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Escape Hatch: Out With The Old

Posted on the 23 May 2012 by Anthonyhymes @TheWrongWing

It always seems like a democracy is being governed the way it should have been 30 years ago. This is because it takes so long to get into a position of power. The fiery ideals and mettle that bring candidates to the stump in the first place are put on hold as they navigate the whitewater of national congresses after their first elections. Separated from the reality of their constituencies, politicians eventually reach a height where action is possible. The problem is, they tend to want to stay there.

Utah Senator

Another Tea Party victim?

Orrin Hatch, the lovable Ute owlet and primary pillar of the GOP, is now finally facing a challenge to his supremacy. Hatch has been in Washington DC since America’s bicentenary in 1976, when he launched a campaign to unseat a long-serving Democrat senator from Utah. His message, like Obama’s in 2008, was change. Riding a tide of unease that was flaring up across the nation, Hatch broke out of his egg shell and directly into the Senate on a conservative platform.

Utah is a strange place. Aesthetically it is stunning. Deep colorful valleys like Zion National Park and rock formations like Arches proliferate across the state. But politically, it is about as dull as Kansas. Utah is so Republican it makes Texas look like San Francisco. Hatch, who is Mormon, conservative, and white, is the natural choice to represent the Utes. So natural, in fact, that he has not faced serious competition for his seat until today, when he is 78 years old and looking for that final, seventh term.

There are two sides to the Hatch commemorative coin. At face value, he is hypocritical. He first ran on a platform against incumbents getting too comfortable in office. In this regard he is a giant, overstuffed armchair. It is easy to forget things after 36 years, but regardless, his challengers have a valid point. Thousands of miles away from Utah, and at almost 80 years old, it would make sense for him to retire. He is clearly no longer a representation of Utah’s population.

However, Hatch is experienced. In a district where compromise is being tread on and young larynxes scream about impossibilities, Hatch is a voice of reason. Though conservative, he supported the bail out, debt ceiling increases, and proposed the DREAM Act, which would allow the children of illegal immigrants to gain citizenship through military service or university education. Perhaps most importantly, he is not part of the Tea Party movement which prefers terrorist methods to hold our nation hostage to their radical ideas. Hatch is an establishment Republican, there is no doubt about it, but he is also a politician who is willing to work with the government to make things better. Whether we agree with his positions or not, at least he is someone who can be reasoned with, unlike the groups that are supporting his challenger, Dan Liljenquist.

It would be unfair to criticize Liljenquist before he has had time to serve in office, but his endorsers are starting to cast a black cloud over his head. In fairness, the Tea Party is after Hatch because of their success with ousting Dick Lugar from Indiana. They would support a gila monster if they thought it could beat Hatch in a primary. The way the race is looking — as of right now too close to call — Hatch might be sent into retirement six years earlier than he anticipated, but for all the wrong reasons.


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