Bob Bennett is extremely conservative. Like really, really conservative. But he is not a yahoo, like, say Tom Coburn or James Inhofe (both R. OK). No firebrand, Bennett is the kind of person that conservatives need--a steady, reliable vote who is willing to speak civilly with those across the aisle and will not terrify the legion of independents.
That's not good enough for the radicals who are taking over the GOP. They only want fire-breathing true-believers.
I've already gone out on a limb and said publicly that the Democrats will not do as badly in the mid-term elections as is widely expected. They may lose seats--that's normal in off-years. But as the six months to November unreel, I expect that the sensible center will begin to reject the anger and simple-minded nostrums of the extremists. Even if I am wrong about 2010, even if the anger in the nation is even deeper--and broader--than it seems, the Republican Party has taken a turn down the road to irrelevance.