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Harry Reid Gets the Opponent He Wanted

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has been in trouble all year. Pollster’s average of recent polls shows that 53% of Nevadans have an unfavorable impression of Reid compared to just 41% who have a favorable impression of him. It’s awfully hard to win when more than half the electorate doesn’t like you. But it’s starting to look like the Republicans may blow their opportunity to unseat Reid.

The frontrunner to challenge Reid for a long time, of course, was former Nevada State Senator Sue Lowden. But Lowden’s primary campaign foundered after she suggested we could solve our health care problems by returning to the barter system. In lieu of cash payments, she said, we could offer doctors chickens from our farms in exchange for medical treatments. Lowden ended up losing the primary to the Tea Party candidate and former state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, who may actually be less electable than Lowden was.

Politico reported this week that Angle’s web site has been scrubbed off any mention of any of her policy positions. All that’s left is one page, which asks visitors to donate to help Angle beat Reid in November. The emphasis is on beating Reid, not electing Angle in particular. Angle, naturally, would like the focus to be on the unpopular Reid. But her advisors also don’t want the electorate to know that Angle wants to privatize Social Security and Medicare—a political third rail if there ever was one—or that she thinks we should pull out of the United Nations because it is “the umpire on fraudulent science such as global warming.” Or that she has voted against having fluoride in our drinking water. Or that she has said suggested—in the state that’s home to Las Vegas—that alcohol as well as marijuana should be illegal.

You can bet that Reid will make sure voters know. Politico writes that this has been Reid’s strategy all along: help drive off moderate Republicans like Lowden in the primary, so that voters would be left with a stark choice between him and an extremely conservative Republican in the general election. With her views Angle is certainly going to have a hard time appealing to the moderates in the fall. Reid still faces an uphill fight—and it may be that Angle’s popularity among conservatives combined with Reid’s tepid support among Democrats will be enough for her to win. But Reid has to feel better about his chances already.


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