Benton has a history of disdain for common folk, lesser 'politicians', and anything less than the standard to which he has become accustomed.. and unfortunately represents the element of disconnect within the party which current grassroots efforts seek to expunge. The Seattle Weekly reports:
In 2002, in the middle of a dire budget crunch, the Vancouver state senator threw a much-lampooned temper tantrum over capitol renovations that temporarily cost him and his colleagues their exclusive dining room, with its French-trained chefs. Instead, the state senators would have to share facilities with lowly House members and eat food from a kitchen that also served--imagine the horror--the general public.
"THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE," Benton wrote in a letter also signed by 36 other state senators. "We as members of the Senate have come to look forward to the quality of food prepared by [Senate chefs] Jean-Pierre and Kerri [Simon], as well as the quiet camaraderie of our fellow Senators in a private setting."
Without intent on becoming an attack article against Benton, the OBVIOUS must be addressed.
First and foremost, the Democrats are going to light up Sen. Benton for his 'Typical Elitist Republicanism'. In a year when grassroots efforts are striving to find candidates that appeal to the Independent voter, an entrenched Republican with a history of campaign contribution penalties and 'elitesque' outbursts is going to pull the credibility rug out from underneath his feet, and that of the Party.
Secondly, Sen. Benton's first move was low mudslinging politics. Instead of kicking off his campaign by drawing a contrast between himself and the extremely liberal incumbent Patty Murray, he takes a shot directly at the back of his conservative colleagues. This style of dirty politicking is unacceptable in the 2010 race, and should not be condoned or ignored. Qualifications for legitimate candidacy for US Senate is going to take more than "time served"... it is going to take something more, something uplifting and rooted in deep core conservatism. Sen. Benton's remarks are simply a low blow to those brave citizens willing to stand up when no one else would, work the campaign trail as private working citizens, an take a stand against entrenched corruption. Those comments should be an insult to every private citizen, and serve no purpose other than to intimidate private citizens from entering public service. Rooted elitism, which will be a theme of the Democratic counter-campaign, is clear.
In closing, the entrance of Benton into the race adds a layer of expierenced political campaigning needed against an entrenched liberal in an arguably blue-ish state. Unfortunately for the GOP field, Senator Benton's presence in the race seems to have dirtied the water considerably from the start. I can't imagine that Benton plans to adjust his aim at Murray until after he has dutifully attacked the brave private citizens already building their case at the grassroots level against the soon to be former US Senator!