On Wednesday night, PBS aired a special in which Bob Bennett gave us all a glimpse into 1) why he's been given an early retirement by the people of Utah, 2) why Republicans fell on their collective faces in the last two elections, and 3) what Republicans can do to get power back and hold it.
Now, keep in mind that this is the same Bob Bennett who has a seat at the Senate Republican leadership table and has had enormous influence on Republican policy and decision-making from the inside. He is the establishment's establishmentarian. His family is nothing short of a Utah political dynasty.
Yet he was roundly defeated in the Utah Republican primary, failing even to make the run-off. If you have ever wondered why, check out his statement during the PBS special:
SEN. ROBERT BENNETT: I found that a good many of the delegates simply wouldn't talk to me. They were so angry, so determined to -- quote -- "send Washington a message" -- close quote -- that coming to one of my events to hear what I had to say on any of these things was -- simply, they wouldn't do.
And many of them who did come, they would hold up their copy of the Constitution, and they would say, if it's not in the Constitution, you shouldn't do it.
Well, I'm not quite ready to go that far in my conservative views.
Really? The fact you said that out loud automatically disqualifies you from being a Senator and begs the question why you continue to call yourself conservative. You are not - I don't care what voting record you tout. Who cares? Because we know that behind the scenes, you are on your best days nothing more than an establishment Republican - and on your bad ones, a Ron Wyden-loving promoter of government-run health care.
Indeed, those of us who actually hold conservative views are QUITE ready for you to go... back to Utah. Because in that one line, you just revealed in a nutshell what has been dragging Republicans down for too long - and that is electing unprincipled moderates like you who fancy themselves conservative yet refuse to actually defend the Constitution.
The good news is that you also make clear that the path back to success is electing Senators and Congressman who recognize that it is their job to preserve, protect and bring back a limited government based on the Constitution.