Friday, September 24, 2010

Interview With U.S. Senatorial Candidate Sharron Angle

Conducted on February 21, 2010 by Walter M Nowosad

The Republican: Contained within every bill that distributes monies to the states, there are “strings” attached that seem to hold states in a state of ransom. What steps would you take to preserve our 10th Amendment rights and still meet the needs of Nevada? There was a recorder malfunction. Ms. Angle allowed us to summarize her answer. Ms Angle said that she would first of all repeal those laws that had the strings attached and then re-write them without the strings.

The Republican: Some call our Constitution “Rigid” and some call it a “living breathing document” Which do you believe it is and why?

Ms. Angle: …to confirm judges who will strictly interpret the Constitution when they are strictly interpreting the Constitution then we can begin to look at what the Constitution says about 10th Amendment rights; about the Republican clause, Article 4, Section 4 which says the we have a republican form of government, a constitutional republic…and every state has that same right to a constitutional republic and that it is one of the enumerated powers of the Federal Government to protect our right to a republican form of government. That’s why we have to stay very closely to what our Founding Fathers wanted in that constitution. The 2nd Amendment: another perfect example of where they have taken leave to say that you and I shouldn’t be the armed citizenry or citizen militia. And we all know that an armed society is a civil society. Thomas Jefferson and the Founders intended of us to be that armed militia, not the National Guard or some professional
military force; it was us. So when we look strictly to the Constitution, we will find the answers to a free people.

The Republican: Give us your reaction to this statement, “The US Government is a government with Limited Powers?”

Ms. Angle: Yes. That’s true. Yes. That’s what it should be. If it’s practically speaking; if that’s the application: no. But, yes, that’s what our Constitution says. They have limited powers. Because of the way that our government has been drifting to socialism, and I don’t know what else you can say about that. But because of the left drift, we have given up a lot of the powers that were given to the states, a lot of powers that were given to the people. [The government] has grown into a big Federal Government. And of course Reagan was right when he said that the government was not the solution, it was the problem.

The Republican: One of the possible courses of action to reduce healthcare costs is tort reform. Since this subject is very broad and encompassing subject, how would you approach tort reform in the Congress, assuming you had the majority support in the Congress?

Ms. Angle: The same way that I did in the Nevada State Legislature. As you know we have tort reform for physicians right now in our state. I think we have cap at $350,000 for non-economic damages which I was helpful in getting that passed. I had a more broad-based tort reform bill that I introduced and it was to apply that same non-economic damage cap to every business. As you know, government has a $50,000 non-economic cap and that puts them in a competitive advantage to any kind of private and free market enterprise, so if we’re going to allow government to cap their non-economic damages, we certainly should give that same advantage to every business. It should go to McDonald’s…we’ve watched this whole litigious society just get completely out of control and the reason is we’re not paying just for the damage to your person, let’s pay for medical damages and those kinds of things. What we’ve gone into is these huge awards for non-economic damages. And like I said, I introduced that bill into the Nevada State Legislature to apply non-economic tort reform to every business person…but it doesn’t mean that I quit trying. I would introduce that bill at the federal level too because I think it’s the right thing to do.

The Republican: In every congressional session since 1995, Arizona Representative John Shadegg has introduced the Enumerated Powers Act. In this session of Congress both he and Senator Tom Coburn have introduced bills, HR 450 and S 1319. This bill requires that all bills brought before the congress cite where in the U.S. Constitution authority for such a bill exists. What would your debating points be on an Enumerated Powers Act if it came to the floor of the Senate for debate?

Ms. Angle: I would absolutely vote for that. I would like to be a co-sponsor to that if Congressman Shadegg would accept senatorial sponsorship on his bill. I would like to sponsor it on the Senate side for him. I think it is absolutely a step in the right direction. We’ve been talking about the Constitution. You know that I believe that document is what keeps our freedoms intact and what keeps this constitutional republic together. Until we get back to that document, we will not see a free enterprising society. We need to put our Federal Government in that constitutional box where it belongs.

The Republican: Since the Democrat controlled congress took office, it has passed innumerable bills that seriously affect our everyday lives and that of businesses. Assuming you get elected and the congressional majority shifts to the Republican Party, which actions would you take, if any, with regard to the laws passed by the Democrat majority during the last two years?

