(Mark Noonan) – That is actually a quote which came to mind today as I read an article over at the Nevada News Bureau. It was said by Peter Stolypin, a prime minister of Czarist Russia. This proves both how cluttered my mind is with political trivia and, also, how eternal are the events of politics.
Sue Lowden is right now hammering Sharron Angle over Angle’s votes regarding legislative pay. This is the Battle for TEA.
Both Lowden and Angle know that the key to victory is the populist-conservative activists of the TEA Party movement, so the race for the GOP nod has come down to a matter of who has the strongest anti-government street cred. The basic accusation is that Angle – who has been preening herself as the ultimate in conservatism – voted to raise her own pay, twice.
It is a sign of how small the policy differences are between Lowden and Angle that this is now become a major bone of contention. From the Nevada News Bureau report, it is clear that it wasn’t that Angle was lavishing tax payer dollars upon herself. One vote was to send the matter of a pay raise before the voters (where we voters opted for “our you kidding?” as our response), the other vote was in favor of a pay raise which took effect after Angle left office. Angle’s defense is that neither of these votes were to directly, immediately benefit herself.
But, still, it is a hard hit on the surging Angle.
Some answers in politics are really easy. When asked for an opinion on motherhood, the answer is “I’m awed by the love and devotion of mothers”. When asked about what to do with criminals, the answer is “punish them”. When asked if a politician should get a pay raise, the answer is not “no” but “NO!!!!”. There is never going to be any way a politician can justify a pay raise for politicians – and this especially true for any politician who in any way, shape or form aspires to the label of “conservative”.
Angle should have known better – the fact that she’s now trying to say the bills were complicated isn’t going to help. If the bill is complicated and hard to understand, then the vote should be “no” – one of the things people are sick of is hard-to-understand legislation being passed by politicians who later claim ignorance of the law’s provisions.
It’s no use getting mad at Lowden about it. Her team did some first rate opposition research and found out something Angle would prefer lay buried in the past. This is not the Revenge of Lowden, but the consequences of politics. The only way to defend against such things is to form a clear position on issues and then apply that position to legislation. Angle wants to be the conservative’s conservative. She should have either voted the other way, or told us about these votes before her opponent brought them up a couple weeks before the primary.
And let this be a lesson to all of those in politics, especially those who want the votes of an outraged and increasingly conservative electorate. Don’t ever try to pull the wool over our eyes. Don’t ever vote against the interests of the people. Never assume we won’t find out, or that we won’t get angry when we do find out.
The time for political calculation is past. It is the time for principled leadership which will do the people’s business. Angle may survive this and go on to win. Lowden may use this to drive the last nail in Angle’s political coffin. However it comes and and whomever wins the GOP nomination had better understand that there are consequences in politics and that there is no way to hide questionable actions.