Posted by | July 19, 2010 14:54 | Filed under: Contributors Good News Politics Sandi Behrns Top Stories

by Sandi Behrns

A few short months ago, it seemed certain that Harry Reid was headed for forced retirement. How circumstances have changed: A slew of new polls show Reid either leading GOP nominee Sharron Angle, or making significant swings.  A Mason-Dixon Research poll commissioned by the Las Vegas Review Journal and KLAS-TV shows Reid leading with 44% to Angle’s 37%. A partisan Democratic poll showed Reid up by four last week.  Even Republican Senator Bill Bennett is predicting victory for Reid.

It would be nice to believe that this turn of fortune is because of the Majority Leader’s careful shepherding of historic health care and financial reforms through the Senate. In this case, however, Harry Reid has GOP stumbles, coupled with his own quick-responding campaign to thank.

In April, Reid was trailing then-presumptive GOP nominee Sue Lowden by as much as 10 points. Then Ms. Lowden suggested that “bartering” with doctors could help to control health care costs. Fending off criticism, she then made the lethal mistake of suggesting chickens as the currency for her barter system. Clever Democratic exploitation of this slip effectively signaled the end of Sue Lowden. The darling of the Nevada Tea Party, Sharron Angle, waltzed to victory in the June 8th GOP primary, much to the delight of the Reid campaign.

In Sharron Angle, the Republican Party finds itself saddled with an alarming fringe candidate. Ordinarily, a candidate with extreme views might make it up through the primary process with little scrutiny outside of the GOP itself. They would then clean her up, sanitize her website and push her out for general consumption.  This is precisely what they have attempted to do with Mrs. Angle. Unfortunately for the GOP, it’s way too late to put this horse back in the barn.

As it became clear that Lowden was in serious trouble versus Angle, Democrats combed the Angle website as well as her record as a state representative. Turns out, they liked what they found.  Angle’s own previously stated positions on things like “phasing out” Social Security and Medicare, which were fodder for the Tea Party crowd, have come back to haunt her in the general election. The Reid campaign and the DNC have wasted no time hitting Angle with her own positions, even going so far as to republish her original campaign website under the name The Real Sharron Angle.  This led Angle’s campaign to threaten a lawsuit to force the site’s removal, a bad calculation, as it simply serves the purpose of making previously uninformed voters wonder what the fuss is about. Angle’s own mis-steps, coupled with a savvy and aggressive campaign by Reid, have brought us to where we are today: in all likelihood, Harry Reid will be returning to the Senate as Majority Leader next January.

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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.