When ultra-right Republican Sharron Angle won the GOP primary in Nevada on June 8, a number of Tea Party types were crowing about it, and heralding her victory as a harbinger of things to come. Even some libertarians, who should know better, were proclaiming Angle’s victory as “proof” that liberty lovers should work within the GOP to achieve Freedom in Our Time, or at least nudge us in that direction.
Now, seven weeks later, the smirks are turning into gasps. Angle has proved an incredibly inept campaigner – running away from reporters at her own press conferences, and taking stands that prove her to be far from a consistent friend of liberty.
Angle is good on most economic issues; I’ll give her that. She wants to cut Federal spending, permanently repeal the estate tax, and so on. But she’s an ultra-hawk in the War on Drugs, saying that she’d like to outlaw alcohol along with the currently illegal drugs like marijuana. She vehemently opposes a woman’s right to choose whether to continue her pregnancy – even saying that a 13-year-old raped by her father should be denied an abortion because maybe the pregnancy was “God’s plan.” And predictably, she’s 100% behind our staying enmired in foreign wars until the end of time.
Sharron Angle’s candidacy is a perfect illustration of how the Tea Party movement has in many states devolved from a genuine grassroots liberty movement into a launching pad for right-wing loonies. 16 months ago, there appeared to be a real opportunity to unite everyone who opposes out-of-control government, by avoiding divisive social issues and focusing on taxes and spending. Now, that hope is all but gone. By abandoning a consistent, if limited, advocacy of liberty, the Tea Partiers, at least in Nevada, have blown it, big-time.
So much for the “work within the Republican party” strategy.