Ms. Angle: Repeal them. I have often said that my economic policy is fairly simple: pay back, cut back, and take back. You know, we have TARP money that needs to be paid back…we don’t want it to be a slush fund for our president, and Reid and every other senator that wants a little pork or a little incentive to let’s make a deal. We don’t want that stimulus money to be out there as some kind of a boondoggle as well, a let’s make a deal incentive, nor do we want to cushion, with savings, any department that has leftover monies at the end of the year. Everything, or, not even at the end of the year, if they have left over monies right now, all of that should be put on the debt. We should pay it back. The second thing is to cut back. And by cutting back, we have taxation that we need to cut back on; the capital gains tax that is going to be gone; the death tax that’s going to be gone; the alternative minimum tax; all of the Bush tax cuts, those things should be put permanently in place. We should be starting to look at the corporate tax rat as well. When Ireland can offer a corporate tax rate of 12.5% and we’re up in the 25% to 35%, what incentive do our businesses have to stay here? We need to give that incentivization to stay in our country and build the economy, so that’s the cut back. Taking back is things like audit the Fed. We need to take back our Federal Reserve and say to them, you know, this is not an unaccountable agency that is neither private nor public. This is an agency that we need to know what’s going on because we hold you accountable for a lot of the economic damage that’s been done to our country in the last two or three years, especially where you look the other way as Freddie and Fannie did their magic. Where you looked the other way when it came to raising interest rates and trying to keep some kind of balance. When you looked the other way and didn’t keep a focus on commodities. We need to say to the Fed – you have a job and you need to do it. That’s the first thing, so that audit is really imperative. We can also take back things like the 13th Amendment, I mean the 16th Amendment, we need to begin to focus on a fairer, flatter tax system, something that get rid of a lot of the IRS regulation and code and just gives us a code to start out with which you and I don’t need an accountant to figure out. So we need to be moving in that direction. That’s the take back. Taking back some of our constitutional rights…like I said, we can go in and begin de-funding unconstitutional departments and pulling back those things that the states should have, from the government. So we to, actually, just broadly say, “Take back our country.”

The Republican: The 22nd Amendment limits the Office of President of the United States to two terms. There have been many cases of both representatives and senators holding office for several consecutive terms, even to the point of senility. Do you support a constitutional amendment limiting terms of office for members of Congress to two six year terms for senate and six two year terms for the House?

Ms. Angle: Yes. I’m going to say that term limits seems to be our only alternative. It was the thing that kept FDR from being king, you know he wanted to be king; he would have been king had we not said no. We’re limiting. Its’ too bad that free people, and this was what the constitutional Founding Fathers said, a free people has to be a self-governing, a self-controlling, a self-disciplining people. By that they meant that people need to know when it’s time to retire. They should be self-controlling, but since they are not, we then have to pass laws that make them control themselves which, actually then, limit freedom. So it becomes a “catch-22” when you say term limiting elected officials that should be a self-limiting factor, not something we have to legislate and take freedom away in order to have compliance. So as a strict Constitutionalist, I have a little check there that says “anything that limits freedom is not a good thing”, but in reality, in the practicality of it, it looks like these folks are not self-limiting or self-governing or self-controlling in any area and so therefore it would not be a legislated limiting our freedom. It would be the people limiting that freedom and that’s completely within the constitutional realm of activity. Whenever you have the people passing constitutional amendments, that’s the proper way, the proper way to make our constitution grow and change if that’s required. That’s the only way and there are other constitutional amendments, of course, but repeal of the 16th Amendment would be a terrific constitutional amendment. So there are other places I would like to author constitutional amendments and, as you know, I have a bit of practice at it here in the State of Nevada with the Nevada Property Tax Restraint Initiative. I’ve run that and qualified it for the ballot, so I know the hard work that it takes to do constitutional amendments. And I’m not opposed to doing it…that’s the proper way to make law.

The Republican: Referring to the previous question, would you support an amendment to the U. S. Constitution to require justices of the Supreme Court to be appointed for a twelve year term by the President, with a limit of two terms.

Ms. Angle: This is U.S Supreme Court judges?

The Republican: Yes.

Ms. Angle: Since they are already appointed, yes I would. I don’t support appointment of judges on the state level and the reason is because the people now elect judges and I think that the absolute best way for us to get judicial accountability is for them to have to come to the people and justify their actions from the bench. Since that is not the way our Constitution at the federal level works, the next best thing would be to limit how long they can sit on bench.

The Republican: This would give them the term that they need for experience and then at the end of the 12, there would be a new president who would have the option of saying yea or nay.

Ms. Angle: It also gives the people cause to reflect on who they elect as a president when they understand that that election is…[unexpected interruption]…when it would give them pause to reflect what kind of president that they want appointing judges. If you are looking at the strict constitutional…judges legislating from the bench, you would not want to elect a president, then, that believes we have a “living document” that we’re under rather than…[unexpected interruption]…so that would be my point, that it would hopefully inspire voters to become more informed about who they are electing for these positions and just what’s at stake when they do.

The Republican: The War Powers Act cedes certain authorities, specifically, ersatz-declaration of war power, to the president to commit U.S. Forces to conduct warfare. What are your thoughts on the president’s power to declare war without a declaration from Congress? This question was not asked in the interest of time.

The Republican: There is rising support for the repealing the 17th Amendment and returning to the original intent of the Founding Fathers to have state legislatures appoint senators. What would you say to the people who support such action?

