Sharron Angle is edging ahead of Harry Reid in the polls, which shouldn’t be a surprise after she trounced him in their only debate last week. Michael Barone made the very important point that quite a few of the novice candidates associated with the tea party movement have turned out to have sharp political instincts:
One of the constant refrains of the so-called mainstream media is that Tea Party candidates are blithering incompetents and weird wackos. They may do well this year, the refrain goes, but when voters come to their senses, the Republican party will pay a big price for embracing them. …
As on so many points, I think the mainstream media have gotten it nearly upside-down. What strikes me about so-called Tea Party candidates — those with little or no political experience who have won Republican nominations by opposing the Obama Democrats’ vast expansion of government — is not that some of them are bumblers but that so many of them seem to have terrific political instincts.
Consider the performance of Nevada Republican Sharron Angle in her single public debate with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Longtime Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston, no admirer of Angle, said that Angle clearly won. Reid, wrote Ralston, “looked as if he could barely stay on a linear argument, abruptly switching gears and failing to effectively parry or thrust.”
If Angle could do better than Reid, first elected to statewide office 40 years ago and a veteran of 28 years in Congress, the Senate Democratic leader for six years, maybe she isn’t such a dog after all.
I think that’s right. Angle may not be up there with John Thune, the last Republican to knock off a Senate Majority Leader, but this year she doesn’t need to be. And if Harry Reid underestimated her, he is surely paying the price. This ad, which links Reid to the unpopular Barack Obama, exemplifies the political savvy that Barone described: