Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch has survived to fight another day.
It wasn’t without an effort by those within his own party to unseat him, though.
The 78-year-old Hatch — who won his first term in the Senate six terms ago by campaigning on the belief that the man he was running against had been in office far too long (when Hatch himself has now eclipsed that stretch by a wide margin) — was facing a primary challenge by Tea Party candidate Dan Liljenquist, a state legislator, on Tuesday in the GOP primary. Hatch has come out comfortably victorious.
In the process, Hatch had to fight for his political life, within his own party. It’s been entertaining. Campaign ads have been on television for months, with Hatch’s campaign focusing on 1) the chance that Hatch could become chairman of the Senate Finance Committee so he can help bring in a Balanced Budget Amendment and lead the fight to repeal new health care laws along with Mitt Romney (seeing Mitt standing alongside Hatch in staged stills has been a common scene), and 2) arguing that Dan Liljenquist didn’t show up to vote in the Utah Legislature nearly enough.
Meanwhile, yard signs have been all over the place, with the most interesting ones being the “Retire Hatch” signs, proudly paid for by FreedomWorks, the Tea Party folks.
Could this possibly mean that the Tea Party is losing some steam as time marches on? Not necessarily. More likely, it means that Dan Liljenquist was just too weak a challenger. There are plenty of Tea Party-like politicians running around Utah whose names are better known than Liljenquist. Plus, that thought of Orrin Hatch leading the Finance Committee has to be more than enough to get conservatives all excited.
Utahns aren’t going to throw away that possibility.
For a taste of what was on Utahns’ minds when it came to Hatch vs. the Tea Party, I’ll go to a few comments in the Salt Lake Tribune’s online edition on the story, starting with a person calling themselves “BlkCon” (as in black conservative) …
“You people don’t know Utah. I’m in the TEA Party. And I voted for Hatch. We’re not going anywhere. If we wanted Hatch gone (and his opponent had been a true Conservative) he’d have been ousted. This is what we valued in Hatch. His Reagan support. His fearless support of Justice Clarence Thomas, his being the FIRST person to even discuss a balanced budget amendment, his seniority and imminent Head of the Finance Committee. He and Mike Lee work very well together. Dan Liljenquist just didn’t have the credentials or the record. Sure, Hatch had some questionable things. But, when people like Sarah Palin, Mark Levin and Sean Hannity endorse the guy, do you think he would get 67% of the vote WITHOUT us? Please. We’re just as strong as ever. Sorry to burst your bubbles.”
And this from someone calling themselves “TIMERUNNER” …
“the tea party wasn’t against Mr Hatch.
i refer you to Palin speaking about Hatch! on youtube.etc
he needed to win! he is a true republican, and very close to consrvative. Note a stinking RINO.
“tea party patriot
we had his back!”
And in response to “TIMERUNNER,” this from “sbenard” …
“Every single tea party person I know, including myself, all my friends, and most of my relatives, voted for Liljenquist. As a member of the 912 Project in my county, I haven’t seen a single person post a comment on our website in Davis county in favor of Hatch. We have 750 members and are the largest chapter in Utah!
“You are the ONLY person I’ve seen who claims to be a tea party person who was in favor of Hatch. I find it amusing that you claim to be a tea party person, and favor a man who said that tea party people 1) aren’t conservatives, 2) aren’t Republicans, 3) are a bunch of ‘radical libertarians’ (Hatch’s own words), and 4) he wants to punch them in the mouth. You got the back of a man that said that about YOU?
“Since the tea party favors Constitutionally limited government, free enterprise, and fiscal soundness, all of which Hatch has compromised, I must find myself questioning your commitment to tea party principles — just like Hatch! His record belies his words. He is more RINO than you’d like to admit!”
And this from a conservative going by “Pro-America” …
“Hatch is the only resaon we have any power in the Senate. You Tea Paerty people have been smoking too much tea. You would have that insane Paul running. I swear Soros and Buffet pays your bills to keep you short term, small minded group of fools together.
“You disgust me!!!
“The game end would be the end of our country, which is what you support!”
Which brought the following response from “sbenard” …
“Sounds like you are drinking a heavy dose of spiked Koolaid. The Tea Party stands for three things: Constitutionally limited government, free enterprise, and fiscal soundness. Unfortunately, Orrin Hatch has compromised all three. If that “disgusts” you, then what does that say about you?
By the way, one DRINKS tea, not smokes it! Perhaps you could start addressing your delusion by studying some history! One place to begin would be by studying Hatch’s history. He is NO consistent conservative. That’s why most tea party conservatives were opposed to him becoming the most senior career politician in the US Senate.”
Which brought the following rebuttal from “Pro-America” …
“Facit me eruditae studiosum historia, et non aliqua tag linea stultus qui emit in via de! Re eligendi Obama et conficere hac, ego sum questus nova de dare damnant! Ego sum etiam factum loquentes ad idiotwho sunt omnes ore et non cerebrum.”
Is the Tea Party dead or dying? Well, not quite. But the natives with the tea bags are getting restless, perhaps.
Copyright 2012, Daddysangbassdude Media
- Sen. Hatch survives conservative primary challenge in Utah (firstread.msnbc.msn.com)
- Hatch overcomes tea party challenge to win primary (news.yahoo.com)
- Orrin Hatch Wins GOP Senate Primary (huffingtonpost.com)
- Did Dan Liljenquist scare the conservative into Beltway barnacle Orrin Hatch? (twitchy.com)
- Hatch Wins Utah Primary; Rangel Triumphs In N.Y. (npr.org)
- Hatch Wins Big (investmentwatchblog.com)
- Orrin Hatch’s Fate, Last GOP Primary (abcnews.go.com)
- Orrin Hatch beats Liljenquist in Senate race (abc4.com)