic candidate has heard the people of Nevada and gets their message. It is now up to the electorate to either go through with the joke or feint and pull back. But there is little doubt that if Angle is elected, unlike Delaware distancing itself from electing Christine O’Donnell, the state of Nevada will become a punchline itself.