Flickr photo by mattcameasaratTea Party candidates may not have prevailed in all -- or even the majority -- of this week's primaries, but they certainly did make a dent in the Washington establishment they abhor. Anti-incumbent sentiment is running high in many states and districts.
But it appears that many Tea Party voters will cast their lot with someone -- anyone! -- who's new to the scene, even if some of their ideas and past statements might raise eyebrows. Tea Party voters seem to be voting against the past, rather than considering the future proposed by their candidates of choice.
Case in point: Sharron Angle. She went from being practically unknown to winning the nomination for Republican Senate candidate in Nevada, facing off against Harry Reid this fall. The Tea Party Express was largely responsible for pushing her to the top of the stack of Republican candidates, but I have to wonder what they know about the positions she's taken on various issues and initiatives.
Political Correction, a watchdog site that's part of Media Matters Action Network, ticks off a list of Angle's more unexpected stances, including these head-scratchers:
- Advocating a Scientology-based "sauna and massage" treatment for prison inmates (sources: National Review, Las Vegas Review-Journal)
- Suggesting that she's not comfortable with the legality of alcohol (source: Republican Majority Campaign PAC)
- Proposing legislation to require counseling patients of a supposed link between abortion and breast cancer -- a link not supported by scientific evidence (sources: Talking Points Memo, Las Vegas Review-Journal archives)
FOXNews briefly mentions the first bullet point and jumps on exaggerated interpretations by Democrats regarding the second point. However, they did note a previous statement by Angle regarding her family's history of working menial jobs "that Americans don't do," which might spark criticism.
The first point makes her sound like a kook, but all pols sound a little insane on occasion. The second point is actually a red herring, as the context of her remark concerned state vs. federal drug laws -- specifically that "federal anti-drug laws trump state laws." The Republican Majority Campaign PAC points out that "her opinion [in support of SCOTUS decision on medical marijuana] ignores states’ rights and individual freedom."
It's the third point that bothers me the most. Angle is against abortion rights and socially conservative, as are nearly all Republican politicians. But that's no justification for invoking bad science as a reason for legislation.
While competing scientific theories may exist, they're not simply a matter of opinion. Scientific theories can be tested and evidence gathered in support of or against them. The overwhelming evidence is against this purported link between abortion and breast cancer, yet because such a link is in line with Angle's anti-abortion views, she has seized upon it, twice introducing bills that mercifully died before a hearing, let alone a vote.
It will be interesting to see which angle Reid's campaign takes in attacking challenger Sharron Angle. Sadly, I expect they'll focus on her more sensational and sound bite-worthy missteps, rather than the philosophical motivations behind her political actions.