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To hear what motivates them is to begin to understand what’s going on in American politics in 2010.

Really, in America itself.

Her accent seems better suited for an episode of “The Real Housewives of New York City” than the Chaparral Country Club in Bullhead City. Yet here she is, Hildy Angius, holding court with three men who’ve just finished a round of golf in this retirement community.

Her hand is filled with fliers for a mixer sponsored by the Colorado River Republican Women, the organization she heads. “It’s more like a voter registration. A lot of elected people. It gives you a chance to go out and yell at them if you have any problems or questions,” she tells the golfers.

Turns out they have plenty they’d like to yell about. Says one: “Why are we in such dire straits?”

“Democrats!” his buddy exclaims. The first fires back: “How about debt?”

Spotting an opening, Ms. Angius launches into a speech: Don’t gripe, do something. Vote. Volunteer. Knock on doors. Do what she’s now doing: Whatever it takes to move the Republican Party, and the government, to the right.

Ms. Angius acknowledges she did little more than complain until September 2008, when she realized Barack Obama was likely to win the presidency, bringing to office a liberal agenda that would mean the kind of changes she vehemently opposes. That fall, she found the Colorado River Republican Women - and an outlet for her dismay. In January, she was elected president of the club. Soon after, she volunteered as a precinct committee person.

At 51 and retired, she now spends her days organizing events featuring Republican candidates, getting ready to go door to door to get voters to the polls for Arizona’s August primary and writing newsletters that help promote town-hall meetings, conservative initiatives and tea party protests. Besides Searchlight, she attended an earlier gathering in Washington, D.C.

But the tea party didn’t shape Ms. Angius; she’s not even a member of any local “chapters.” Her views developed long before, growing up on Long Island, the youngest of three children in, as she describes it, an upper-middle class Jewish - and politically conservative - home.

Her father, Ed Linn, was a writer who profiled everyone from baseball great Sandy Koufax to Jack Kennedy. He instilled in his daughter the core tenets of conservatism: hard work, self-reliance, small government and low taxes. He also taught her to stand up for her beliefs, a talent that came in handy for a girl who attended state university in Albany with mainly liberal friends, worked in Manhattan doing public relations and whose childhood chums, not to mention a lot of relatives, are mostly Democrats.

What finally pushed Ms. Angius to action was President Obama, and it infuriates her when some suggest race is somehow the motivation. For her, it comes down to the divergent ideologies of left vs. right, and a feeling that American conservatives have been marginalized for years.

Ask her to explain, and she talks about a feeling that something is just “wrong.”

“This is not the direction that the country is supposed to be going,” she said, citing financial bailouts, the stimulus bill, health care, immigration. “Things are changing at warp speed in a way that’s not going to be good.”

And so, she says, people are getting more involved.

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