On the EDge: Time for Hatch to step down and term limits to be instituted

OPINION – Word is that Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is considering yet another run when his term expires in two years.

“I’ve got a lot of people asking me to (run again). A lot of my colleagues are asking me to, a lot of people in Utah are asking me to,” Hatch told the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call. “You know that I had said that … this would be my last term, but circumstances have greatly changed, so I’ll have to look at it.”

It’s not surprising that Hatch, who will be 84 years old when his term ends, is contemplating another campaign. Now in his seventh term, he wields tremendous power. He knows the ropes and he knows where all the bodies are buried. You don’t mess with Orrin. If you do, he’ll hang your skull on a spear.

During his first run in 1976, his campaign was based on the notion that then-senator Frank Moss, a Democrat, had lost touch with voters.

“What do you call a senator who’s served in office for 18 years? You call him home,” Hatch said during that campaign.

Orrin, it’s time for you to come home.

I’ve known the senator for roughly half of his political career and always found him an interesting character with a definite yin and yang duality that is fascinating.

I mean, he could preach hardline party politics out of one side of his mouth while working across the aisle with liberal politicians like the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, who was one of his closest friends.

But, Orrin had many liberal friends over the years, including me. It seemed like every time I spoke with him he would say, “One of these days I’ll turn you into a conservative,” to which I would reply, “Nah…I’m working on turning you into a liberal.” There would be smiles, a warm handshake and kind words, always.

Still, it is time for Orrin to hang it up.

Hatch is a nice guy, but seven terms in the U.S. Senate is at least five terms too many.

Besides, Hatch does not fit in with the politically nouveau riche, either on the state or federal level.

We see, already, signs pointing to an administration totally lacking in style, grace, tact and judgment.

We see, on the state level, Utahns showing a definite preference for similar politicians like Rob Bishop, who represents Utah’s 1st Congressional District, Mia Love, who represents Utah’s 4th Congressional District, Jason Chaffetz, who represents Utah’s 3rd Congressional District, and Sen. Mike Lee, whose political orbit is somewhere between Neptune and Uranus.

These are extremely radical, slash-and-burn, unsophisticated politicians.

Hatch, in contrast, first supported Jeb Bush, then Marco Rubio during the 2016 campaign. When it became clear that the gold-plated road was to be walked by Donald Trump, Hatch swallowed hard, held his nose and endorsed him. It was a tepid endorsement at best, mechanical, in the interests of Republican Party politics rather than a testament to Trump. Knowing Hatch, I was shocked to see him capitulate to falling meekly into place.

Beyond the fact that Hatch has grown out of touch with his constituents and the crunching hard right ideology, he represents the rusty bolt segment – the majority of our lawmakers – who are stuck on redundant, reluctant change; who are an impediment to progress and the inevitability of useful change, instead opting for meager change they think will satisfy voters.

That reluctance to grow, to move forward is just as dangerous as the restrictive, liberty choking tenets of the hard right.

That’s why Hatch should be the poster boy for those seeking term limits.

He’s been there too long, has deep ties to the politically corrupt lobbyists and special interests that have made a mockery of our political process.

It can be argued that the voting public can create term limits at the ballot box. All you’ve got to do is vote somebody out of office.

That, however, is a naïve posture.

Guys like Hatch are rarely challenged – Steve Urquhart tried it and failed miserably; Chaffetz floated the idea, but soon learned the depth and power of the Hatch political machine, backing out quickly before getting quashed in its cogs.

There is also the fact that Hatch has faced truly lackluster competition from the other side, running against, for the most part, limp, unimpressive Democrats.

It has placed him in a place, for many years now, where all he has to do is not screw up too badly to hold onto his seat.

It’s also a good time to make serious changes in the House and Senate terms. Like the president, senators and representatives should serve four-year terms.

A member of the House actually has one decent year of work before preparing for their next race, which means they spend more time listening to the campaign donors and lobbyists than voters. Give them two, four-year terms and let’s be done with it.

Same for the Senate, where the term is an oddball six years.

According to a recent Gallup poll Congress currently has an appalling 11 percent approval rating. That’s abysmal but understandable considering its performance the last eight years. That disappointment, however, was not reflected in the voting booth.

Voters have short memories as they keep electing the same people to do the same things year after year. It reinforces the adage that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Voters only seem motivated to get involved in the top tier of the ballot – the presidential race – instead of the important down-ticket slots.

Sadly, this year they were more motivated to vote against Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump than for either of them.

But when it came to the important Congressional races, it was a dispassionate vote for the status quo.

That wouldn’t happen with term limits where a turnover is ensured.


Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela


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  • DB November 22, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    Hatch seems determined to die in office. I’ve heard him on the radio and he’ll tell you anything you want to hear. It’s up to the voters to stop this. Term limits, please, three terms for the house, two for the senate. If you can’t get your ‘agenda’ through in twelve years, move over and give someone else a chance.

