Sharron Angle's Shameless Attack: Sen. Reid Supports Viagra For Sex Offenders

October 07, 2010 5:16 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Sharron Angle

Last March, in a desperate attempt to kill health care reform, Senate Republicans introduced a series of "politically juiced-up amendments" to the Affordable Care Act. The purpose of the frivolous amendments was to make Democrats choose between sending the bill back to the House or looking bad for opposing common sense initiatives. As Talking Points Memo's Brian Beutler explained, "Republicans want to turn those votes into negative campaign ads ahead of this November's election. Once the votes are cast, the ads all but write themselves."

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) offered perhaps the most noteworthy proposal, an amendment to ban coverage of erectile dysfunction drugs for sex offenders. In the interest of passing the bill, Democrats defeated the stunt amendment, leaving themselves open to attacks. Now, as predicted, Sharron Angle (R-NV) is running an ad suggesting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants to use "taxpayer dollars" to provide "Viagra for convicted child molesters."

NARRATOR: Here's the kicker: Reid actually voted to use taxpayer dollars to pay for Viagra for convicted child molesters and sex offenders.

If Coburn's ulterior motives weren't clear enough, noted that the far-right senator's own health care bill did not include the so-called Viagra amendment.  So while Coburn was committed to derailing the Affordable Care Act, he wasn't nearly as concerned about keeping "happy pills" away from sex offenders.     

Washington Monthly's Steve Benen calls Angle's ad "blisteringly stupid," noting the larger dynamic at play: "Republicans have come to believe this is the way one wins elections. And when it works -- Angle is leading in a few new polls, by the way -- it sends a signal to lawmakers like Coburn to keep playing childish games with the policymaking process, and to GOP candidates everywhere that sleaze like this will be rewarded by voters."