Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) Loses Re-Election Bid At State Convention

The tea party defeated conservative Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) at today's Utah Republican Party state convention. Bennett is the first Senator to lose in a primary this year. Chris Cilizza has the facts:

Utah Sen. Bob Bennett lost his bid to be nominated for a fourth term Saturday, defeated at the state Republican Party convention by a strong conservative sentiment that threatens to unseat other establishment-backed GOPers in the months to come. Bennett... came under fire in recent months for what some claimed were his insufficient conservative bona fides.

As evidence his detractors cited his vote for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) as well as his seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee -- both symbols, conservatives said, of his lack of commitment to shrinking the size of government...

Under convention rules, all eight candidates appeared on the first ballot. The top three -- attorney Mike Lee, former Congressional candidate Tim Bridgewater and Bennett (in that order) advanced to the second round of balloting. Bennett was defeated there as Lee, a former counsel to popular former Gov. Jon Huntsman, and Bridgewater who had lost two races against Rep. Jim Matheson (D), advanced to the final ballot.

Catch that? It's not that Utahans didn't like Senator Bennett - they just feel that Republicans shouldn't be allowed to serve on the Appropriations Committee. Wow.

The tea partiers say that Bennett isn't conservative enough, a rather shocking claim when you look at his various scores and ratings. The National Right to Life Center gives him a 100; the ACLU gives him a 0. The American Conservatives Union gives him an 84 and the Family Research Council an 88; the AFL-CIO gives him a 9 and the AFSCME a 0. Oh, what's that you say? Tea partiers are fiscal, not social, conservatives? Okay, then how 'bout that 100 score from the US Chamber of Commerce, or the 90 from Americans for Tax Reform?

These numbers lend credibility to Bennett’s position that his crime was not being too "liberal" but rather not being outspoken enough in his opposition to those different than him. The Salt Lake Tribune:

He's a man more comfortable working behind the scenes, securing money for Utah projects, smoothing out bureaucratic problems, whispering in the ear of the Republican leader.

Now engaged in a fierce battle to keep his job, Bennett, 76, is hearing from incensed Republican delegates that they want a fighter. They want someone to publicly and loudly combat what they see as the excesses of the Obama agenda.

"So I do my best to give them anger and passion when I'm talking to them one on one," Bennett says. "I don't necessarily toot my horn in the way I think most politicians do and I apparently have paid the price for it. I'm trying to repent."

Because the tea parties want you to know that America isn't about democracy or tolerance, it's about tyranny with them in charge. There is no room for debate.

Voters Don't Like Tea Partiers

The findings of a new ABC News/Washington Post poll:

Among registered voters, 15 percent say they’d be more likely to support a candidate for Congress who’s associated with the Tea Party movement – but 24 percent say they’d be more apt to oppose such a candidate. Focusing on strong sentiment produces a similar result: Just 9 percent are “much” more likely to support a Tea Party candidate, vs. 17 percent much more likely to oppose one.

[...]

Among all Americans, 34 percent say the more they hear about the Tea Party the more they like it, but 43 percent instead say the more they hear the less they like it.

The media continues to be fascinated by the group of ardent conservative Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents who form the base of the GOP -- the type of people who still approved of George W. Bush back when 70 percent or more of the nation disapproved of the job he was doing as President -- but when it comes to actual voters, it turns out that there isn't nearly as much interest. And if there is interest, it's not positive. Many more say they're likely to oppose than support at Tea Party-backed candidate than support one. Many more say the more they hear about the Tea Parties the less they like them. Perhaps it's time to stop the fascination with this exceedingly overly covered group?

Tea Party: Let's Murder Senator Murray

Just back from a "vacation" in New Hampshire. Will probably write about NH politics soon.

Back in August, I blogged almost single-mindedly about the dangers of extremism. I was worried not about the policy implications of the Glenn Beck/Tea Party crowd, but of the risk just one bullet inspired by their rhetoric could pose.

My blogging has backed off, but their violent fetishes have not. From the inland northwest, that majestic region that claims my high school years and parents, comes this disturbing note:

They say it's all about traditional values and pushing back against the government.

And there were some strong words spoken at Saturday's Tea Party in Asotin.

"How many of you have watched the movie Lonesome Dove?," asked one speaker from the podium. "What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd? What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd. He got hung. And that's what I want to do with Patty Murray."

Lewis and Clark Tea Party Patriots' co-chair Doug Schurman said around 500 people showed up for the rally at the Asotin County Fairgrounds.

Look, I was born and raised in Texas. I love Lonesome Dove. I love it so much that the Tea Party spokesperson first loses my respect not for his remarks, but for calling it a "movie" when it's actually a miniseries. But - you've got to find this rhetoric dangerous and disturbing, and down-right unAmerican. I do not think that Rangers Gus and Woodrow would approve.

They're Going Galt! A Day Without Conservatives

It's hard to keep up with all the conservative nonsense but there's a movement afoot among the Tea Party set to declare a Going Galt day. On July 30th, conservatives are 'going Galt,' named after Ayn Rand's famous character John Galt from her novel Atlas Shrugged. On that day conservatives plan to 'call in conservative.' Here's their call to inaction:

On July 30th, Conservatives are "Going Galt".

On that date, we are asking Conservatives all across the nation to "Call in Conservative". On July 30th, Conservatives will not work, we will not buy. Instead, we will spend time with our families and friends. We will show President Obama and Congress who REALLY drives this economy. For more information on "A Day Without Conservatives, contact Judson Phillips.

Mr. Phillips lives in South Carolina. Writing in the Columbia Conservative Examiner, Anthony Martin supports the call to 'going Galt' stating that:

Conservatives will show the nation what it would be like if we simply did not work or spend our money.  This means that on that day we will not buy groceries, gasoline, snacks, patronize restaurants, or head out to Walmart or Target or any other retailer.

If this means businesses lose billions of dollars on that day, fine.  If this means that travel will be disrupted, good.  If this means communication systems are crippled, so be it.

Can you imagine the number of conservatives that work in various sectors of the economy who simply will not work on July 30?  Can you imagine that not a single conservative will spend their money at restaurants, gasoline stations, or retailers on that day?  The potential for this protest is enormous.

But government has pushed the citizens to this point.  For now, this is a peaceful but firm protest to show Washington and 'progressives' that they can no longer expect us to simply roll over and play dead as they ram a socialist agenda down our throats.  There are more of us than there are of them.  We can shut this country down if we so choose.

Or they might prove their own irrelevance.

There's more...

so how are those tea parties coming?

i am going to be anxious to see glen beck this evening, perhaps he will faint or something....i know, wishful thinking.

but, since glen and fox and certain gop tax crazies, since they ramped up to the big tax rallies on 4-15....what has been the most clear political change to follow?

yes, arlen does democrats....so, thanks glen, perhaps with your mingling with a whole mess of whacked out sore losers...perhaps you and your ilk helped the pennslyvania senator join the force for democracy, and shunned the gop...

There's more...

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