by Nathan Empsall, Sat May 08, 2010 at 05:54:58 PM EDT
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.