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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Reality Check in Nevada

The Majority Leader of the United States Senate is currently locked in a tight race for re-election against an obscure state legislator once notorious for lonely, extremist positions. But though Sharron Angle has sought to clean up, or at least mute, her act since winning the Republican Senate nomination in Nevada, she can’t seem to stop herself from crazy talk.
Witness this latest example, from an AP wire story:

U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle told a crowd of supporters that the country needs to address a “militant terrorist situation” that has allowed Islamic religious law to take hold in some American cities.
Her comments came at a rally of tea party supporters in the Nevada resort town of Mesquite last week after the candidate was asked about Muslims angling to take over the country, and marked the latest of several controversial remarks by the Nevada Republican.
In a recording of the rally provided to The Associated Press by the Mesquite Local News, a man is heard asking Angle : “I keep hearing about Muslims wanting to take over the United States … on a TV program just last night, I saw that they are taking over a city in Michigan and the residents of the city, they want them out. They want them out. So, I want to hear your thoughts about that.”
Angle responds that “we’re talking about a militant terrorist situation, which I believe it isn’t a widespread thing, but it is enough that we need to address, and we have been addressing it.”
“My thoughts are these, first of all, Dearborn, Michigan, and Frankford, Texas are on American soil, and under constitutional law. Not Sharia law. And I don’t know how that happened in the United States,” she said. “It seems to me there is something fundamentally wrong with allowing a foreign system of law to even take hold in any municipality or government situation in our United States.”

The two incidents Angle was talking about are, of course, completely imaginary–just made-up agitprop for Muslim-haters and for Christian theocrats who like to promote the idea that it’s impossible for the state to be neutral towards religion. The mayor of Dearborn quickly set the record straight:

Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly called Angle’s comments “shameful.” He said tea party groups inaccurately spread the word that his Detroit suburb was ruled by Islamic law after members of an anti-Islam group were arrested at an Arab cultural festival in June because a Christian volunteer complained of harassment.
“She took it as face value and maligned the city of Dearborn and I consider that totally irresponsible,” he said. “If she wants to come here, I will take her on a tour. I will show her we follow the Constitution just as well as anyone else.”
Angle, a Southern Baptist, has called herself a faith-based politician. Among her positions, she opposes abortion in all circumstances, including rape and incest and doesn’t believe the Constitution requires the separation of church and state.

If Angle is elected to the Senate, the level of extremism in that chamber will rise significantly, making Jim DeMint look almost like a representative of the mainstream. If Republicans win control of the Senate, Angle could actually chair a subcommittee. Let’s hope it’s not one that requires basic familiarity with objective reality.

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