Posted by | July 8, 2010 19:07 | Filed under: Contributors News Behaving Badly Opinion Planet Sandi Behrns

by Sandi Behrns

Sharron Angle had a plan. After winning the GOP nomination to challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with the full-fledged support of the Tea Party movement, her campaign said she would not be pulling a Rand Paul. She would not make the mistake of revealing crazy, fringe positions on issues that would then be reported and ridiculed by the dastardly Mainstream Media. How would she achieve this? Perhaps by not having crazy, fringe positions? No, instead the plan was to simply avoid the Mainstream Media altogether. Thus far, Mrs. Angle has stuck to this plan, with her only national media interviews going to reliably right wing, friendly organizations and conservative talk show hosts.

Of course, a candidate for Senate, especially a Tea Party candidate opposing the Majority Leader, cannot possibly hope to escape such scrutiny. While Angle may be avoiding those pesky “gotcha” questions (such as “why do you oppose fluoride in drinking water?”), the interviews she has granted have attracted plenty of attention. Even with friendly, right-leaning hosts, Sharron need only answer honestly to stir up plenty of controversy.

As has been noted here, Angle is against abortion, even in cases rape and incest. In an interview with conservative radio host Alan Stock, Angle used an unfortunate choice of words to further that position, as noted by Sam Stein at the Huffington Post.

Stock: What do you say then to a young girl, I am going to place it as he said it, when a young girl is raped by her father, let’s say, and she is pregnant. How do you explain this to her in terms of wanting her to go through the process of having the baby?

Angle: I think that two wrongs don’t make a right. And I have been in the situation of counseling young girls, not 13 but 15, who have had very at-risk, difficult pregnancies. And my counsel was to look for some alternatives, which they did. And they found that they had made what was really a lemon situation into lemonade. Well one girl in particular moved in with the adoptive parents of her child, and they both were adopted. Both of them grew up, one graduated from high school, the other had parents that loved her and she also graduated from high school. And I’ll tell you the little girl who was born from that very poor situation came to me when she was 13 and said ‘I know what you did thank you for saving my life.’ So it is meaningful to me to err on the side of life.

Got that? Lemonade. Notice, too, that Mrs. Angle glosses over the threat to the health of these young girls, acknowledging their “very at-risk, difficult pregnancies.” So the upshot is that Sharron Angle not only encouraged 15 year-old girls to carry the babies of their rapists, but to risk their own lives to do so. Nice.

If the news had simply stopped there, it would be a bad day for Angle, but the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent broke the story of another Alan Stock radio interview.  Just last night, Mrs. Angle was on the show and had this exchange with a caller:

Caller: … Obama basically extorted $20 billion from a private company, and I wanted to know what she thought of the $20 billion slush fund, and whether or not government should be able to do that to a private company.

Angle: Well, the short answer is no, government shouldn’t be doing that to a private company. And I think you named it clearly: It’s a slush fund.This is an overreaction by government for not the right reasons. They’re actually using this crisis, if you will –  ’cause they never waste one – Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals. They are using this crisis now to get in cap and trade, and every crime and penalty, and slush fund.

So here we have Sharron Angle, standard-bearer for the GOP in Nevada, glomming onto the very language that got Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) into so much recent trouble.  Mrs. Angle, of course, goes one step further, echoing the Saul Alinsky conspiracy theories of the extreme right wing (and Glenn Beck.) Perhaps Mrs. Angle would do better to avoid not just national, mainstream news organizations, but all media. After all, scrubbing your old, Tea Party-inspired website and suing to prevent your opponent from publishing your previously stated positions can’t be effective if you’re still out there spewing the crazy.

UPDATE: Greg Sargent now reports that Angle has walked back her comments, saying that she and the caller should not have used the term “slushfund,” and voicing her support for the escrow account. It remains to be seen whether this timely reversal will blunt the firestorm of controversy in which she now finds herself. My guess is the Reid campaign is not going to let this one go.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Sandi Behrns

Sandi Behrns is a noted policy nerd, new media & web developer, and consultant to progressive organizations and campaigns. She is a senior contributor to Liberaland, and the Executive Editor of Progressive Congress News.