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.