The efforts by the far right to turn the Republican Party into a very small tent continue. The defeat of Robert Bennett for the Republican nomination in Utah is being called a victory for the tea parties. Bennett is a conservative Republican Senator but for the extreme right any variation from their views makes one a RINO and target for defeat.
While technically this is a victory for the tea parties, it must be remembered that the tea parties is just another name for the extreme right wing. Their battles to remove anyone who doesn’t follow their platform to the letter has gone on for years.
Bennett came under fire from the far right during his last term in the Senate:
Until this year, Bennett faced few challenges in this reliably Republican state. In 2004, no one opposed him for the Republican nomination, and his general election victory was so assured that he didn’t spend a penny on television ads. In 2006, he earned a 93 percent approval rating among Republican primary voters.
But Bennett came under fire from conservative activists for voting for then-President George W. Bush‘s bank bailout measure in 2008 and, more recently, for working with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on a health-care overhaul bill. Bennett has also taken heat for reneging on his campaign promise in 1992 to serve just two terms. He is also a close adviser to McConnell, and he sits on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, which opened him to blame for ballooning government spending.
And it was not just the tea party that criticized him; the Washington-based Club for Growth, a long-standing advocate for fiscal conservatism, began running television ads against Bennett in March — and set up a booth, alongside FreedomWorks, at the convention on Saturday.
Much of the criticism is not over specific issues:
Indeed, Bennett’s critics have been harsh and unequivocal. One of them posted this comment on Twitter during the convention: “Bob Bennett fails to even mention the Constitution once during his speech before the delegates.” Others chanted “TARP! TARP! TARP!” as he spoke, a reference to his vote for the bank bailout, the Troubled Assets Relief Program.
I find it far easier to overlook Bennett’s failure to mention the Constitution than it is to overlo0k the degree to which the tea party members are working to destroy the principles of our Constitution and the values of the Founding Fathers.
Bennett’s defeat is more a sign of the extremest views of the activists who dominated the convention as opposed to Republican voters state wide. Bennett remains more popular than the conservatives who defeated him. There has been speculation that he might still run to keep his seat. The deadline has passed for him to get on the ballot separate from the Republican Party. He could still legally run as a write in candidate, but this always makes victory far more difficult. For now Bennett says he plans to support the Republican candidate.