Former Utah Senator Bob Bennett (R), THE first major casualty of the 2010 Tea Party movement, passed away on May 4, 2016. Bennett was primaried in 2010 and ultimately lost his seat to super-villain, racist and fiscally irresponsible Senator Mike Lee. Because he occasionally acted reasonably and responsibly by compromising, he was kicked out of the modern-day Republican Party.
Suffering from complications from pancreatic cancer, in his final hours, Bennett attempted to make amends with the victims of Trump's awful rhetoric: Muslims. He sought out a few followers of Islam, and assured them that Trump doesn't represent the entirety of the GOP. The Daily Beast explains:
Bob Bennett spent his last days letting Muslims know how sorry he was that an Islamophobe had become his party’s all-but-certain nominee.
His concern for Muslims was not the only issue he raised in his last days: to his brother-in-law, he spoke urgently on plans for low-income housing in Salt Lake city; to his son Jim, he mentioned a land management plan to mitigate the effects of drought.
His replacement, Senator Mike Lee, is the quintessentially awful Tea Party darling. He does the bidding of the gun industry and legislates on their behalf generously. Lee wants to stop illegal immigration except for those who work for rich people as servants. Seriously, he proposed legislation to this effect.
Senators Lee and Bennett, both prominent members of the LDS 'church,' illustrate the stark disparity between two generations of Mormons. Today's crop resemble Mike Lee far more than the late Bob Bennett. The NY Times explained the life and career of Bob Bennett.
Mr. Bennett compiled an 84 percent conservative voting record in his 18 years in the Senate, according to the American Conservative Union. But the biggest blow to his career was the fallout from his vote on the bank bailout, which was condemned by the union and by conservative broadcasters.
In shaping the bill, which was intended to preserve the country’s financial system, Mr. Bennett had worked closely with Senator Christopher J. Dodd, the liberal Connecticut Democrat. The legislation’s centerpiece was the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, created to shore up or bail out failing banks with an infusion of $700 billion in federal funds.
Bennett, who had plenty of blemishes on his record, including a vote against aid for Katrina victims, is practically a saint when you compare him with some of his contemporaries in the Senate. To his credit, Bennett did support embryonic stem cell research and Arctic wildlife conservation. But, he was a staunch opponent of legal abortion, but that's par for the course with a Utah Republican from any era, sadly. One of his ventures, Bennett Paint/Karpowitz Coal is listed as a significant environmental polluter and a public health threat.
There's no denying that Senator Lee is infinitely worse for the common good than his predecessor. Lee led the charge in the Senate by voting against any federal aid for the residents of Flint, MI. afflicted by lead poisoning. This is in addition to his other misanthropic positions, like unfettered gun proliferation, pollution, and xenophobia. The positions of Dominionist Republicans and Lee are hardly discernible from each other.
Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid both eulogized Bennett at his funeral. In part, they were saying goodbye, not just to a colleague who had moments of decency and compassion, they were bidding farewell to cooperation and compassion from the GOP, henceforth.
Mike Lee originally endorsed Ted Cruz. However, Donald Trump selected Senator Lee's brother, Judge Thomas Lee, as a possible Supreme Court nominee, and this will likely force him to get behind the Talking Yam. The malevolent Mitch McConnell has no choice but to pivot farther right and kowtow to Herr Drumpf's insanity. Those who have left Congress are absolutely relieved that they aren't part of Trump's new GOP; meanwhile, those who remain are in for a rough ride on Trump's Hell Express.
If the strokes and pancreatic cancer didn't kill Bennett, the horror of this campaign was sure to do him in. Trump's rise to prominence should force Republicans to see the light, re-brand and start anew. Surely they can't honestly deny that the country is moving in the opposite direction of their party. I am serious. And don't call me Shirley.
Best case scenario? The whole party goes the way of the Whigs.