Reid Pulls Ahead of Angle: Sign of GOP-Tea Party Troubles for November?
The Repubs have the wind at their backs. With their newfound love of the filibuster and a lot of help from the Blue Dogs, they still have an effective majority in Congress. Meanwhile, the Dems officially control the government and are on the hook for the enduring nature of this brutal recession in the minds of most Americans.
The GOP can sit back and block any effort to alleviate "Main Street's" economic pain, and they won't pay a price. And that's precisely what they've done since January of 2009.
They've got a well-oiled message machine, churning out a bucket of ridiculous pseudo-scandals every day, and an electorate with plenty of "low-information" voters who will be suckered into believing just about anything -- 55 percent of likely voters think Obama's a socialist.
They're also getting a huge assist from the White House and much of the Democratic leadership (especially in the Senate), who have not only decided, despite all evidence to the contrary, that echoing the corporate Right's economically insane messaging by blathering on about the importance of reducing the deficit is a better move heading into the mid-terms than trying to do more to create jobs and keep people in their homes (or at least that it's better not to try to push more relief for ordinary Americans than to attempt it and fail).
Now consider Harry Reid's situation in Nevada. Reid's not only the Senate Majority Leader -- whom, along with Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama the GOP has cast as a new Axis of Evil, and thrown every fiber of their muscle into demonizing --he's also an insider's insider during an election when insiders are (supposedly) reviled and to top it all off he's as uncharismatic a public figure as one will likely encounter (yes, I too have heard that he's dazzling in person, but in this broadcast age who really cares?).
I think it's safe to say that if Danny Tarkanian, who began as the supposed front-runner i the GOP race to challenge Reid, had in fact been nominated, Harry Reid would be toast come November. But he was an "establishment" GOP candidate, and Chicken-Care advocate Sue Lowden blew past him. She then led Reid in the polls for six months until voters got a taste of how nuts she was. Sharon Angle, flush with Tea Party energy and now raking in their cash, edged Lowden out, and had a 3-point lead over Reid in the Mason-Dixon poll when she did. Now the electorate's getting a taste of her worldview, and it's not going over so well:
U.S. Sen. Harry Reid has opened a strong lead over Republican opponent Sharron Angle after pummeling her in a ubiquitous TV and radio ad campaign that portrays the Tea Party favorite as "too extreme," according to a new poll for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The Democratic incumbent's aggressive strategy of attacking Angle's staunch conservative views from the moment she won the June 8 primary has cost her support among every voter group -- from men and women to both political parties and independents -- in vote-rich Clark and Washoe counties.
The irony is that the Tea Partiers' energy and extremism has done a lot to compel Republican lawmakers not to work with the Democrats--you need 60 votes in the Senate to get a post office named after a war hero, and there's no guarantee Reid would get them--and yet it may be their energy and extremism that ends up saving his ass in November.
They say (that is: someone wrote something I'm too lazy to find) that Americans, whatever other blemishes they have, don't go for extremism. There are a half-dozen other races similar to the Nevada Senate fight that could go either way in November. Whatever else happens, we're going to find out something about this country based on their outcomes.