Yesterday, Utah Republicans meeting in convention in Salt Lake City ousted three-term senator Robert Bennett and even before it happened, the hand-wringing was beginning as how terrible it is. That such a man that was willing to reach across the aisle gets the boot.
BOO! HOO! BOO! HOO! BOO! HOO!
Please, that is what the primary process is for.
However, I will state that the way the Utah Republicans and Democrats get there is a bit undemocratic.
For the Utah GOP, three candidates stood for nomination. Sen. Bennett's opponents were businessman Tim Bridgewater and attorney Mike Lee. Sen. Bennett survived a first round, but finished third in the second round. Since neither Messrs. Bridgewater or Lee got the required 60% of delegate votes, all Utah GOP voters will get to decide whether Mr. Bridgewater or Mr. Lee will carry the GOP banner in November.
But what this vote signaled is not the hand wringing of such "conservatives" as the Washington Post's Kathleen Parker.
Three things came to pass that ended the career of Sen. Bennett.
Sen. Bennett is now going to be wrapping up a third term in the senate. That is 18 years. And Mr. Bennett is 76 years old. If he were to win the party nomination and win a forth-term, when he would leave or maybe even run again, he would be 82 years old. Not that there is anything wrong with age, it is already having 18 years to be a good and or effective senator.
Having been in Washington for 18 years in this climate is a bad thing. People in Utah may have fired the first shot across the bow of any incumbent, Democrat or Republican. Given the chance, Utah Republican convention delegates said thanks, but no thanks, to Sen. Bennett for another term in office. What Utah Republicans said and will say in November is that it is time for someone new to be a senator from the Beehive State.
Three, trying to cut deals with Democrats.
This is the grievous sin of Sen. Bennett, especially in regards to the TARP bailout and working with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on another bad version of so-called health care "reform". One that would force Americans to buy health insurance or be fined. Never mind that Sen. Bennett did in the end vote against the so-called health care "reform" bill that, voila!, includes the mandate to buy health insurance. He was working to get this in a bill. This mandate.
It is a sign that Sen. Bennett has been inside the Beltway a little too long.
See, reaching out to the other side means that a Republican and or a conservative is accepting the liberal-left premise and trying to somehow put even a nominal conservative, Republican stamp on bad legislation.
And while there is no doubt that many of those participating in the Utah Republican convention are Tea Party people, it is a good thing. It is new blood in a party that needs it.
What the Republican party does not need is more Bob Bennetts.
And in the linked Mrs. Parker column, even she admits that it is not a bad thing to, well you read:
It is certainly not objectionable that Americans reshuffle the deck now and then. Entrenched politicos become too beholden over time to special interests, as well as to the very relationships that sometimes can be useful to the common good.
Mrs. Parker states the obvious. That Sen. Bennett is entrenched and becoming a creature of the special interests that he no doubt ran against.
But Mrs. Parker writes this, as if it is a bad thing:
But in purging impure Republicans from the ranks, tea partiers ultimately may manage to further shrink the GOP by alienating those repelled by purity tests.
Funny, no one ever thinks that when Democrats have primary battles. Funny how many on the left berated Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) for daring to run as an independent when he lost the Democrat primary in 2006 to Ned Lamont. In fact and indeed, Sen. Lieberman is the rarest of Democrats that reach across the aisle to help Republicans pass legislation. For that, he has all but been banished from the Democrat party. No one cries for that on the other side.
This is why we have primaries. This is why the voters, eventually in this case, will decide which Republican can best run and win in November.
That is what Beltway people like Mrs. Parker do not seem to grasp. That voters get to make the choice. And sometimes, even a good senator like Bob Bennett needs to be shown the door. New blood is what both parties need every generation. It is that time in Utah.
We should not wring our hands but help whoever wins the primary in Utah. It is change that people are seeking after two years of a lot of the same. Promises that have been broken time and again from the Dear Leader, President Obama, all the way down. People want real change. And we are soon going to see what that change looks like.