  • .... November 22, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    we want term limits ! we want term limits ! well you can scream that all you want. them politicians are not going to cut their own throats. there has never been term limits and there will never be term limits. for the reason the only people that can impose term limits are the ones that don’t want term limits. LOL ! good luck

  • BIG GUY November 22, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Ed, when you say, “We see, already, signs pointing to an administration totally lacking in style, grace, tact and judgment,” I assume you finally see the light on the Obama administration. Good for you, even if it took a while.

    I continue to be amazed when progressives like Ed complain about “…the restrictive, liberty choking tenets of the hard right.” One need look no farther than our nation’s hard left university professors to find tenets that restrict and choke free speech and diverse ideas on college campuses. How about the rioters [nee protesters] who’ve looted and burned because they refuse to accept election results. In contrast, the “hard right” is generally associated with individual freedom and liberty, opposing government by bureaucratic diktat.

    Ed complains about Republican “…reluctance to grow, to move forward….” But his ideas of moving forward always involve new government programs further restricting and choking individual freedom and responsibility. One liberal program after another has produced mediocre results, failed in its larger objectives, and cost far more than was promised. We don’t need that kind of “moving forward.”

  • Allie November 22, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    It has become necessary for term limits. Hatch, others and their family members who make their livelihood off the taxpayers expense, are not there for the people who voted for them, or their country. They serve only themselves and the people behind the scenes who were not elected. Term limits should only be one term, so that there is no distraction of re-election to get in the way of taking care of Americans. The term should be for six (6) years allowing the individual enough time to learn the ropes, but not so much to gain and use power as is the such today. The term limits of six (6) years should be for Senators, Representatives and the President. Also, no person from that elected officials family (mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins), can have a job that is paid for by taxpayers in a city, county, state or federal position. We have too many people, and people in that persons family working for government, not private employers. The balance is more people work for governments than people who work for private companies. We cannot support this much longer. I’m sure there are many people who would be as qualified or better than Hatch, or his ilk, if given a chance.

  • eddantes56 November 22, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    I agree with you re Orrin……mainly because he is an establishment RINO that has only marginally pushed conservative values and vision…….he is more disposed to compromise at every turn.

    You are a funny opinion columnist…I give you that. You said, “That reluctance to grow, to move forward is just as dangerous as the restrictive, liberty choking tenets of the hard right.”

    This quote is absolutely hilarious in light of you and your Cultural Marxist fellow travelers who have been successfully replacing the family with gov and systematically dismantling our moral order from within the culture. The very idea of implying that Cultural Marxists are open and liberty-promoting is very precious. I really got a kick out of that.

    Bottom line, the divide in the U.S cannot be bridged…..the two sides have different interpretations of history, hold different values and have very distinct visions for the country. My side will never capitulate and I think some version of secession is in store for the country as the urban centers are generally way out of touch with the rest of the country.

    Stay tuned; its going to be worth the watch.

  • Brian November 22, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    The only way we’ll get term limits is a convention of states (Article V). I support an “on-paper” convention, where each state passes a resolution stating that they want term limits, using the exact same language. When the 38th state passes it, it becomes a Constitutional amendment. Zero risk of a “run-away convention.

    Hatch needs to go. He needed to go 15 years ago.

    Politicians are like diapers: they need frequent changing because they’re full of crap and start to stink.

  • Common Sense November 23, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Wow! Ed said ONE thing I agree with. “Term Limits”. Ed says “dangerous as the restrictive, liberty choking tenets of the hard right.” Ummm…. to me this more describes Obamacare and the hard left than the hard right. Obamacare has literally taken away any extra money I would have had to pump into the economy and support small businesses. Now that is pretty liberty choking, but whatever Ed…you are obviously stuck in magical unicorn land.

  • NotSoFast November 23, 2016 at 9:13 am

    I’m not really politically savvy folks, but why does term limits have to be a federal requirement? The elected reps from each state is there because the people of each state want them there as their rep in Washington. Why can’t each state have the right to decide if term limits is right for them or not?
    Forget my question—- Each state does do that at the voting box. If the people are that stupid and can’t see how lobbyist fund the fat cat’s campaign, let them eat cake.

  • Curtis November 23, 2016 at 9:49 am

    It is absolutely necessary and far past time for Hatch to go.

    The hard right and the hard left are equally dangerous in their desire to restrict liberty. As Big Guy said you need look no further than many universities to see examples of the far left actively and deliberately advocating for the restriction of individual liberties and in particular restricting the freedom of speech and expression.

    No on term limits. Many commentors have given examples of the benefits of term limits. However, I cannot endorse prohibiting citizens from voting for a particular person.

  • Henry November 23, 2016 at 10:12 am

    “According to a recent Gallup poll Congress currently has an appalling 11 percent approval rating.” According to a September Gallup poll, only 8 PERCENT of Americans have a great deal of trust in the media.

    Ed, you need to apply term limits for yourself and other hard left dinosaurs in the media. Your recycled ramblings, interspersed with snark, inneundo, and half-truths, are well past its expiration date. You’re even more out-of-touch than Orin Hatch.

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