Defeat Angle

Last week in this space we dealt with the importance of reelecting Harry Reid to the U.S. Senate.

It is not just important to reelect Reid. It is also important to defeat Sharron Angle, to send a clear message about quality of candidates. Angle does not have the skills or intellectual gifts the state needs. She’s not smart enough, not discerning enough for a legislator who must scrutinize the claims of agencies and lobbyists.

Angle reaches conclusions, then cherry-picks evidence to support them. She is unable to spot people who try to con her. She embraces tales that fit her prejudices. If she agrees with someone, she cannot tell when they use arguments that are misleading, disingenuous, or false.

• In 2005 Angle accused the Washoe County assessor of telling a widow to sell her house to pay her taxes. Angle repeated the story without checking it out, the assessor flatly denied it, and there was no evidence to support Angle’s claim (“Angle vs. McGowan,” RN&R, July 7, 2005).

• She hired campaign consultants who charged her at least $4.4 million to raise $9.6 million for her.

• She claimed Islamic law is used in two U.S. communities, one of which does not exist, the other of which uses U.S. law. She “read it somewhere,” she said.

• She read about one historian who discounted Thomas Jefferson’s “wall of separation” between church and state and embraced his finding, ignoring the more numerous historians who didn’t agree.

• In their debate, Angle accused Reid of becoming wealthy as a senator. She didn’t bother checking it out before speaking, though Reid’s finances have been a matter of public record for decades.

• When she sponsored legislation to force physicians to tell women seeking abortions that they risked breast cancer, her “evidence” of this link carefully excluded the overwhelming majority of studies that did not support her (“Dr. Angle’s prescription,” RN&R, June 24).

These are not patterns of behavior needed in the Senate. Lobbyists who tell her what she wants to hear will take her to the cleaners, just as her campaign consultants did. She does not demonstrate intellectual rigor and critical thinking. In the hard-boiled Washington, D.C., world, her naïveté would put her and Nevada at the mercy of those who learn to work her.

That is our basic reason for our opposition. But we are also dismayed at her meanspirited view of humankind, of the way she demeans good people. She calls the unemployed spoiled. She trivializes autism. She would force rape and incest victims to bear children. Angle would never be able to call on the best in all our people.

Hers is a world of black and white, where the battle is between what she imagines is good vs. evil. What will happen when she gets into reality, where most battles are not between enemies but between good people who just have different views of policy?

Angle likes to frame these things in religious terms, so we will do the same. George Washington once wrote a prayer expressing the hope “that He would incline the hearts of the citizens … to entertain brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow citizens.” Politician Angle has spent her public career working against that goal, instead pitting us against each other and then exploiting the resulting rage.