When Republican Utah voters decided they wanted a more consistently conservative representative than a 3-term senator who promised to only serve two, defeated incumbent Bob Bennett had a choice to make. He could exit gracefully and be proud of his service, and a career marked without scandal (an admittedly low bar, but an impressive feat among politicians, nonetheless), or he could lash out bitterly. Like an old fool, he has chosen the latter course.
Lashing out at the Tea Party for defeating him, Bennett puts on an air of fake concern over so-called electoral “mischief,” he chosen word for people selecting candidates who represent their ideology:
Weighing in on election season, Bennett expressed concern over the fiercely contested GOP primary in Colorado and said that, in Nevada, Reid appears to be a shoo-in to defeat Sharon Angle, a tea party candidate who won the Republican nomination last month.
“With the tea party creating the mischief that it is in Colorado, we may not win that seat. My sources in Nevada say with Sharon Angle there’s no way Harry Reid loses in Nevada,” he said about the GOP challenger to Democratic Senate majority leader.
Bennett should find new sources, as the most recent polls have Angle ahead in Nevada. However the race ends up, claiming that the wildly unpopular Reid is a “shoo-in” is absurd. He no doubt has a lot of dirty tricks up his sleeve, but he’s going to have the fight of his political life.
Bennett then lashes out directly at the Tea Party:
“That’s my concern, that at the moment there is not a cohesive Republican strategy of this is what we’re going to do. And certainly among the tea party types there’s clearly no strategy of this is what we’re going to do,” he said.
…Bennett, a policy wonk who typically shuns the spotlight, likened the nation’s political atmosphere to that of the Vietnam War era.
“In those days they were willing to give up on America from the left, and in these days they’re are too many people willing to give up on America from the right,” he said. “I don’t have that sense of despair, which worked against me in the campaign, because they said we want more passion out of you — passion being we want you standing there screaming about how horrible everybody is, along with the talk show hosts that are screaming how horrible it is,” Bennett said.
“And if you don’t scream, you don’t have passion, and if you don’t have passion you don’t care. I’m saying wait a minute, things as bad as they are, are not that horrible.”
The Republican party is indeed lacking a cohesive strategy, but it’s not the Tea Party at fault. It’s old, establishment minded fools like Bennett who can’t admit their role in expanding government and wasting years of Republican control that are standing in the way of party reform. Unlike Bennett, the Tea Party has as simple and cohesive a strategy as there can be: elect people with actual constitutional principles, and then get them to work on cutting spending and limiting government.
Passion has nothing to do with being rude or yelling, it has to do with standing for principles. The go-along-to-get-along style of Bob Bennett isn’t going to rein in and reverse the expansion of a runaway government, halt the radical leftist agenda, close the deficit gap or restore constitutional principles. Bob Bennett has had his shot and he failed. His style is being cast out not because the Tea Party is a bunch of meanies, or has “give[n] up on America,” as he weirdly asserts, but because failed ideas need to be replaced with ones that will work. Unfortunately, Bob Bennett is apparently too bitter over his defeat to think clearly. Someone close to him should save him some embarrassment by kindly telling him to be quiet.
Brian Garst blogs at Conservative Compendium.