Angle speaks

ANGLE SPEAKS…. Sharron Angle, the extremist Republican Senate candidate in Nevada, has been so afraid of media scrutiny, she’s literally run away from journalists asking about her record. Angle’s fear of answering questions, when coupled with her radical ideology, has made her something of a laughingstock.

But Angle ended her self-imposed media boycott last night, sitting down for a half-hour chat with Jon Ralston, arguably Nevada’s highest-profile, and most esteemed, political journalist.

In her first mainstream media interview since winning the Republican nomination in the U.S. Senate race, former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle softened her rhetoric on “phasing out” Social Security and fearing the electorate would take up arms if conservatives didn’t win at the ballot box.

But on other issues, such as abortion and her belief that unemployment benefits deter the jobless from applying for work, she stridently defended herself amid criticism from her Democratic rival, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, that her views are “wacky” and “dangerous.”

Angle continued to call for the privatization of Social Security, though she’s now wording it in a slightly more mild way, and she continued to state her opposition to extended unemployment benefits, insisting that “there are jobs that do exist” if only the unemployed would pursue them. She also rejects the notion of separation of church and state as a constitutional principle.

It was a startling reminder of the parallel universe Angle appears to live in.

But of particular interest was Ralston asking the right-wing candidate about her proposed “Second Amendment remedies.” The reporter showed the candidate and viewers some of Angle’s remarks on the subject, including this comment from January: “[I]f this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying, my goodness, what can we do to turn this country around? I’ll tell you, the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.”

Angle conceded that those last four words were “a little strong,” adding, “That’s why I changed my rhetoric to ‘defeat Harry Reid.'”

But that badly misses the point. The issue here was not just Angle talking about “taking out” the Senate Majority leader; there’s the larger point about Angle repeatedly speculating about the armed overthrow of the United States government. She’ll no longer refer to “taking out” Reid? How nice. But what about her public remarks about armed insurrection?

When pressed further by Ralston about whether she’d gone too far, Angle said, “I think it’s interesting that we’re nitpicking on all the little topics that Harry is putting out there.”

First, when U.S. Senate candidates speculate about a literal revolution, it’s not “nitpicking” to ask for clarification. Second, as Ralston was quick to point out, “Harry Reid didn’t put this out there. You put it out there.”