ANGLE EYES ‘DOMESTIC ENEMIES’…. A couple of years ago, the national scene began to appreciate just how unhinged Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) really is during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Hardball.” The right-wing lawmaker said there should be an investigation to determine which members of Congress are “pro-America or anti-America” — offering one of the more blatant examples of modern-day McCarthyism.

Sharron Angle (R), the extremist Senate candidate in Nevada, is apparently thinking along the same lines.

Yesterday, Greg Sargent reported on a radio interview Angle did on the day she launched her campaign last year. During the appearance, Angle “clearly and unequivocally agreed with an interviewer who asserted flatly that there are ‘domestic enemies’ and ‘homegrown enemies’ in the ‘walls of the Senate and the Congress.’”

That’s obviously pretty crazy stuff. As Jed Lewison noted, “[D]oesn’t this put her comments about ‘Second Amendment remedies’ in an even more sinister light?

Not surprisingly, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), already pushing the line that Angle is far “too extreme” for the American mainstream, is connecting these revelations to the larger observation.

“Sharron Angle’s rhetoric is irresponsible and over the top. Let me be very clear. While I may have some differences of opinion with my Republican colleagues in the Senate, I have never questioned their patriotism. For Sharron Angle to agree that any of them — Republican or Democrat — is an enemy of the state is not only an insult to every United States Senator, it’s a disgrace to our country. If she is going to use such rhetoric, she has an obligation to name names and explain to the American people exactly who she thinks is a domestic enemy.”

That sounds about right. If Angle really is convinced Congress has “homegrown enemies” shaping federal policy, she should elaborate a bit on who these dastardly politicians are. In fairness, the exact words were the radio host’s, not the candidate’s, but Angle clearly endorsed the sentiment and said she agreed with the charge. Given her other public comments, Angle wasn’t just popping off to win some primary votes — she believes this stuff.

But there’s also the larger question of when, exactly, Republican leaders might be willing to put some distance between the GOP and its more ridiculous candidates. E.J. Dionne Jr. noted the other day, “What the current right has [to] offer is far worse than anything Bush put forward, which means that this election isn’t even about whether we’ll go back into the ditch. It’s about whether a movement that’s gone over a cliff will be rewarded for doing so. A victory for this style of conservatism will be a defeat for the kind of conservatism the country needs. And that’s a worthy matter to put to the voters.”

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.