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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/9/10

Harry Reid, Sharron Angle and the end of the Tea Party myth

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Will voters favor a candidate who supports saunas and massages for criminals, opposes Social Security and Medicare for seniors and fights against jobless benefits and jobs programs for workers? Don't bet on it, in Nevada or any other state. Mark the Nevada Senate campaign as leaning blue. The fad of the polyester populists of the right, who will vote like bank lobbyists in Congress, will soon come to an end.

The great Nevada campaign will prove the point I have been making all year. The Tea Party movement may control the Republican Party at the cost of losing many general elections. It is the oldest and truest timeless rule of politics. Voters oppose the status quo, but oppose extremism even more.

The new Washington Post/ABC poll shows negative ratings for the Tea Party activists at half the nation. Nevada Republicans have now nominated a candidate to oppose Reid who is far to the fringe right of even conservative Republicans. Even Rand Paul is a serious libertarian conservative. Sharron Angle is, well, a right-wing nut!

While Alan Greenspan was pushing the policies that promoted the financial disaster, and was the toast of the town on Wall Street and in Washington, Harry Reid stood out criticizing Greenspan while his Republican opponent, Angle, was against virtually every attempt to protect homeowners and credit cardholders and taxpayers from the rapacious greed that caused the crisis.

Reid's numbers will rise as Angle's views become known. Reid is a populist compared to Angle, who would vote in the Senate like a bank lobbyist and Wall Street bonus baby. If Nevadans are happy that their homes are being foreclosed and their credit card interest rates have risen, Angle is their candidate!

Sharron Angle proves my point about the polyester populists of the Tea Party movement, who are not only strangely silent about financial abuse, but support many of the abuses, and even bank lobbyists would be embarrassed by Angle's extreme tolerance for the most despised practices of financial abuse against average Americans.

While Harry Reid's record, with all of its pros and cons and controversies, is very public and at the center of the arena, Sharron Angle will now be the greatest Google in national politics. Just watch what people will find, which I found.

Angle is an opinionated ideologue, and the strange positions keep pouring out, on the public record. She has virtual contempt for unemployment insurance, scorn for Medicare, opposition for even minimal Wall Street reform, tolerance for mortgage fraud, opposition to Social Security and support for the nuclear waste dangers of Yucca Mountain, which Reid has successfully fought against.

At various moments Angle has suggested that abortion causes breast cancer and demeaned workers in the Nevada hospitality industry.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your Google. It's all there, and more!

What will now happen will be the battle of the year, between an imperfect Democratic candidate battling at the center of the arena in the real world and an opinionated extremist of the far, far right who has accomplished nothing but has weird and strange opinions about everything.

I have argued for some time that the Tea Party movement, by having dominating influence within the Republican Party while being far outside mainstream America, will ultimately prove a curse, not a blessing, for the GOP.

The battle of Nevada is between the former boxer at the center of the arena every day, versus an extremist ideologue who is well-suited to host a late-night talk show for the radical right, but will be a disaster in a general election with real voters.

My big bet is on Reid. I am doubling down on the bet. By Election Day, when Republicans place their fate in the hands of the far right, the voters will say no to the party of no. The Democrats will keep their majorities in Congress.

Let's end the myth of the polyester populists, who are far to the right of mainstream USA. The polyester populists of the extreme right are to American workers what Colonel Sanders is to the chickens. This is why Harry Reid will win, Sharron Angle will lose, and voters who say yes to populism will say no to extremism that supports and would escalate the very abuses that are ripping off average Americans and making voters mad.

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Brent Budowsky is a regular columnist on He served as Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen, responsible for commerce and intelligence matters, including one of the core drafters of the CIA Identities Law. Served (more...)

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