(Steve Sebelius/SlashPolitics.com) – Sharron Angle recently dismissed her 2005 call for a return to prohibition, in part, by claiming that her accusers (i.e. me) could not find the original article in which she expressed her anti-alcohol views. (I did turn up another article that reprinted her quotes in full, but that, apparently, is just not good enough for Angle.)
It should be noted that Angle did not deny her original remarks, although it sure seemed like it.
Well, good news! Although Liberty Watch, the now-defunct conservative rag that published the original interview (in July 2005, not 2006 as I’d earlier thought) no longer has its archives online, I was able to locate the original piece using archive.org’s wonderful Way Back Machine.
As I wrote before, Angle says she feels the same way about alcohol as she does about marijuana, i.e. that both should be illegal. And even more intriguing, she adds that legislating morality is something with which she’s apparently very comfortable.
So now that I’ve found the original article, I’d be curious to know if Angle still believes we should treat alcohol the same as we treat marijuana, i.e. making it illegal, and if she intends to pursue that, given her conviction about legislating morality. Your spokesman has my number, Mrs. Angle.
CONGRESSWOMAN IN WAITING
By Mike Zigler
An interesting year 2006 will be.
Kenny Guinn’s leaving and prominent leaders on both sides of the aisle are eyeing the governor’s mansion. That includes Rep. Jim Gibbons, who’s been a Nevada Congressman for nine years.
That obviously begs the question of who will fill his shoes.
Former Assemblywoman Dawn Gibbons, his wife?
Secretary of State Dean Heller?
Assemblywoman Sharron Angle?
Republicans in Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District certainly have some heavyweight politicians to consider before the September 2006 primary. Each candidate owns a strong suit the others don’t: Gibbons, name recognition; Heller, charisma; and Angle, consistency. If issues and representation matter much to District 2 Republicans, Angle owns the upper hand.
Representation is meaningful in the northern neck of Nevada, Angle said. As she put it, that’s why Jim Gibbons was elected five times since 1996. She’s voted for him and couldn’t offer any qualms with his tenure.
But Gibbons’ political philosophy doesn’t run through his marriage, Angle said. His wife Dawn, while Republican, made the more-than noteworthy mistake in her final term as assemblywoman by supporting $833 million in new and increased taxes.
When the Legislature was about to enter its second special session that summer of 2003, the Nevada Supreme Court was considering the validity of a pesky constitutional requirement that two-thirds of the Legislature had to approve new and higher taxes rather than a simple majority. Jim Gibbons spearheaded that requirement in the ’90s. But when it was tested in the courtroom, Dawn Gibbons said nothing.
“There are big differences between Dawn and I,” Angle began. “I don’t share her philosophy of government. Dawn voted for the largest tax increase in the history of this state; I did not. She did not come to the defense of the two-thirds initiative that her husband instituted and I did.”
Heller’s stand on both issues? As Secretary of State, Heller didn’t take a stand — something Angle deemed disappointing for an elected leader.
“I’m sure that everyone had an opinion on that, and it’s disheartening that he was not willing to develop one,” Angle shared.
Furthermore, Heller stood in the way of two petition efforts from 2003 to 2004 — one to repeal that $833 million in taxes and another to prohibit government employees from holding public office. He challenged the petitions’ validity and moved slowly to ending security and government officials from hampering signature-gathering efforts on public grounds.
Angle said her positions on such matters have always been on the side of the people.
“I have presented a common-sense point of view when it comes to taxation, fee increases and government regulation and I will do the same thing,” she said. “There’s no reason for me to change; in fact, I will not change and they can count on that.”
But aside from the pro-tax Sen. Ray Rawson, who was defeated by then-Assemblyman Bob Beers, proponents for the 2003 increases didn’t find much retribution during the 2004 election. Why would it be any different in 2006?
Angle said it’s more than the tax issue alone. It’s a litmus test to see who truly supports the conservative ideal of less government. Based off the 2003 tax issue, the three Capitol Hill hopefuls are clearly distinguished — liberal, moderate and conservative.
A lifelong Nevadan, Angle has served three terms as assemblywoman. Around the lower house, if a vote went 41-1, the sole lawmaker in opposition was likely Angle. Her stern dissension and steadfast anti-tax attitude has pigeonholed her as a purist. Rarely does she slip from party lines.
But Angle contends party lines matter nothing. Like Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who’s as close to libertarian as America has in the House, Angle deems herself an independent thinker who prefers to do what’s right and in step with her district, rather than her party.
“Ron Paul and I both understand what our philosophy of government is and we’re not afraid to stand up for that philosophy in our government roles,” she said.
While holding her ground on issues, Angle has found that can’t always be effective — especially as a minority. Democrats controlled the Assembly 27-15, leaving little room for pushing a conservative platform.
In the last session, Democrats received pretty much everything they asked for — all-day kindergarten, a 23-percent increase in spending after a 35-percent increase in 2003, more building money for the university system, and an increased sales tax in Clark County to hire more police officers. What in the world did Republicans accomplish?
Angle said Republicans were able to repeal some of the 2003 taxes. She also pinpointed the $300-million vehicle registration rebate, a major part of the governor’s legislative agenda.
