While not naming names, 12-year incumbent Rep. Bob Inglis suggested in interviews with The Associated Press that tea party favorites such as former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and right-wing talk show hosts like Glenn Beck are the culprits.From CNN:
He cited a claim made famous by Palin that the Democratic health care bill would create "death panels" to decide whether elderly or sick people should get care.
"There were no death panels in the bill ... and to encourage that kind of fear is just the lowest form of political leadership. It's not leadership. It's demagoguery," said Inglis, one of three Republican incumbents who have lost their seats in Congress to primary and state party convention challengers this year.
Inglis said voters eventually will discover that you're "preying on their fears" and turn away.
"I think we have a lot of leaders that are following those (television and talk radio) personalities and not leading," he said. "What it takes to lead is to say, 'You know, that's just not right.'"
Inglis said the rhetoric also distracts from the real problems that politicians should be trying to resolve, such as budget deficits and energy security.
"It's a real concern, because I think what we're doing is dividing the country into partisan camps that really look a lot like Shia and Sunni," he said, referring to the two predominant Islamic denominations that have feuded for centuries. "It's very difficult to come together to find solutions."
"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.Bennet's comments highlight my utter confusion as to why anyone would ever vote Republican this year. See, I'm not a democrat. I think I've made it perfectly clear that I'm a liberal and unfortunately for me, they are not the same thing. If we had a real progressive party in this country, like a socialist party or some other horribly un-American lefty commie group, then I probably wouldn't vote democratic at all. But since that isn't the case, I tend to vote Democratic because I just don't have any other option. So I understand the whole "lesser of two evils" crap just as much as anyone else who isn't a party enthusiast, but I don't understand how anyone could vote for someone who doesn't have any policy ideas. That just doesn't make any sense to me.
"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
"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?'"
Either way, I guess we'll just have to kick some politicians out of office to get any kind of realistic answers. And that's mighty fine by me.