“At the Far Edge”
August 23, 2010, 12:00pm

New York Times.

For months, it has been clear that Republican Congressional candidates would benefit from independent voters’ dissatisfaction with President Obama. With the Republican field now largely in place, all voters might want to take a close look at who those candidates are.

The party has nominated so many at the far right of the spectrum, as well as some other unusual choices — Linda McMahon, the candidate for the United States Senate in Connecticut made millions running the sex-and-violence spectacle known as World Wrestling Entertainment — that the Republican brand is barely recognizable. Consider:

Ken Buck, the United States Senate nominee in Colorado. A former district attorney, he has said that the separation of church and state is too strictly enforced and wants to eliminate the Energy and Education Departments. Until recently, he supported repealing the 17th Amendment, which provides for direct election of senators. In the primary, he said he should win because “I do not wear high heels” — his opponent was a woman. As a federal prosecutor, he was reprimanded by a United States attorney after he gave information about the weakness of a case against gun dealers to the defense.

Rand Paul, the United States Senate candidate in Kentucky and physician, who has criticized the minimum-wage law and the civil rights and fair housing laws. He wants to cut way back on unemployment insurance and has denigrated Medicare as “socialized medicine.”

Sharron Angle, the United States Senate candidate in Nevada, who believes that same-sex couples should not be allowed to adopt children, that the United States should pull out of the United Nations and that Medicare and Social Security should be phased out in favor of a privatized system. In May, she suggested to The Reno Gazette-Journal that if she failed to defeat her Democratic opponent, Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, then conservatives might have no choice but to turn to violence. “I look at this as almost an imperative. If we don’t win at the ballot box, what will be the next step?” she said.

Mike Lee, the United States Senate candidate in Utah, who said he favors repealing the progressive income tax and supports a low cap on liability for oil companies that cause extensive environmental damage. He is one of the many Republicans who support changing the 14th Amendment to prohibit American-born children of illegal immigrants from being granted citizenship.

Democrats have hardly been paragons of courage during this election cycle, whipping up phony fears that Republicans are on the verge of dismantling Social Security. Some, notably Senator Reid, have refused to stand with President Obama on the right of Muslims to build a community center and mosque in Lower Manhattan. These new Republican candidates are out of touch with mainstream American values of tolerance and pretty much everything else. They need to be challenged head-on.