The rebate comes from a budget surplus and refunds will range from $75 to $275 for each vehicle registered in 2004. Also, Nevadans 65 and older who don’t have a car but do have an identification card from the motor vehicle department will qualify for a $75 check.
“I can understand why you would be disappointed, and of course being in the minority in the assembly, it’s very disappointing to me,” Angle said. “I wanted several bills to repeal more taxes. I wanted to repeal the government services tax to the privilege tax on your automobile. I wanted to repeal what I feel is the hidden tax in our small checks.”
Property tax relief was also an achievement, Angle said, although she did not support the short-term solution. Lawmakers approved a plan that caps property tax increases for homeowners by 3 percent a year and caps other property increases at 8 percent.
Angle’s push for a property tax relief plan, similar to Proposition 13 in California, contributed to the issue even being debated, she contends.
“I think because of the pressure that I applied to the Legislature, we got tax relief for property owners,” Angle said. “It’s not the answer of course, but certainly I don’t think that they would have been talking about it if I hadn’t had my Nevada Prop 13 hanging out there.”
Angle is going forward with a petition effort, to begin Sept. 1, to put a Prop 13-style amendment in the Nevada Constitution. She believes her congressional bid only enhances that effort.
“We cannot have a guarantee unless we put this into the Constitution, and nothing goes into the Constitution unless the people put it there,” Angle said. “The feeling in the Legislature is lawmakers don’t want the people to tie their hands with a constitutional amendment. This will absolutely put tax increases on property within the hands of the people, where it should be.”
Beers plans to also attack the property tax issue with an initiative of his own for a Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR). Angle doesn’t feel her effort will conflict with Beers’. Rather, the two will work in concert, she said.
For the past two sessions, Angle has flirted with the concept of TABOR, but didn’t want to introduce it as an assembly bill. Once a proposal becomes the property of the Legislature, other lawmakers can change it.
“They can change the language and absolutely manipulate it,” Angle said. “It would have my name on it, and then the voters are confused because they don’t know if it is mine or the counterfeit.
“When you’re dealing with the general public and the voting populace, you need to send a very clear, concise message.”
As for funding the initiative, Angle said she could not talk about finances yet.
“I think the other overriding issue is that the only really stable tax in this state is property tax because we are kind of like that little frog in the pot of water — you have to turn that heat up pretty high before we jump out,” Angle said. “You’re not going to bail out of your house until you’re absolutely forced to.”
While Angle’s legacy as a Nevada assemblywoman revolves around her small-government mindset, many wonder what will come of her decision-making should she join the House of Representatives. Angle is a devout Christian whose principles on social issues seem to conflict with her small-government philosophy on taxation and business regulation.
Several issues at the forefront of the national picture gravitate around morality: abortion, stem-cell research, the War in Iraq, the War on Drugs and the War on Terrorism.
“My faith is very dear to me,” Angle said. “I’m not sure it influences my political decision making as much as it influences who I am as a person. My values, my character and my integrity are glued in that faith.
“My agenda in Washington will be the same as I’ve had here in this state — less government regulation.”
But take, for example, her vocal applause over the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision on medicinal marijuana in June. The high court ruled doctors can be blocked from prescribing marijuana for patients suffering from pain caused by cancer or other serious illnesses. The decision means that federal anti-drug laws trump state laws that allow the use of medical marijuana. Ten states have such laws, including Nevada.
Angle directed her opinion to the fact that marijuana is an illegal substance and she cannot support anything that is illegal. Furthermore, the decision reinforces what was always true in the first place with Nevada’s law allowing marijuana use for medical purposes — no state law protects marijuana-toking Americans.
“My greatest problem with marijuana is that it’s illegal, which gives Nevadans a false sense of security in this whole thing,” Angle said. “If the DEA has the manpower and wanted to go after this, there is no place in Nevada state law that can protect people because federal law supersedes state law.”
Her opinion, though, ignores states’ rights and individual freedom. Also, Angle’s faith quickly surfaced, extinguishing her argument that she disapproves of medical marijuana primarily on the elementary premise that it’s illegal.
“I would tell you that I have the same feelings about legalizing marijuana, not medical marijuana, but just legalizing marijuana,” Angle offered. “I feel the same about legalizing alcohol.
“The effect on society is so great that I’m just not a real proponent of legalizing any drug or encouraging any drug abuse,” she continued. “I’m elected by the people to protect, and I think that law should protect.”
So how far should government go in legislating morality? Angle believes there’s no way around it. Each and every lawmaker, from city councils to the president’s office, brings their moral convictions to the legislative table. In one way or another, from business practices to war, morals are going to be influenced and legislated.
“I don’t think you can get away from that; people just make value judgments,” she said. “We’re not a neutral society. Politics, especially, are not neutral and no one can come to the table value-less or moral-less.
“I have a very well-developed sense of right and wrong,” she continued, “so I would say to you that it’s not a political thing with me, but a character thing.”
It’s that character Angle feels will send her to Washington. She’s aware of Heller’s success in campaigning, but counters that she’s successful too, winning three consecutive assembly races.
She’s unsure what to expect as far as attacks go over the next 14 months, but Angle said she can back anything thrown her direction.
“We’re not without flaw,” Angle finished. “I’m not perfect. I tried to maintain as consistent a voting record as I could on the issues that are really important to me and to my district. I represented them the best that I could. And I will stand on my record.”