Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thank you, Senator Bennett

I would like to acknowledge and thank Senator Bob Bennett for his years of service to our country.  I am not related to him in any way, but I did work as an intern for him ten years ago, when I was single and fresh out of college. At the time, I was undecided about my political persuasion.  I have since come to the certain conclusion that I prefer the values of the Democratic party, but that does not prevent me from respecting Senator Bennett for his intelligence, diligence and patriotism.

While I was working in his office, I had to hold my tongue when my coworkers sang praises to the likes of Charlton Heston.  However, the Senator was also involved in many efforts that can be admired from either side of the aisle.  At that time, cyber terrorism  was a new and emerging issue, and his colleagues relied on Senator Bennett to develop legislation to address this new kind of crime. 

He is extremely intelligent.  Occasionally, he would gather his staff and we would pepper him with questions.  Without prior preparation, he would answer with details from history and economic theory. 

Not too long ago, his fellow Utah Republicans bashed the Senator for agreeing with President Obama that Sarah Palin’s “death panels” comment was an irresponsible lie.  He should be more loyal to his party, they argued.  His voting record is loyal to his party (too loyal, from my perspective as a Democrat) but he believes that the people should get accurate information, even about bills he does not support.

His party voted him out of office last weekend.  Many Utah Republicans claimed that he is too liberal.  I am a registered Democrat and I assure you that he is in no way liberal enough for my taste.  However, the “tea party” heretics who are now dominating Utah politics accuse people of socialism whenever they exercise common civility, are willing to compromise to get things done, or make choices based on the needs of the country rather than ideology. 

These dominant Republicans want someone more like them: less effective, less smart, but louder, meaner, and even more right-wing (as if Bennett wasn’t right-wing enough!)  Since most Utahns vote straight Republican ticket in the general election, I am sorry to say that the heretics will probably get their way.

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