June 30th, 2010
02:45 PM ET
4 years ago

Bennett: Republicans need to present more ideas

Bennett has some tough words for members of his own party.
Bennett has some tough words for members of his own party.

(CNN) – Republican Sen. Bob Bennett – the first incumbent senator this cycle to fall victim to a primary challenge – says his party isn't doing a good job of advancing substantive ideas.

"As I look out at the political landscape now, I find plenty of slogans on the Republican side, but not very many ideas," Bennett told The Ripon Society, a Republican think tank in Washington.

"The concern I have is that ideology and a demand for absolute party purity endangers our ability to govern once we get into office," Bennett also said in his speech Wednesday.

Facing significant anger aimed at Washington and at some of his past votes, the three-term senator was eliminated last month from seeking re-election to a fourth term, becoming the first incumbent to fall victim to the growing anti-Washington mood ahead of the 2010 mid-term elections.

Bennett came in third in a second round of balloting at the state party convention behind more conservative candidates. While Bennett had won the support of several conservative organizations and has received negative ratings from liberal groups, some of Bennett's critics focused on his vote for the 2008 financial bailout. He also took fire from some conservatives for working to forge a health care bill with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden.

"Indeed, if you raise specific ideas and solutions, as I've tried to do on health care with Wyden, you are attacked with the same vigor as we've seen in American politics all the way back to slavery and polygamy; you are attacked as being a wimp, insufficiently pure, and unreliable," he said.

Still, the Utah Republican said the momentum is on his party's side as the midterm election season gears up.

"The pendulum will swing, and we will take control of the House - I think that's going to happen… 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?'"


Filed under: Bob Bennett • Utah
soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. NVa Native

    How about some ideas?
    Any ideas?
    Simpleton bumper-sticker slogans don't cut it in the real world.

    June 30, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  2. snow

    When the Republicans retake the congress in 2010 and 2012 along with the White House, they will be forced to deal with the cuts in programs that the demorats will not even admit have problems. The demorats only solution is to print and throw more money at entitlements when I am afraid entitlements will need to be cut for our nations stability along with deep cuts in spending which is another thing demorats cannot do.

    June 30, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. ETM

    How can they present ideas when they have none except cut taxes for the wealthy.

    June 30, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  4. anotherGDlefty

    Why is it that they cannot tell the truth until they are out?
    Man up, speak up while it can still matter.
    Remember the last GOP presidential slogan...COUNTRY FIRST?

    "As I look out at the political landscape now, I find plenty of slogans on the Republican side, but not very many ideas,"

    Amen brother.

    June 30, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  5. Jack the Vet

    Wow...that's the biggest mouthful of truth I've heard from a Repub in a very long time; admitting they have no solutions; just slogans. Good luck with taking back control; most of us with a brain haven't forgotten the swell job your past regime did. You're done.

    June 30, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. Bubba

    They have made their plan quite clear: they refuse to participate in democracy and are fomenting rebellion.

    June 30, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. MB Seattle

    Bob Bennett should get credit for the big aha of the day. Republicans and Tea Part Republicans are bankrupt when it comes to new ideas.

    It takes two oars one on each side of the boat to move us forward. Both parties are to blame for moving us in circles.

    Do your jobs please.

    June 30, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. Clint, Wa.

    God, that is a brillant idea, why didn't I think of that?

    June 30, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  9. CommonSense

    Finally, a Republican telling the truth after getting beat!!! The party of no ideas, no vision, no real leadership, or no nuthing!!!!

    June 30, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  10. aliou in Jacksonville, FL

    I am lovin'it. A party of "no" ideas? How cool is that!!!! Where can I buy a party card? No work just slogans. I would like to be a slogan making machine for the party (Not that the party lacks any of its own. They have plenty). But you see, in the democratic party, you actually have to bring up ideas to be considered for any position at local or national level. In the republican party, you probaby have to take a tea party card as a precondition to membership in the republican party?

    June 30, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  11. Larry

    Republicans don't have any ideas. They're too obsessed with making our country fail.

    June 30, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    It's comical that he said the republicans have to present "more" idea. The only idea they ever present is "no". They have to first have an idea in order to present it which they don't. The GOP's plan is just to sit on the sidelines and say no, and hope the American don't notice.

    Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO.

    June 30, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. Delaware Girl

    "The concern I have is that ideology and a demand for absolute party purity endangers our ability to govern once we get into office," Bennett also said in his speech Wednesday.

    Ya think??

    June 30, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. Bertina

    Wow, really? Democrats have been saying that since day one but Republicans have been refusing. I wonder if anyone in the Republican party will take this advice and actually give some ideas instead of how to obstruct.

    June 30, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  15. MAhole

    When the only idea that you have is NO, I guess you are 100% correct sir............

    June 30, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. Fed Up!

    Amen to that!

    Besides "no," I haven't heard any Republican positions, platforms, or policies.

    June 30, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. Byrd

    Yeah, well don't hold your breath on that one. Corporate America doesn't pay these guys for new ideas – it pays them, in off-shore accounts, to maintain their unholy staus quo. Apparently, only the Press is being fooled here, but then Murdock makes his payments as well.

    June 30, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. Darth Vadik, CA

    2 year olds don't need ideas, they just need to know how to say NO NO NO NO NO

    June 30, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. Tina in PA

    Yeh, how about helping with solutions instead of knocking down and administration that is trying to improve things and help the american people.

    If you Republicans don't start helping the people with the unemployment issues instead of blocking all measures of help I have a feeling you guys will be the ones to feel the brunt of it come election time.

    Stop with the all the money (billions) you need to fight uneccessary wars and help the people right here who don't have jobs.

    June 30, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  20. Thomas

    Where is all the Republican commentary? A member of your own party sees that there are no meaningful ideas or solutions!

    June 30, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    Wow ... a self-aware Republican. Who'd a thunk it!

    June 30, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  22. Roadrage

    I think this is the kind of Republic I actually like.. one that tries to comprimise, meet in the middle and actually solve problems. But, as we all can see – this is NOT the kind of Republican that the GOP actually wants in their party. They want pure "nay sayers" who balk at everything and don't really try to fix problems.

    The truth is – both partys need to comprimise and fix things – that's how things get done. This country won't work on an entirely GOP or Dem platform – as much as both party purists will never admit to it.

    Oh well.. the millions of us in the middle will just sit around while the country crumbles from both ends. Pathetic.

    June 30, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    "As I look out at the political landscape now, I find plenty of slogans on the Republican side, but not very many ideas,"

    Sen. Bennett, you should've made this point while you were running for re-election. The DNC needs to use this quote in one of their ads.

    June 30, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  24. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    Oh, I don't know, Boner had a brilliant idea in the Boston paper the other day: cut social security to pay for the war. Funny how mainstream newsertainment hasn't picked up on this. Have a nice day!

    June 30, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. Elliott Carlin

    RHINOs need to switch to the Dim Party and get it over with.

    We need stark differences now more than ever.

    Bennett is bitter...he's had his ride on our dime.

    Move over.

    June 30, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
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