OPINION – There was a time when I thought Sen. Orrin Hatch had a certain degree of statesmanship about him.
I thought that despite all of his ideological posturing there was an inner core to the man that geared him towards what was good for the nation over everything else.
I thought he had compassion, reason, wisdom within his character.
I thought he could be counted on, when things got crazy, to be a leveling force, able to chisel out a resolution when others had failed.
I was wrong.
So very wrong.
Hatch has gone all-in like his fellow Republicans in the Senate and House, to make the time between now and January 2017, when a new president is inaugurated, a living hell for Democrats, even if it means tearing at the foundation of the United States.
Hatch released a statement Friday excoriating President Obama and Democrats in general for trying to conduct the people’s business and challenging the Republicans in the Senate to do the same by giving Supreme Court nominee Judge Merrick Garland a fair shake.
But Hatch will have none of it.
Whether through arrogance, anger or misplaced loyalty, Hatch is hooking up with the rabble and insisting that the next Supreme Court justice be nominated by whoever is inaugurated in January 2017.
There is nothing unusual or irregular about what the president is doing. Presidents have nominated Supreme Court justices in the final year of their final term and seen them approved. This is not unusual. He was elected to a four-year term. Despite what the Republicans are saying, that does not mean he should abdicate leadership with a year to go just to accommodate their agenda. That would be stupid on his part, selfish on theirs.
Of course, this isn’t your normal, garden-variety political tussle this time around, as we are witnessing
This is a mean, nasty, take-no-prisoners throwdown.
With the future of the Republican Party, which is standing on wobbly legs at the moment, at stake, the GOP is in imminent collapse, ready to bite the dust as it tears itself asunder from the inside out.
By taking such a ridiculous stance as blocking hearings on a Supreme Court nominee – a nominee, by the way, who was suggested as a good candidate for the job by Hatch – the party has just bitten into a cyanide capsule and there is no antidote.
I’ve seen the bits where people have claimed Democrats have done the same.
Go back and read those stories, examine the statements, and you’ll see that while wanting to proceed with caution, none has tried to invalidate nearly an entire year of an administration’s term.
In his statement, Hatch referenced “liberal lawmakers demanding that Republicans ‘do their job.’”
Sen. Hatch, Republicans are also demanding that you do your job. If they weren’t, your party would not be in such disarray.
They are tired of you, they are tired of the obstructionism that has created a do-nothing Congress and they are tired of the gamesmanship, which is why so many have gone over the edge and cast their lot with Donald Trump. Under normal circumstances, they would never consider him as a legitimate candidate let alone make him their standard-bearer. Although there are still more level-headed Republicans who stand in opposition to him, Trump has earned about 35 percent of the primary vote, good enough to put him in the lead at this point in the primary season but not strong enough to sustain him in November.
And, Sen. Hatch, the reason is dissatisfaction with you and your cronies who have been willing to jeopardize the nation’s standing in the world and split the chasm between parties without concern for what it would do to the future of this nation.
There is a strongly contested race on the Democratic side, but you don’t see them dismantling their party like the Republicans are.
That’s because you, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Speaker Paul Ryan and the rest have alienated the party’s core so severely that somebody, anybody, has to be better than the status quo.
You, Sen. Hatch, have been part of that status quo for far too long.
You originally ran because the incumbent, Democrat Frank Moss, had served too long, in your opinion.
Senator, Moss served 18 years.
Senator, you have now served 39 years.
As part of your original campaign for office, you said: “What do you call a senator who’s served in office for 18 years? You call him home.”
You argued, way back then, that many senators, including Moss, had lost touch with their constituents.
Senator, it’s time to go home.
You and the rest of the Republicans in Congress have lost touch with your constituents.
And, that, sir, is why you find your party in shambles.
That is why, sir, you and party officials are grasping at straws to retain control of what was once a respectable, committed political party.
That is why, sir, the menace that is Donald Trump is able to ignite fervor despite his crude, vulgar, racist, misogynistic rants.
That is why, sir, this narcissistic fortunate son born of money and power now thumbs his nose at reason and dignity.
That is why, sir, the wheels have fallen off the Republican Party.
Yet, you continue to lead this pack of hyenas in unreasonable demands that defy logic, including the teardown of your own party.
Orrin, we have known each other for about 20 years.
I know you love your country.
I know you have deep beliefs.
That love of country and those beliefs are at conflict with this stance you have taken.
We built a certain mutual respect over the years, even when disagreeing on issues.
In the past, when we would part company, you would always joke: “I’ll turn you into a conservative yet,” to which I would reply, “Nah, I think it will be the other way around.”
We would shake hands and laugh.
This time, though, it is not a laughing matter.
Orrin, it’s time to come home.
Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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