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Sharron Angle Joins Bush in Praising Dictators

November 18, 2010

Tea Party favorite and failed Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle is no fan of democracy. Angle, after all, declared if her supporters failed to help her "take out" Harry Reid, they should resort to "Second Amendment remedies." Now, two weeks after her defeat at the polls, the Las Vegas Sun revealed that Sharron has a soft spot for dictators. Of course, she's not alone among the leading lights of the Republican Party. Just ask George W. Bush.
As Nevada political analyst Jon Ralston detailed, Angle's authoritarian streak was on display during a campaign discussion about Social Security. While she had gotten into hot water previously over her support for a privatization scheme along the lines of that in Chile, Ralston revealed that Augusto Pinochet apparently had Sharron Angle at hello:

Late in the campaign, during a private meet and greet, Angle was asked about Social Security privatization. She had previously used Chile's Augusto Pinochet's experiment as an example, but had not used it since her staff shut her down. But that day, with no media there, saying her staff had warned her not to use it, she raised the Chile example again and added, "Sometimes dictators have good ideas." Her staff fretted the line would get out. It did not. Until now.

If that sounds familiar, it should. After all, George W. Bush often expressed a similar fondness for tyrants.
During his recent rehabilitation tour, Bush tried to rewrite history by providing a new, post-facto rationale for the Iraq war. "I will say definitely the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power," Bush told NBC's Matt Lauer, "as are 25 million people who now have a chance to live in freedom." But as his past statements show, there was a dictator George W. Bush didn't have a problem with at all: the one in the mirror:

"A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it." (President George W. Bush, July 26, 2001.)
"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." (President-elect George W. Bush, December 18, 2000.)
"You don't get everything you want. A dictatorship would be a lot easier." (Texas Governor George W. Bush, July 1998.)

As it turns out, Bush's would-have-been Republican successor and Angle campaign companion John McCain also joked about the joys of dictatorship. After Congress initially failed to pass the $700 billion TARP bill in the fall of 2008, McCain told the Des Moines Register:

"I just want to make a comment about the obvious issue and that is the failure of Congress to act yesterday. It's just not acceptable. [...] This is just a not acceptable situation. I'm not saying this is the perfect answer. If I were dictator, which I always aspire to be, I would write it a little bit differently."

As for Pinochet devotee Sharron Angle, the Sun's Ralston reported that Senator John Ensign played Harry Reid during her debate preparation sessions. Of course, it's no secret that Angle is gunning for the philandering Ensign's Senate seat in 2012. And if she fails again at the ballot box, there are always those Second Amendment remedies.

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Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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