Finally, political commentator and Tim Russert wannabe Jon Ralston writes something about the U.S. Senate race that tip-toes up on being meaningful.
"The question cannot be ignored", Jon opines in this tortured sentence, "considering all that has happened since the primary: If Sharron Angle truly is as cuckoo as Harry Reid says she is and as her own words occasionally indicate, why isn’t the Senate majority leader, arguably the most powerful Nevadan in history, running away from her in the polls?"
He goes on to speculate about the origin of this angst among Nevadans for their senior senator and calls it "hate" and "profoundly irrational."
Hate? Irrational? That's a view that can only come from a blind supporter of Harry Reid's re-election bid, which both Jon and the Las Vegas newspaper he writes for are.
It's basically calling Nevadans stupid. They say that if only voters could see how powerful Sen. Reid has become in Washington, D.C., and how he can use that power for Nevada's future benefit, Nevadans would be throwing palm fronds in front of him as he tours the state.
So they are at a loss to explain why Reid can't travel the state without protesters greeting him. I pointed to the remarkable angst building in Nevada against Reid some three years ago. In his public visits to Nevada, which have not been many, Reid still keeps his itinerary hush-hush from the media to avoid spontaneous protests. Even in his state-wide re-election campaign bus tour, he would not set foot in White Pine County where residents there especially seem to dislike the job Reid has done.
Look, if you want to be honest in assessing Reid's re-election, you have to come to grips with the fact that his unpopularity didn't just happen overnight. It didn't start with Health Care Reform or President Obama's election. Reid's been in disconnect mode with Nevada voters for years and he's done precious little about it. To illustrate the point, consider Rep. Shelley Berkley. She is an even more liberal Democrat in her politics than Harry Reid. Yet, she maintains popularity in her district by visiting it frequently, courting voters and telling them in a very real way that she's listening to them. (She even tells this newspaper publisher from time to time how full of it he is. In a nice way, of course.)
Reid has done little to reach out to work-a-day Nevadans for years. And now liberal political analysts like Jon Ralston scratch their head and wonder why "irrational" Nevadans "hate" Harry Reid.
Give me a break.
The reason Sen. Reid has not been able to swamp Sharron Angle in the polls at this point is first and foremost this big disconnect Reid has allowed to build up between himself and the people he is supposed to represent.
Secondly, the character assassination strategy of the Reid camp against Angle to make her seem "too extreme" for Nevada says more about Reid's inability to re-connect with voters than anything else. It's a Hail Mary strategy reserved for incumbents who must hide from their record.
Yes, Angle has made a host of rookie errors (and I've called her on them). But they've been honest ones. By that I mean they've involved rhetoric and style rather than character or substance. Every time she gets enough money to get back on her game and turn the attention on the economy and the record of Sen. Reid, she helps herself.
And I guarantee you that every day Harry Reid's big money advantage fails to knock her down in the polls, it's another day Reid supporters privately say "uh-oh".
Or, as President Obama, the Las Vegas Sun and Jon Ralston essentially say: "How can Nevadans be so stupid."