Sharron Angle's "extremist" past is haunting the Tea Party candidate — who won Nevada's Republican Senate primary and will take on Harry Reid in November — even as she heads to Washington to convince GOP power brokers that she won't let Reid paint her as a fringe freak-show. The Washington Post's Greg Sargent dug up a January interview in which Angle seemed to endorse armed insurrection against the U.S. government if "Congress keeps going the way it is." Her former membership in the far-right Independent American Party, a "pro-gun, states-rights party," and links to the Oath Keepers are also raising eyebrows. Is Angle dangerous, or are her critics distorting her past? (Watch Rachel Maddow question Sharron Angle's past affiliations)
Reid doesn't have to "depict" Angle as an extremist: She is one, says Barbara Morrill in Daily Kos. Sharron Angle is wasting her breath trying to convince Republican leaders she's not "a serial nutcase." Her military buddies in the Oath Keepers advocate refusing orders they see as unconstitutional. And she is on record as "the anti-Social Security, Medicare, EPA, Department of Veterans Affairs, alcohol and fluoride candidate." No wonder she scares people.
"NV-Sen: Sharron Angle heads to Washington to assure GOP she's not a right-wing extremist"
A softening makeover will make demonizing her harder: Angle's reference to opposing tyranny with arms is "some wild, crazy stuff," says Jon Ralston in the Las Vegas Sun, but it doesn't make her radioactive. And she's already working hard on a political makeover to make her views more palatable to the center. If she shows "the same unexpected flexibility" she displayed when she ditched her far-right roots to join the GOP in the 1990s, Harry Reid might be in trouble.
"Sharron Angle’s political makeover"
Selling Angle to the mainstream won't be easy: It's not like she merely has to shake off a few innocent "gaffes," says Jonathan Chait in The New Republic. Angle's ties with "right-wing sub-cultures" run deep, and they're part of an emerging "coherent ideology" that defines everything she stands for. Running away from a past like that is no simple matter.
"The far right subculture moves into the GOP"
Reid may regret "the whack-job line of attack": Harry Reid and the Democrats want Americans to believe Angle is an extremist, says Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog, but they may regret it. The GOP clearly thinks she's "trainable," and she's already softening her opposition to Social Security and distancing herself from the "fringey, vaguely treasonous Oath Keepers." And she's pro-Tea Party and anti-health-reform-bill — pretty mainstream views in Nevada — so if Reid insists she's an extremist, he might look like the one who's "out of touch."
"Prediction: Sharron Angle is going to beat Harry Reid"