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In Hatch’s Corner, Totally


Attended a lunch today with Orrin Hatch, the veteran senator from Utah. I have long been a Hatch man: He’s one of my favorite people in public life. I consider him a real all-arounder. He is extremely well versed in economics, the judiciary, foreign policy, the “social issues.” And his convictions, in my view, are all sound. I used to think about Henry Hyde the same way. He had no specialty. He’d go on MacNeil-Lehrer (for example) and hold up our end beautifully, whatever the subject was.

Plus, I very much admire, and get a kick out of, Hatch’s spirit. He is both cheerful and dogged. People think of him as pure Utah, which he is, in a way. But he actually grew up a scrappy poor kid — a boxer — in Pittsburgh. And I love his love of music. He’s an all-arounder, indeed.

I know that some of our people have been down on Hatch for too much compromising. But I remember something he said to me, when he was campaigning, briefly, for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination: “If I can’t get the whole loaf, I’ll take half a loaf. If I can’t get half, I’ll take a quarter.” I understand that. He is a legislator.

He’s also a true-blue Reagan conservative. In fact, he was Reaganite before it was cool. He was also Tea Party-esque, before it was cool. He stood up to the Sovs and their proxies when it was very, very uncool. He was also pro-life when that position was considered for freaks and prudes. (Is it still? I guess it depends on whom you mingle with.)

I am very much for rotation in office — I don’t think everyone should pull a Strom (as Arlen Specter tried to do, even to the extent of switching parties). (By the way, I think Barbara Boxer will bury us all. If she wasn’t defeated in 2010, by the wonderful Carly, in those intensely pro-Republican circumstances, she ain’t ever gonna be defeated.) But I hope Utahns send Hatch to Washington for another term. In a majority, he would be chairman of the Finance Committee. The next Republican would be Olympia Snowe.

Go get ’em, Orrin. Gentlemanly though he is, I know the boxing spirit lives. He is a gentleman boxer (and not a Boxer).

P.S. — and one particularly directed at itchy-fingers: I know that some prefer “Utahan”; but I grew up with “Utahn.” I also prefer “Alabaman” to “Alabamian” (and, of course, “Michigander” to “Michiganian” — “Michiganian” is for total wusses. Blech).


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