GOP's Civil War Opens Front in Utah

Sen. Robert Bennett considered soft for voting for bailout
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2009 9:18 AM CST
Senate Banking Committee member Sen. Robert Bennett questions a witness during a committee hearing on the bailout of American automakers, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008, on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – Veteran Utah Sen. Robert Bennett is the latest target of the insurrection within the GOP against incumbents seen as insufficiently conservative. The choice is surprising, the Los Angeles Times notes, because there's "nary a whiff of personal or political scandal" about the three-termer. Bennett's crimes: his longevity, his professorial manner, and vote for the financial bailout.

Since that vote last fall, Bennett has opposed virtually every bill included in the Obama agenda, but he has also refused to join in the attack on the president as a socialist menace. Bennett dismissed socialism as a buzzword that distracts from the nation's real problems, such as the burgeoning deficits. He also worked with Democrats on a bipartisan health reform bill, which went nowhere, but attracted the attention of the conservative Club for Growth, which has since targeted him with negative ads.