The transformation of the Republican Party since Obama’s election has been a series of confusing spectacles, the most recent of which is Sharron Angle’s nomination to run against Harry Reid in Nevada for a spot in the Senate. The Nation’s Washington editor Christopher Hayes appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show to discuss the GOP’s zany campaign tactics and attempts to mask Angle’s absurdly far-right stances, something Maddow dubs a “political science work of art.” Whereas Angle formerly supported the privatization of Social Security, for example, she now claims she’s hoping for personalization.

How does wonky backpedaling like this fly in a Senate race? “The conservative media machine is so massive,” Hayes says, “it’s almost possible to run a whole campaign in which you more or less just operate in that bubble and relegate the rest of the press to sort of second-order reporting of what you said.” And because the Republican establishment isn’t going to back off, it’s the job of the voters and the rest of the press to second guess Angle. “She should be asked, in debates, to explain why she thinks fluoride is international conspiracy. She should be able to explain her views on the US withdrawing from the UN," Hayes says. "She should have to defend all of these sort of black helicopter views in front of the populous and to skeptical reporters."

—Carrie Battan