I have been watching with curiosity the articles about efforts by an aggressive few Tea Party activists within the Utah Republican Party to unseat Senator Orrin Hatch in the next election. I have also noted that they are getting some out of state back up to unseat him. I am always curious when there is external influence and when there are internal efforts within a Party to get rid of someone with enormous power for that party and, more importantly, for that State. It is no secret that Senator Hatch is Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee and if the Republicans regain the Senate, he will be Chairman. That is very big for any state. If someone should beat Senator Hatch, the new Senator goes to the bottom (or nearly the bottom) of the totem pole in influence. That is not idea for any state. Sometimes it is worth it, sometimes not.
Is there a back story?? I decided to look deeper. The push against Senator Hatch is not being conducted by a large number but because of the peculiarity of the Utah system of election nominees, a small organized group can have a giant effect.
If indeed Senator Hatch’s politics are not those of the Utah Tea Party activists, I can understand there efforts to beat him with another candidate. They want someone who champions their issues. Who doesn’t?
So the obvious question for any Tea Party voter in Utah: is Senator Hatch championing the cause of the Tea Party in Utah or not? If not – vote against him. If he is – vote for him. It is that simple.
Out of my own political curiosity ( I obviously don’t vote in Utah) I decided to take a look at the facts and investigate a bit. Here is what I found:
First, The Tea Party appeared on the scene in about April 2009.
Second, 18 months later, in November 2010, the Tea Party exercised its political muscle and elected Tea Party Members of Congress. The mantra of the new Members of Congress, and what the Tea Party Congressional winners ran on is, “balanced budget amendment.”
The “balanced budge amendment” is central to the Tea Party movement so naturally I wondered where Senator Orrin Hatch is on the balanced budget amendment. If he has been meek, and a disinterested politician on the sideline, I can understand the indifference to him by some members of the Utah Tea Party movement.
I had some research done for me and I completely expected to find a recent article with him making a statement in support of the balanced budget amendment. Since I figured lots of politicians, recognizing the influence of the Tea Party movement, are now supporting it, so I was simply looking to see how strong his words of support have been.
But what our research revealed is stunning.
Below is lifted from a Washington Post article (January 28, 2011.)
“….In 1997, Hatch led the charge on a resolution for a balanced budget amendment that won the support of 66 senators — including 11 Democrats — but ultimately fell one vote short of the two-thirds necessary for passage….”
1997????? It turns out that Senator Hatch was 12 years ahead of the formation of the Tea Party, and 13 years ahead of the newly elected Tea Party Members of Congress on the issue of “balanced budget amendment.” It is almost as if the balanced budget amendment, whether you agree with him or not, is in his DNA!
I would think that fact alone would make him the champion (the visionary?) of the Utah Tea Party.
Am I wrong ?
PS Since writing the above…I have received even more research! Apparently Senator Hatch introduced Senate Joint Resolution 86 on June 7, 1979 and it included a Balanced Budget Amendment and identifies the national debt as an issue. That is 30 years ahead of the current Tea Party movement!
If I do any more research, I am likely to find he was also involved in the Tea Party in Boston in 1773! :)