Sunday on “Meet the Press,” he reacted to Utah’s Republican Sen. Robert F. Bennett’s third-place finish in the Republican primary with the uncharacteristic statement: “This is a damn outrage.” He went on to say that Mr. Bennett was “a good conservative who was trying to get things done;” that he was “bravely” working with Democrats to help pass the Troubled Asset Relief Program and health care bill. “Now, he’s losing his career over that. And it’s just a damn outrage.”
By contrast, I and others, as members of the shocked and appalled group, know the senator to be a fine, intelligent and honorable man, usually conservative, but not doctrinaire. In normal times, his commitment to working the interstices of the two parties on behalf of getting something done would be both admirable and useful. But, while sorry for him as a person (he deserves a better career end than this) I was delighted to see him lose because the next Congress is going to need a lot of a certain type of politician — and Mr. Bennett is not that type.
We need determined men and women who share the view of us shocked and appalled Americans that we are in crisis — and that we cannot wait until 2013 to stop the madness and start the rollback. Winning a majority of Republicans in November without electing a majority for radical, immediate rollback will be essentially as good as losing. As a Republican Party man for 46 years, I have, until now, always thought it was better to win a majority any way we can.