Sen. Bob Bennett declines to 'pull a Crist'

Kudos to Senator Robert Bennett, who lost the nomination for re-election to the United States Senate from Utah. He has declined to launch an independent candidacy, offering a lesson in humility and class to Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who lacks both qualities.

Thomas Burr of the Salt Lake Tribune writes:

He would have liked to run. He would have had support. And, he believes, he could have won.

But under the gaze of a portrait of Ronald Reagan, Sen. Bob Bennett told reporters Thursday that mounting a write-in bid would further split the Utah Republican Party, put a huge financial and emotional toll on his family and friends, and in his own words, add to the "toxic," nasty environment already simmering in his home state.

"If I were to do it that would revive all of those passions and divide the party in the state of Utah in a way that might leave wounds that would go on for months if not years to follow," Bennett said in a stoic announcement....

Of course, it must hurt to be rejected by a populist uprising in his party. But Senator Bennett has found the serenity to accept the verdict, and retire with some grace. Perhaps he understands that this is not an ordinary election year, and that putting one's own career first is the sort of stain that will never fade. Governor Crist likely has no idea how badly he is damaging his name and future prospects by his inability to accept the voters' verdict. Putting his own career first has not worked out too well for Arlen Specter, who has besmriched his name with shameless opportunism. There is still time for Crist to wise up, but apparently the necessary personal character is lacking.