Republicans and Democrats are unanimous: the end of Bob Bennett's career is a loss for the Senate--perhaps for the country. In fact, it is with almost a sense of reluctance that GOP leaders say they'll support the eventual winner of the Republican primary in Utah--likely a Tea Party-backed insurgent candidate with no experience in politics.
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Part of that sentiment, no doubt, has to do with the myopic and inward-looking culture of the Senate itself. Bennett, for better or worse, was part of the club, and the club protects its own. But Bennett--no centrist, he--was, by all accounts ousted thanks to conservative anger over of a handful of instances in which he worked with Democrats, or cast difficult, but perhaps necessary, votes. He voted for TARP, for instance, and he co-authored a far-reaching health care reform bill with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).