During the US Senate debate tonight between Sharron Angle and Harry Reid, it became clear that Angle has no idea what she is talking about on Social Security when she said, “Harry Reid has voted to give Social Security to illegal aliens, not only before they were citizens but after they were citizens.” Oh my God, Harry Reid gave benefits to US citizens!!! Wait, that’s legal.
According to the LA Times Top of the Ticket blog, Angle was asked about her ad that accuses Reid of voting for tax breaks and Social Security for illegal immigrants. She answered, “I am glad to give voters the opportunity to see that Harry Reid has voted to give Social Security to illegal aliens, not only before they were citizens but after they were citizens.”
Reid said that the ad was totally false, “Everything she has said in that ad is false; it is not true. I have never voted for tax breaks for people who are here that are illegal, never voted for Social Security for people here illegally.” Reid missed the point that Sharron Angle seems to believe that even after immigrants become legal citizens they are not entitled to Social Security. See, once a person becomes a citizen, they are eligible for Social Security. In fact, any immigrant who has a Social Security card, and pays taxes into the system is eligible for the program.
In all honesty, both of these candidates were pretty terrible. The Nevada Senate is race is one of those elections where none of the above could actually win. Angle showed that she adept with talking points, and can stick to her script, but she avoided any answer that could possibly be construed as a solution. Her big ideas were the same generic ones that Republicans all over the country are running on, “cut back on the spending, pay back the debt, and take back our economy by repealing policies like ‘Obamacare.'” How exactly she would do this is anyone’s guess. (Hint: She wouldn’t.) But Sharron Angle proved that she is nothing more than a generic Tea Party candidate.
Harry Reid is terrible debater. A good Democratic opponent would have seized on Angle’s gaffes in order to drive home the message to voters that they definitely do not want to vote for this woman. A big problem that Reid had all night was that he spoke too much Washingtonese. He referenced the CBO three times, and when asked about whether healthcare reform should cover abortions, he said that the Hyde Amendment is law of the land. Instead, he should have said something much simpler like using federal money for abortion isn’t legal now, and won’t be under the new healthcare law.
The voters of Nevada would be crazy to throw out the powerful Majority Leader in exchange for a back bench minority party member. Even if Harry Reid loses his seat, Democrats aren’t going to lose the Senate. More importantly, according to the Las Vegas Sun, Harry Reid brings in $240 million a year to Nevada in federal earmarks alone. This does not include stimulus money, or other projects. Reid has brought billions of dollars to the state since he has been in the Senate, and that will all go away if Angle is elected.
I think Harry Reid is a comically inept Majority Leader. I don’t care for him one bit, and the argument can be made that it would be good for the Democratic Party for him to lose, so that they can select a new leader, but in these economic times, the choice for Nevada should be clear. Sharron Angle won’t deliver the dollars, and there are real questions about whether she can represent the state’s best interests. Harry Reid is no prize, but a state should never throw away a Majority Leader unless they are prepared to accept the economic hit that comes with their decision.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association