Orrin Hatch Gets Snowed In

Friday, March 2nd, 2012 and is filed under Blog

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Of all the establishment good ole’ boys in the Senate, Orin Hatch has been somewhat of an enigma.  Most of his 34-year career has been marked with numerous examples of bi-partisan gestures to grow government.  He was a leader in creating a new government-run healthcare program and was one of the original cosponsors of the Dream Act amnesty bill.  Even in recent years he was a reliable vote for TARP and the bailouts.  But unlike other pseudo-conservatives, Hatch wants to play ball with the Tea Party.

After Hatch’s colleague, former-Senator Bennett, was crushed in his reelection bid by the Tea Party, Hatch underwent a cathartic transformation.  He has been voting consistently with Jim DeMint and the conservatives.  He is even hiring many of the activists who ousted Bennett to join his team.  But as his opponent Dan Liljenquist, began to gain traction, it became clear to Hatch that Tea Partiers weren’t buying his foxhole conversion.  They suspected that he would return to his old ways after the election.

So he brought out his last trump card; Olympia Snowe.

Hatch sent out mailers to his constituents insinuating that by deposing him of his Senate seat and ranking member status on the Senate Finance Committee, Olympia Snowe, who is the next in line, would chair that committee.  Hence, the entire domestic policy agenda would be in the hands of a liberal Republican.  It was a nice ploy, but it fell flat as soon as Ms. Snowe announced her sudden retirement.

Now Hatch is expressing regret that he raised the issue of Snowe in the first place.  This, from Roll Call:

In an interview, Hatch sounded almost regretful that the issue was raised at all, saying he previously discussed the matter with Snowe and that their friendship and professional rapport are intact.

“Conservatives who are for me have raised the issue. Now I wish nobody had,” he said. “I’ve always raised it in this context, that Olympia Snowe is our more moderate Member.”

Hatch added that he is deeply disappointed Snowe has decided to retire from the Senate. “Nobody feels as badly as I do that she’s decided not to stay. She’s been a good friend,” he said.

Well, Orrin, it’s not too late for you to join your good friend in your golden age.  Maybe you can set up a new ‘no labels’ group so you don’t have to undergoe the tortuous act of playing conservative.