In an interview with AP, Senator Bob Bennett of Utah, a staunch conservative who lost his party’s nomination because he is not completely deranged, argues that the base of his party is, well, completely deranged:
Bennett, a policy wonk who typically shuns the spotlight, likened the nation’s political atmosphere to that of the Vietnam War era.
“In those days they were willing to give up on America from the left, and in these days they’re are too many people willing to give up on America from the right,” he said. “I don’t have that sense of despair, which worked against me in the campaign, because they said we want more passion out of you — passion being we want you standing there screaming about how horrible everybody is, along with the talk show hosts that are screaming how horrible it is,” Bennett said.
“And if you don’t scream, you don’t have passion, and if you don’t have passion you don’t care. I’m saying wait a minute, things as bad as they are, are not that horrible.”
(Emphasis added). This doesn’t sound like someone who is willing to forgive and forget. At least I hope not, especially since he is looking at new career options:
Bennett, the grandson of a Mormon Church president, said he’s still not sure what he will do once he leaves office. Options he’s considering include serving as the head of a trade association, working as a professor, consulting law firms and going on the lecture circuit.
He also said he would consider getting back into the business world. Before running for office Bennett headed a public relations company, a computer company and a firm that produces day planners.
Maybe one of those options would include serving as an Ambassador. That might be arranged in exchange for a few votes on cloture. Would his former collagues filibuster him? Who knows.
Other allegedly sane Republican Senators, like George Voinovich of Ohio, have proved resistant to the appropriate blandishments, but perhaps that’s because Voinovich is considering working as a lobbyist. It really depends upon what you want to do: if you’re going to be lobbying your former colleagues, don’t tick them off. If Bennett is serious about working for a “trade association” or “consulting law firms,” which basically means lobbying, then there’s no point. If not, then it might work, especially on issues like financial reform, where the partisan valence is less harsh than with, say, health care.
Bennett’s keeping his options open; the administration, should, too.