In what The Washington Post described as “the most powerful demonstration yet of the anti-Washington tide that is altering the nation’s political landscape,” three-term Senator Robert F. Bennett was defeated at the Utah Republican Party’s nominating convention Saturday.
Bennett, who in the past has supported amnesty for illegal aliens, further angered conservatives with his votes to support the Wall Street bailout program in 2008 and with his work last year to craft a bipartisan healthcare bill with Senator Ron Wyden (D.-Ore.).
In Utah the GOP selects its candidate through a nominating process at its state convention. Bennett polled third behind attorney Mike Lee and businessman Tim Bridgewater in two rounds of voting, according to The Hill.
Tea Party activists are touting the victory as a major step toward returning the Republican Party to its conservative foundations of limited government and low taxes, according to The Post.
As The Post reports: “The political atmosphere, obviously, has been toxic, and it’s very clear some of the votes that I have cast have added to the toxic environment," Bennett told reporters after the defeat. Choking up, he added, "Looking back on them, with one or two very minor exceptions, I wouldn’t have cast them any differently even if I’d known at the time it would cost me my career."
And that was Bennett’s problem. If he ever understood that he should, as a self-avowed conservative, work to limit government and reduce taxes then he forgot it at some point during his 18 years of service. Or perhaps he forgot it long before, as he held an office that had been held by his father, Wallace F. Bennett, from 1951 to 1974 and worked on his father’s reelection campaigns beginning in 1962.
Although the elitist elected class wants to keep power firmly within “the family,”—as evidenced by the endorsements Bennett received from prominent Republican establishment types like Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney—this is not how our Founding Fathers envisioned it.
As Philadelphia Continental Congress delegate Tench Coxe wrote in An American Citizen No. 2, “As our president bears no resemblance to a king so we shall see the Senate has no similitude to nobles. First, not being hereditary, their collective knowledge, wisdom, and virtue are not precarious. For by these qualities alone are they to obtain their offices, and they will have none of the peculiar qualities and vices of those men who possess power merely because their father held it before them.”
Obviously, Bennett’s knowledge, wisdom and virtue were not enough for him to continue to hold onto power, at least not in Utah. And his father’s coattails weren’t sufficient either.
There is a purge coming to Washington and it’s time for the elitists in both parties to begin honing their resumés.