Sunday, May 09, 2010
Eating Their Own
Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly has, for my money, the best take on this....
If speeches at the convention were any indication, Utah Republicans found Bennett unacceptable for two main reasons: his support for the Bush administration's TARP bill in 2008, and his willingness to work on a bipartisan health care reform bill -- the Wyden/Bennett "Health Americans Act" -- that enjoyed support from several conservative Republicans, but never actually received a vote. These hardly-outrageous departures from the far-right line led Tea Partiers, the Club For Growth, and others in the party base to deem Bennett unacceptable, despite his consistently conservative voting record...
As for the bigger picture, Bennett's convention defeat is yet another reminder of a Republican Party that has very little tolerance for those who fail to toe the right-wing line in every instance. The examples keep piling up -- Arlen Specter, Dede Scozzafava, Charlie Crist -- and the "purge" is likely not complete. The goal, apparently, is to create a smaller, more rigid, less reasonable party, which discourages diversity of thought.
Utah's results also send a message to Republican lawmakers who might consider constructive lawmaking: don't do it. The GOP base doesn't want responsible leaders who'll try to solve problems; it wants hard-right ideologues.
Keep marching off that cliff, Goopers. As a partisan, this makes me happy. The further the right moves towards authortivness, the more they marginalize themselves, and the easier it is for Democrats to get elected. As a patriot and pragmatist, I find the GOP's move towards the irrelevance of bipartisanship to be an ever more frightening development, as it makes effective governance and practical legislation all but impossible.