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Sharron Angle Promoted Armed Insurrection, Formerly Joined Christian Reconstructionist Third Party

Sharron Angle has been whisked from meeting to meeting in Washington this week, shielded from the press in an attempt to cut off any oxygen to a series of damaging reports about prior statements and her personal associations. We’ve come to a point in America where candidates for political office can be hermetically sealed off from scrutiny, never having to answer questions from anything but friendly press. But in Angle’s case, that might not matter.

First we have her shifting party ID. She started as a Republican, became a Democrat during the Reagan years, and then supported a far-right third party with some disturbing beliefs:

For at least six years in the 1990s before she held state-level elective office, Angle was a member of the little-known Independent American Party, a right-wing party that combines elements of Ron Paul’s doctrinaire libertarianism — pro-gun, anti-tax, anti-bureaucracy, pro-states’ rights — with Christian social conservatism and fear of the “North American Union” and other forms of “global government.” The small party attracted considerable controversy in 1994 when it took out a newspaper ad titled “Consequences of Sodomy: Ruin of a Nation,” which suggested HIV could spread through the water […]

During the period that Angle was a member, the party bought a red, white, and blue 16-page advertising insert in several Nevada newspapers to promote an effort to add a clause to the state constitution stating that “objection to homosexuality is a liberty and right of conscience and shall not be considered discrimination relating to civil rights,” according to a 1994 article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The so-called Minority Status and Child Protection Act would have explicitly allowed discrimination against gay people in jobs and housing.

The party then picketed a newspaper, the Reno Gazette-Journal, that refused to run the ad.

Apparently, the Independent American Party is heavily tied in with Christian Reconstructionism, a radical theocratic group that interprets the Constitution as a Christian document and advocates the return to “Biblical law.”

But the rhetoric and warped belief system isn’t only present in Angle’s associates. During the campaign, she seemed to argue in favor of armed insurrection:

In an interview she gave to a right-wing talk show host, Angle approvingly quoted Thomas Jefferson saying it’s good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years — and said that if Congress keeps it up, people may find themselves resorting to “Second Amendment remedies.”

Asked by the host, Lars Larson of Portland, Oregon, where she stands on Second Amendment issues, Angle replied:

You know, our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government. And in fact Thomas Jefferson said it’s good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years.

I hope that’s not where we’re going, but, you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I’ll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.

The invocation of Jefferson’s “tree of liberty watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants” message is a clear dog-whistle to an out-of-the-mainstream, far-right Patriot movement typically tied in with militias. This is dangerous stuff, and it has manifested itself on a number of occasions over the past couple years.

At what point does the silence of Sharron Angle work to her disadvantage, as these revelations mount?

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David Dayen

David Dayen