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Tea Party's Sharron Angle, Ron Johnson Offer Nightmarish Future

Olga Khazan |
October 28, 2010 | 8:06 p.m. PDT

Senior Editor

Sharron Angle showing off her crazy during a debate.
Sharron Angle showing off her crazy during a debate.

Back when the Tea Party was first emerging, liberals had the luxury of mocking it as the latest right-wing fringe phenomenon. They thought of Tea Partiers as quaint attention-seekers who would soon retreat to the burger joints of Sheboygan, from whence they came.

"Look at them with their fanny packs," they said. "With their misspelled posters alluding to the president's 'real' birthplace and their creepy bromance with the Founding Fathers."

But much to the chagrin of Democrats, the Tea Party movement has only grown stronger, and with it, so have its candidates. So much so that Tea Party candidates like Sharron Angle and Ron Johnson are now edging ahead of Senatorial institutions Harry Reid and Russ Feingold. 

In Wisconsin, Ron Johnson is leading by an average of nine points in the polls, and in Nevada the latest Rasmussen survey of likely voters finds Angle with 49 percent support to Reid’s 45 percent.

This is a punch in the jaw for Democrats in the Senate, where both Reid and Feingold have served in leadership positions for decades. Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, has also served as Minority Leader, Minority Whip and Majority Whip. Feingold, who has been in Congress since 1993, is most famous for passing campaign finance reform with Sen. John McCain and for being the only senator to vote against the USA Patriot Act, thus exhibiting the last known instance of a Democrat standing up to Republicans.

But regardless, the people of Nevada and Wisconsin, two "Real America" states, are thinking it might be time to get some new blood up on Capitol Hill, and here's what awaits them if either Angle or Johnson actually wins: 

  • Climate change:

Denying global warming is now in vogue among Tea Party supporters, according to a Pew Research Center poll released today. Johnson and Angle are no different.

Angle described climate change legislation as being “based on an unscientific hysteria over the man-caused global warming hoax.” 

Johnson would agree. “I absolutely do not believe in the science of man-caused climate change,” he said in an interview with the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. “It’s not proven by any stretch of the imagination.” No, but it has been proven by science.

He also described believers in climate change as “crazy” and described the theory as “lunacy.” If he's elected, look forward to wearing sunglasses to protect you from the melting ice caps. In Johnson's view, climate change comes from either "sunspots" or the "geologic eons of time."

That second one makes no sense, but for the record, sunspots are depressions on the sun's surface and have nothing to do with greenhouse gasses on Earth. 

  • Abortion rights:

Both are opposed, but one more so than the other. Johnson is pro-life save for "the normal three exceptions," - "the true life of the mother ... and instances of rape and incest." 

But there are no exceptions in the eyes of Sharron Angle. In a June radio interview, she spoke out against abortion even in cases of rape, saying "two wrongs don't make a right," and adding that carrying a rape pregnancy to term is like "making a lemon situation into lemonade." Because raising a child is just as easy as juicing some citrus fruits.

  • Health care:

Forget health insurance - the invisible hand will perform your heart surgery! Johnson will vote to repeal the Health Care Bill and replace it with "free- market based solutions."

Angle would also vote to "Repeal and replace Obamacare" and has actively spoken out against mandated coverage for autism and maternity leave, since she is neither autistic nor does she "plan to have any more babies."

The kicker? Both she and her husband are on federal health insurance, so even if she was the Rain Man and pregnant with triplets, she'd be fine. 

  • Education:

Johnson once told a (Web-challenged) group of Wisconsin conservatives that creationism could be taught in schools, as a matter of "local control" of school curricula. (Around minute 4.)

And as though America's dismal performance in education weren't bad enough, Angle would take it one step further, saying she would like to eliminate the Department of Education "because it’s not the federal government’s job to provide education for our children." 

  • Unemployment:

Both Johnson and Angle would keep tax cuts for the wealthy and cut unemployment benefits, with the idea that doing so would encourage the former to create jobs and encourage the latter to get off their couches and go work them. 

Good thought, except trickle-down economics has questionable effectiveness and unemployment benefits have beens shown to boost the economy better than tax-cuts. 

The argument that unemployment benefits disincentivize work is the talk of a multi-millionaire, which is exactly what Johnson is. Unemployment benefits are typically about half your last salary, which for most middle-class Americans who have lost their jobs is hardly enough for a luxurious staycation. 

Not to mention that providing unemployment benefits keeps mortgages from collapsing even faster than they already are, and they allow people to spend money on basic necessities, thereby keeping retailers afloat. 

So what kind of formative experience would create such disasterously misguided beings, you ask? 

Ron Johnson married into a plastics business in 1979 and will become the 70th millionaire Congress member if he's elected. 

Angle was a member of the Nevada Assembly, where she tried to implement a Scientology rehab program in women's prisons 

Both are running partly on the platform of being "Washington outsiders," and judging from their policy positions, outside of Washington is exactly where they belong.

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