Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) has some tough words for his party. Bennett became the first incumbent senator to lose his re-election bid in 2010 after his defeat at Utah’s Republican convention in May. Speaking yesterday to The Ripon Society, Bennett predicted Republicans will win the House — and maybe even the Senate — this fall, but he expressed doubts that the party has the ideas needed to govern successfully.
“As I look out at the political landscape now, I find plenty of slogans on the Republican side, but not very many ideas,” Bennett said. “And indeed, if you raise specific ideas and solutions, as I tried to do on health care with Ron Wyden, you are attacked with the same vigor as we’ve seen in American politics all the way back to the arguments over slavery and polygamy. You are attacked as being a wimp, insufficiently pure, and unreliable.”
Bennett argued that as things stand now, Republicans could lose control of Congress as quickly as they win it.
“The pendulum will swing. And we will take control of the House — I think that’s going to happen — and frankly, with the death of Robert C. Byrd there’s a chance we will take control of the Senate as well,” he said. “At which point, it’s ‘thank you for the slogans’ and ‘thank you for the election.’ But in the immortal words of Robert Redford in the movie, The Candidate, ‘What do we do now?’”
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com