So what do you do after you run one of the single most scrutinized political campaigns in the history of humanity, after your performance is scathingly criticized, by both the left and the right, after it’s made abundantly clear you were meant for a much, much lesser stage?
A. Go to Disneyland
B. Move to Alaska to star in a TLC reality show called “Mama Grizzly Lite”
C. Shrink into oblivion
D. Seek the spotlight again, fronting for the same team under a new name
If you chose D, your name must be Sharron Angle.
Angle announced this week on her Facebook page that she is fronting a new Tea Party organization called the Patriot Caucus to help organize for the 2012 campaign, electing conservatives and, of course, defeating President Barack Obama.
“The tea party movement stood with me through a hard fought race against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,” Angle said on the site (thepatriotcaucus.net). “It’s time for me to give back and help our movement take the fight against big government to a new level. Please join the Patriot Caucus and be prepared to engage in a nationwide action campaign aimed at winning in 2012 and beyond!”
Winning? You must be subscribing to the Charlie Sheen interpretation of that word because it is something you have never tasted honey.
2006 — Primary against Dean Heller for Congress. You lost.
2008 — Primary against Bill Raggio for state Senate. You lost. Badly.
2010 — General against Reid. You got schooled in an election any GOP candidate other than you could have won handily.
Forget whether this is a prelude to Angle being on the ballot in 2012, although I have no doubt she will — as the state’s resident Energizer Bunny, she keeps running and running and running.
But this was not a nice-try-pat-on-the-back-better-luck-next-game loss. This is an if-anyone-but-you-had-led-the-team-we-would-have-won loss.
Angle lost by a substantial margin — almost 6 percentage points, a good old fashioned ass whuppin’ in politics these days — after being hailed as a guaranteed victor for months. Granted, Reid’s campaign was nearly flawless.
But hers was, to pull “a Palin” and yank a word right out of my ass, flawfull — an otherworldly concoction of see no Hispanics, hear no Hispanics, speak to no Hispanics (unless they look Asian), combined with Sharron Get Your Second Amendment Remedies, combined with Sharia Law comes to phantom Texas town, combined with Take Your Job, Social Security and Medicare and Shove It. And so on.
There’s not enough room here for all of the greatest hits.
She slammed Reid for saving a Las Vegas resort project that could create 22,000 jobs, then walking back her criticism of BP’s $20 billion oil-spill victims’ account as a “slush fund,” Angle raised eyebrows by advising a hypothetical 13-year-old rape-incest victim to steer clear of abortion and make “a lemon situation into lemonade.”
She was a historically bad candidate.
The New Republic referred to her choice as “party suicide” in stating:
…the nomination of Republican Sharron Angle for Senate in Nevada stands on its own. This is a prime pick-up opportunity for the GOP. The incumbent, Harry Reid, is wildly unpopular in the state, and his defeat would be a prized pelt for the Republicans. Almost any warm body could beat him in a walk. But Angle appears to be a genuine lunatic:
* Inflammatory rhetoric: In an interview last month with the Reno Gazette-Journal, Angle had this to say about gun laws: “What is a little bit disconcerting and concerning is the inability for sporting goods stores to keep ammunition in stock,” she told the newspaper. “That tells me the nation is arming. What are they arming for if it isn’t that they are so distrustful of their government? They’re afraid they’ll have to fight for their liberty in more Second Amendment kinds of ways. That’s why I look at this as almost an imperative. If we don’t win at the ballot box, what will be the next step?”
* Abolishing wide swaths of the federal government: Angle believes the U.S. Education Department should be abolished, as she explains on her campaign Web site: “Sharron Angle believes that the Federal Department of Education should be eliminated. The Department of Education is unconstitutional and should not be involved in education, at any level.” Angle went further in an interview with a Nevada online publication, writing that she favored the termination of the Energy Department, the EPA and much of the IRS tax code; complete elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
How crazy is Angle? Glenn Beck — Glenn Beck! — warned against her. She is at least somewhat tied to the militia movement. Moreover, she has undergone little scrutiny, and it’s a good bet that more will produce of further radical views. Her nomination is just a staggering failure of the party establishment.
What is it exactly that Angle, whom some Republicans didn’t vote for and whom many would like to flat out kill for allowing Reid to escape certain death, brings to this new Tea Party?
It’s not as if she has decided to recede for a while, regroup and, perhaps, try to find something she is good at. She hasn’t given any indication that she views her abundant flaws as what they are.
Republican National Committeeman Bob List insisted this week on “Face to Face” that Angle could stay in the background and be an effective organizer. (I swear I could almost hear his silent prayer.)
But what does she bring to the table except a reputation as being batshit crazy?
The thin, and that’s being kind here, Patriot Caucus site declares that the group “will begin setting up offices in Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida and Nevada in early 2011.”
How thrilled the Democrats must be to know that “Tea Party litmus tests” will be applied in those early states, thus increasing the chances of a Palinesque GOP White House nominee. I for one love it when they break out their little lists, naming them after conservative luminaries like Ronald Reagan, without first checking to see if their greatest heroes would have passed the test themself.
Here’s a hint: Reagan failed his “own” test.
The Patriot Caucus page announces to the world what the world needs to know about Sharron Angle: “She’s back.”
Something tells me that is just what the GOP was afraid of.