Ms. Angle: You know, I know where they were going with that when the Constitutional Founding Fathers put the appointment by the state legislator in place. They were looking at truly representative government and representatives
that were able to appoint the next senator. However, having served in the legislature, I trust the people more than I trust the legislators. So I’m not sure I would be in favor of repealing that just because my, and you may want to call me populist on this, but I really do believe that in the climate we’re living in right now, the people are probably a better place to take a vote than in your legislature. Just looking at what they have done to us in 2009 and 2003, and having sat in the minority party and had to push so hard against a majority that was bound and determined to go against the wishes of the people. They were not, they are not representatives. They still are not representatives. We said “no new taxes, no new taxes” and I heard that loud and clear and yet they are going to convene on Tuesday, and guess what? They’re going to be looking at new taxes, so I again say I would put myself in the hands of the people any day for a better outcome than in the hands of my legislature at this particular juncture. If we get more legislators with a personal character and integrity, then maybe we’ll revisit the 17th Amendment.

The Republican: Posse Commitatus has been in effect since 1878. This act was intended to prevent use of military forces of the U.S. to enforce state laws after the Civil War. Some think that we should use our forces to seal our borders, both north and south, to prevent movement of illegal aliens as well as fight the drug trade. If you support such action, what sort of amendments to the Posse Commitatus Act would you propose?

Ms. Angle: You know, to me, this is a sticky wicket and it’s because of what we saw happening with [hurricane] Katrina when Federal Forces went in to do cleanup and emergency help, aid. And they took away guns…2nd Amendment rights of citizens. That gives me cause to consider when any time I ask for the Federal Government to come in to do something the state should be in charge of, I worry about my constitutional rights. As far as the illegal immigration problem that we have, and it is truly a deep concern…I like to go to certain definitions. First of all, what about “illegal” don’t we understand? If they are breaking the law, then they are criminals and we should never give criminals citizen privileges nor rights nor opportunities. Criminals don’t deserve those rights, privileges, or opportunities. Arizona and Oklahoma have now passed state laws that says basically, we’re going to enforce the law. These are criminals and we’re enforcing the law. They got a good sheriff, Arpaio, to enforce the law and guess what? They don’t have the illegal problem that they did have; in fact, it is starting to diminish because Sheriff Arpaio has taken that charge seriously. So what I’ve always said that this will go away, these folks will self-deport and the reason are: they can’t get a job; if they can’t have access to our medical facilities; if they can‘t have access to our educational system; if they don’t have access to welfare privileges; if they don’t have access to rights of citizens, [then] they have no reason to be here; they have no incentive to stay here. They will go where they do have…that place that allows it. I think every state needs a sheriff like Arpaio.

The Republican: I think we have one here in Douglas County.

Ms. Angle: Good. Well, you know I think that’s probably a better solution than inviting the Federal Government to take up the cause. Although, you know there is certainly a good argument for our border being secure. We have a National Guard we could use to secure borders.

The Republican: State run.

Ms. Angle: That’s exactly right. California has one; Arizona has one; Washington has one; New York State has one. We have boundaries and those states that have the borders should be in charge of those borders making sure that not only they are secure but the rest of us are as well.

The Republican: What are your thoughts on legislation being a statement of a single issue, having no amendments, much like Nevada’s Questions or California’s Propositions?

Ms. Angle: We do have a single subject law in Nevada. It’s a little too broad for my taste. As you know, in 2003, anything that said tax in it was considered single subject and so all of a sudden we had everything in that bill. And the same thing when it says appropriations some time that becomes a single bill. So I think that that is truly the answer because legislative powers reside in the legislative arm of the government, not in the executive arm of the government, although I do favor a line item veto…I think that’s another stop-gap. I do favor that, but I think that the first step would be legislator who would be willing to introduce the “single subject law”. I think that that gets away from a lot of the pork, a lot of the riders that we see coming flying out on good legislation that make them absolutely stink so that you can’t even hold your nose to vote for them. So, a single subject rule is a good idea plus line item. I think then we would get down to: what is it we are talking about; we would get simplified bills so that we’re not reading 2700 pages of different legislation, however, I’m sure that all falls into a single subject, if we got technical. You know when you say single subject, the you have to define how singularly is that single subject and still it comes back down to we make a lot of rules, we can make a lot of laws, but if you don’t have people with integrity, they will find a loophole every time and basically the answer to every one of these questions is – vote for someone you trust. Vote for someone that you know is going to do the right thing whether you are looking or not.

The Republican: Should the president have line item veto power?

Ms. Angle: Yes.

The Republican: I think you’ve also covered this. Strict Constitutionalists think that most of the Cabinet positions and their associated bureaucracies are a drain on our national treasure. Would you support divesting these positions of their mandate power and moving that authority and responsibility to the individual states? Examples: Department of Education and the Department of Energy.

Ms. Angle: I did answer that didn’t I? Absolutely. EPA…anything that isn’t within the purview. You know I think that we DO need to have a Department of Defense. That’s constitutional. There are things that we can’t do as states that we need a Federal Government to do and that’s why the constitution outlines those enumerated powers and says let us negotiate treaties; let us negotiate rules of commerce, international commerce; let us, you know, as a group, and that’s why you send your representatives to the Federal Government is to do both kinds of things. Not to tell the states how to run their business.

Walt Nowosad conducted interviews with various candidates for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate from Nevada prior to the Primary Election.  All candidates were asked the same questions, except as noted.  Answers were recorded verbatim, except as noted.