In tonight’s “too little, too late” department: Harry Reid is dropping some truth bombs about Sharron Angle. Politico, being wingnutty, takes a skeptical tone towards Reid’s accusations that Angle speaks in code and wants to eliminate the vast majority of the federal government, with a special eye towards services that it actually provides people. It is, of course, absolutely true. Anyone who has been paying attention since before the primaries knows that Angle started off as a hard core Christian libertarian who wanted to eliminate Social Security, unemployment, the Department of Education, basically anything and everything that could conceivably call an “entitlement”. And even after the Republican party got a hold of her and explained very carefully that while it was great that she believed those things, she needed to lie about her beliefs to get elected, she still had a tendency to slip up frequently in public. She called people who suffered from layoffs and had to collect unemployment “spoiled”, and implied they just didn’t want to work.
What’s funny is Reid’s assertion that he’s never run against anyone who speaks in code before. I don’t believe that. Let’s hope that Reid is just fudging the truth for rhetorical purposes here, because I’d argue that speaking in code is the Republican code. What Angle brings to the equation is a particularly weak ability to sell her code as anything but code. Every time she says something like “privatize Social Security”, you can just tell that what’s going on in her brain is, “That’s the phrase, right? The one that will get me elected?”
I’m glad Reid is impatient, and I know that he’s a busy man, but I’m just sad that we’re seeing this so late in the game. If it had been a relentless drumbeat of this kind of thing—explaining to the public that “privatize” means “destroy”, or better yet, explain that it means “take your hard earned money and give it Wall Street so they can flush it down the toilet”—then it probably would have been able to dampen the damage of Angle’s “fear the immigrants” cascade of ads. As it stands, once you get people into the irrational hate zone, getting them out is pretty damn hard. This is reflected in the polls, where Angle is coming out ahead.
But hey, it’s a few more days. Maybe Gawker will publish a tell-all story accusing Angle of getting drunk and making out with dudes. Certainly would have mattered more than doing it to Christine O’Donnell.
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
Pandagon is the go-to zone for eye-rolling at conservative nonsense, feminist rants, election-watching, and obsessing over low-rated but critically acclaimed television. Jesse Taylor and Amanda Marcotte may take politics very seriously, but egos not so much.
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