Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 30, 2010

QUOTE OF THE DAY.... Sen. Bob Bennett (R) of Utah, one of the highest-profile victims of the Republican Party's ideological "purge" this year, won't even be on the ballot in November, freeing him to be a little more candid as his Senate career comes to a close.

His party would be wise to take Bennett's concerns seriously.

Bennett told a Republican group the party could even take back the Senate soon but will lose both houses just as fast if the GOP continues to rely on slogans and not solutions.

"As I look out at the political landscape now, I find plenty of slogans on the Republican side, but not very many ideas," Bennett told The Ripon Society.

"Indeed, if you raise specific ideas and solutions, as I've tried to do on health care with [Oregon Democratic Sen.] Ron Wyden, you are attacked with the same vigor as we've seen in American politics all the way back to slavery and polygamy; you are attacked as being a wimp, insufficiently pure, and unreliable." [...]

"The concern I have is that ideology and a demand for absolute party purity endangers our ability to govern once we get into office," Bennett said.

I suspect many in the Republican Party will dismiss this as sour grapes. Bennett was rejected by his own state party caucus, they'll say, so he's just bitter now.

While I certainly can't speak to Bennett's motivations or state of mind, I think his observations about Republicans are critically important. The party that once liked to throw around the "party of ideas" moniker has become devoid of almost all thought. Indeed, in most GOP circles, ideas themselves are suspect -- they're probably the result of some kind of egg-head intellectual who reads books instead of watching Fox News.

Bennett has to be frustrated that his career his is ending because members of his own party were outraged that he tried to solve problems by working with other senators (i.e., his job). But the more important point is that the development itself is evidence of a Republican Party with a kind of reflexive sickness -- an allergy to substance, problem-solving, compromise, and reason.

It's not healthy.

Update: An emailer reminds me that Republicans have occasionally come up with policy ideas in recent years, but they end up opposing their own proposals once Democrats agree. Good point.

Steve Benen 1:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (11)

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Comments

Since Republican senators construe their jobs as nothing more than showing up to vote 'No', is there any reason to continue paying their staffs? How much money would that save? Could it offset part of the cost of Wall St reform?

Posted by: MCD on June 30, 2010 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Heh, don't cry too many tears for Bennett. He was knuckle-dragging with the best of them. He just didn't knuckle drag enough.

Posted by: Phillypeen on June 30, 2010 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Indeed, in most GOP circles, ideas themselves are suspect

Further proof that the GOP has devolved from an active political party into an extremist cult.

Posted by: electrolite on June 30, 2010 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

"It's not healthy."

Of course it's not. The GOP as currently configured is a malignant cancer on the body politic. Who's going to pick up a scalpel and remove these polyps?

Posted by: bdop4 on June 30, 2010 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

This clowns another in a long line of Republicans who say what's wrong when they're on their way out, rather than when they could maybe do something about things.
Right, Ike?

Posted by: c u n d gulag on June 30, 2010 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans have occasionally come up with policy ideas in recent years, but they end up opposing their own proposals once Democrats agree.

Is this really ideological purity, when they think if it isn't just them and no one else it isn't pure enough?

Posted by: cld on June 30, 2010 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Haven't folks on the left been exercising the ideological purufication process also? Or was Blanch Lincoln just a mistake?

Remove first the splinter from thine own eye...

Posted by: bodiddlybop on June 30, 2010 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

bodiddlybop you moron, Blanche Lincoln has consistently voted against the President's and the Democratic Party's agenda on key, highly visible issues.

Bennett has NEVER done that, the "worse" that he's done is agree to discuss issues with Democrats and come up with some compromise.

The two are not even closely similar.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on June 30, 2010 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Dr. Morpheus, you cut me to the quick.

Translation of your reply: "Blanche Lincoln isn't a liberal, and the Dems have no room for those kind of people."

Ideological purification.

Posted by: bodiddlybop on June 30, 2010 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

well, we almost got to the status of 3rd World banana republic under W's guidance. the dumb Americans bailed them out along with the Banksters.

if the Republicans success in stopping the Kenyan Usurper from doing much works out as planned, we might just get to reach that status once they are back in power, whether 2 years from now or whenever the idiots votes them back in.

the republicans know how to sell. they just don't have a clue on much of anything but how to efficiently destroy, rape and pillage, which the Democrats only appear to do halfheartedly. So, i'd imagine hastening the fall will be one good point in voting Republicans. the Democrats certainly only know how to stall.

Posted by: Bernard on June 30, 2010 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Last time I checked, Blanche Lincoln was the Democratic Party nominee for Senate in the state of Arkansas. Or am I mistaken?

Posted by: bucky on July 1, 2010 at 7:50 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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