Thursday, June 10, 2010

Harry Reid’s Wacky Opponent

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate Majority leader, was supposed to be doomed to lose his reelection bid this year. It could still happen; he’s not the most popular politician in Nevada, but his chances got a lot better when the Republicans nominated Sharron Angle to run against him. Why? Because, according to TPM, her views are a bit outside the mainstream.

Back in April, Angle told TPMDC she was a member of the Oath Keepers at a press gaggle in Washington. On Monday, we decided to call Angle’s campaign to confirm her relationship to the group. Angle’s husband, Ted, picked up the phone.

“We support what the organization stands for,” he told us. “Sharron does.”

Members of Oath Keepers — whose motto is “Not on our watch!” — subscribe to a 10-item declaration affirming that they will not, for example, force citizens into detention camps or invade a state “that asserts its sovereignty and declares the national government to be in violation of the compact by which that state entered the Union.”

Often seen at gun shows and similar settings, the Oath Keepers were singled out by the Southern Poverty Law Center in its 2009 report (.pdf) on the return of the militia movement since President Obama was elected as “a particularly worrisome example of the Patriot revival.”

According to the SPLC, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, a former staffer for Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) warns his followers against “a coming dictatorship” that will happen if “our brothers in arms go along and comply with unconstitutional, unlawful orders.” An extensive report on the group by Mother Jones in March suggests supporters of the movement believe they’re living through the first steps of the shift away from constitutional freedom. Members of the group — many of them in the armed forces — share the “belief that the government is already turning on its citizens, they are recruiting military buddies, stashing weapons, running drills, and outlining a plan of action [to stop it],” the magazine reported.

Ms. Angle would like to see the abolition of the Department of Energy, the Department of Education, and the federal tax code. She also harbors a few views that might sound a little odd at this time; she’d like to see the oil industry deregulated (um, yeah, how’d that work?) and she’s in favor of Prohibition; let’s see, didn’t we try that already?

Michael Steele says Sharron Angle is “the standard bearer” for the GOP in Nevada. Oh, good; that means when she says she wants to repeal the 16th Amendment (and possibly the 21st), Mr. Steele will be our go-to guy to explain how that’s “mainstream.” Can’t wait.

Anyway, Harry Reid may have his flaws, but one of them is not having the bad luck to run against an opponent who is so far out there that it makes him look like a winner, and chances are that at least one oath Sharron Angle won’t get to keep is the Oath of Office.