Monday, May 10, 2010

No Tea For You

The Tea Party just kicked an incumbent out of office for the first time...
Once-popular Sen. Bob Bennett fell victim to a growing national conservative movement with his stunning defeat at Utah's GOP convention.

Delegates voted Saturday to bar the 76-year-old senator from seeking a fourth term, making him the first congressional incumbent to be ousted this year and demonstrates the challenges candidates face from the right in 2010.

Bennett was under fire for voting to bail out Wall Street, co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill mandating health insurance coverage and for aggressively pursuing earmarks.

"The political atmosphere obviously has been toxic, and it's very clear that some of the votes that I have cast have added to the toxic environment," Bennett told reporters Saturday, choking back tears.

"Looking back on them, with one or two very minor exceptions, I wouldn't have cast any of them any differently, even if I had known at the time they were going to cost me my career."

Bennett told The Associated Press he wouldn't rule out a write-in candidacy. State law prohibits him from running as an independent.

"I do think I still have a lot of juice left in me," Bennett said following his loss. "We'll see what the future may bring."
That would be a mistake, but it's his mistake to make. It's clear that the Washington establishment, including the Democrats, the GOP, the media, and every elite member of the inside-the-Beltway crowd, underestimated the movement. At its core, this is a true grassroots uprising. What should truly frighten the establishment is that it's founded on core principles that both parties seem willing to flout and is based around an idea (limiting the size of the federal government) that basically threatens everything that drives Washington.

The left will spin this as the GOP growing more extreme, by kicking out someone who was willing to work with the other side to try and craft bi-partisan solutions. Yet those who criticize it are basically criticizing democracy at its finest -- Sen. Bennett's most active constituents did not want the stimulus package, nor did they desire his work on a healthcare compromise that eventually mattered little. So they voted him out. Is there something truly wrong about that?

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