Orrin Hatch, Utah Politics

Utah’s Time to Lead? What happened in the First 36 Years?

Not A Leader

Q-  What do you call a Senator who’s served in office for 36 years?

A-  You call him an entrenched, out-of-touch, entitled, big-government, earmark-happy cling-on who doesn’t have the faculties about him to know “It’s Time.”

After spending 36 years soaking in the cesspool of the US Senate, Orrin Hatch has now declared that it’s  “Utah’s Time to Lead.”  Of course, what he is referring to is that there is an outside chance, as the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, that he will become the next Committee chair…should the Republicans win a majority in the Senate.


The fact of the matter is…the Utah Senate race will be won by a Republican.  Whether tired, old Orrin wins a seventh 6-year term, or Dan Liljenquist wins his first…there is no way that seat goes to a Democrat.  Therefore, this race has no bearing on which party ends up with a Senate majority.  And if the Republicans are fortunate enough to win back the majority, guess what?  A Republican will be the chair of the Senate Finance Committee.  That means if Hatch were to lose, there’s a better than average chance Republicans could put someone in that seat who is much more fiscally conservative than Orrin “Earmark” Hatch.

One of his arguments for sending him back for years 37-42 is that he has so much seniority.  Why is that a good thing?  In my view, it simply means he has spent 36 years in Washington playing the right games, stroking the right people, and helping to create the fiscal disaster we now face while on his way to becoming the most senior Senator in the Republican Party.

So it’s Utah’s Time to Lead, is it?  And I suppose Orrin Hatch is now the leader Utah needs.  Is that what we’re supposed to believe?

Senator, what did you do with the first 36 years?  Utah elected you to be a leader wayyyy back in 1976.  Why are you waiting until 2012 to decide it’s time for you to step up?

Real leaders don’t need to outlast everyone else in order to lead.  They don’t need to become a senior citizen in order to warrant the professional respect of those with whom they serve.  Oh sure,  Washington insider’s love Orrin Hatch.  He’s one of them.  He’s become a fixture in Washington.  He’s a guy they can count on to drag himself from Washington every six years, spend a few months back in Utah conquering the token Democrat du jour in the reddest state in the nation, and then resume his place among the other high-fiving entrenched insiders.  But that doesn’t make him a leader.  As Michelle Malkin so adequately puts it, it makes him a “Beltway Barnacle”…encrusted on the bottom of the USS Porkbarrel…playing footsie with people like Ted Kennedy as he is dragged along for the congressional perk-filled ride.   But that doesn’t make him a leader.

Leaders don’t require six terms in the DC sewer to become leaders.  How long did it take South Carolinas junior Senator, Jim Demint, to take a leadership role?  How about the first termer from Florida, Marco Rubio?  On the House side, how many years did it take Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan to willingly put a target on his back while leading out with solutions to the financial catastrophe Hatch and his cohorts created?  How about fellow-Utahn, Mike Lee?

In contrast to Hatch, Senator  Lee…the Constitutional scholar from Orrin’s home state of Utah (not that he really even lives there anymore)…has distinguished himself as a leader in Washington in his very first term.  Senator Lee, a member of the Tea Party Caucus (you know, one of those people crotchety old Orrin wants to punch in the face), has taken a leadership role in finding solutions to the titanic deficit that grew out of control during your first 36 years.   He hasn’t waited until Washington has had the opportunity to sink its hooks into him and suck out the initiative and energy he had when he first ran for office.  He actually remembers what he was elected to do.  I’m not sure Hatch can even remember what he had for breakfast.

Senator Mike Lee R-Utah

I believe even Senator Hatch recognizes the leadership qualities of Senator Lee.  After all, Orrin has spent the past two years shamelessly grabbing every possible opportunity to link himself to Senator Lee, including multiple photo ops that have ended up on the countless mailings he has sent out trying to convince the people of Utah that he is now a fiscal conservative.

It’s not that I don’t agree with Senator Hatch’s campaign slogan, “Utah’s Time to Lead.”  It’s that I believe Utah actually needs a real leader in Washington.  Unfortunately, Orrin Hatch hasn’t proven in his first 36 years that he could be that leader.

Leader or not, I’m sure Orrin’s grandkids still love him.  It’s time for the people of Utah to follow the example of the voters in Indiana, who retired fellow barnacle, Dick Lugar.  Let’s hope they can help 78-year-old Orrin Hatch free up a little more time to spend with those grandkids very soon.


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"There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by sword. The other is by debt." -John Adams 1826


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