Do you tremble every time a commercial comes on the air?
Do you dread that knock at the door?
Does the thought of looking in your mailbox fill you with trepidation?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you might be suffering from U.S. Senate race overload. Republican Sharron Angle is attempting to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and the candidates are doing their best to frighten the daylights out of voters.
Angle has worked overtime to create a three-headed monster called ReidObamaPelosi, attempting to tie Nevada’s senior senator to the liberal policies of the president and the speaker of the house. (“It may be the most tragic love story of our time,” an Angle advertisement says of the ReidObamaPelosi association.)
Along the way, Angle’s campaign is attempting to make sure Reid is held responsible for everything from the state’s highest-in-the-nation unemployment rate to its home foreclosure crisis. Through the lens of the Angle campaign, Reid is personally bankrupting America and in his spare time helping to smuggle illegal immigrants across the border.
Reid’s campaign counters by painting Angle as too extreme for the mainstream. Angle’s remarks about “Second Amendment remedies” and government not being in the business of creating jobs have been spun into signs of the challenger’s inherent instability. Angle would shut down government and padlock the doors of the Department of Education, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency and Internal Revenue Service. She would end Social Security as we know it and put the elderly and sick out into a snow bank.
Well, maybe I made up that last part. But the point is, Angle is dangerously extreme.
Cutting through the House of Horrors rhetoric isn’t easy, but the good news is the candidates have very different political philosophies. The differences are easy to spot.
Reid is clearly running as a man capable of using his unprecedented political clout to bring home the bacon to Nevadans at an extremely difficult time. If you accept the role of government in your life, then Reid could be the candidate for you.
Angle is running as an agent of change. The staunch conservative isn’t confused about the role of government. To her, the federal government is too big, and its tentacles reach too far into the lives of Americans.
Reid fought doggedly for national health care reform. Angle would immediately work to appeal “Obamacare.”
Angle has been quoted as saying she would eliminate the Department of Education. Her campaign website takes a kinder, gentler approach: “As a teacher and grandmother of 10, there is no one more committed to education than Sharron Angle.
“Sharron believes education decisions are best made at the state and local level by parents and teachers who are invested in the lives of the children whom they have been tasked with teaching. Sharron supports putting that money as close to the state and local level as possible.”
Reid’s campaign, meanwhile, takes pride in reminding citizens the senator used his power to secure $83 million that will “keep 1,400 Nevada teachers and support staff on the job (and) is on the way, just in time for the new school year.”
Angle has said she wanted to phase out Social Security in favor of creating personal savings accounts. She quoted her father likening Social Security to welfare, which of course it isn’t. She has since modified her language (and has been pounced on for doing so by Team Reid.)
Reid, meanwhile, has been busy celebrating Social Security’s 75th birthday. He’s defended Social Security throughout his career, his critics say, even to the exclusion of improving it. Notes conservative blogger Andrew Biggs, “Reid can attack Angle’s ideas but he’s never had his own fixes to defend.”
These are two very different candidates with different political philosophies. But that’s not the scary part.
The most frightening thing is, we still have about seven weeks until Election Day.
John L. Smith writes a weekly column on rural Nevada. He also writes a daily column for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Contact him at 702 383-0295 or at email@example.com.