Palin endorses Hatch in Utah

posted at 8:41 am on May 23, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

And a hew and cry arose from Twitter.  Dispensing with Tea Party challenger Dan Liljenquist and calling Orrin Hatch “Mr. Balanced Budget,” Sarah Palin endorsed the incumbent Senator from Utah on Greta van Susteren last night:

Palin also made a lengthier argument for Hatch on her SarahPAC site early this morning:

Orrin Hatch is part of the one percent. No, not that one percent you’ve heard about. He’s part of the one percent of national politicians who I think should be reelected. Orrin Hatch is a life-long conservative whose dedication and devotion to the conservative cause and to his beloved and beautiful state of Utah is well documented. Orrin was a Utah state campaign chairman for a fledgling and failing presidential candidate deemed “too conservative” and “unelectable” by the media. Ironically, that candidate was the man who restored our country to be a “shining city on a hill” – Ronald Reagan.

When asked about Orrin Hatch, President Reagan once said: “If every member of the Senate were like Orrin Hatch, we’d be arguing over how to deal with a federal surplus, and that’s why I like to think of Orrin as ‘Mr. Balanced Budget.’ The United States has been strong enough to deter aggression and maintain the peace, in no small degree due to the efforts of Orrin Hatch. He has been a champion of those who fight for freedom.”

As President Reagan said, Orrin is “Mr. Balanced Budget.” Long before the issue of debt was on the forefront of Americans’ minds, Orrin Hatch knew our government would face insolvency if we did not get our budget under control. He sponsored or co-sponsored a Balanced Budget Amendment 17 times, and he voted in favor of a Balanced Budget Amendment at least 9 other times. We know he will use his seniority and influence to dissuade politicians from continuing to raise the debt ceiling without any plan to balance the budget and end these dangerously unsustainable deficits.

Orrin Hatch voted against Obamacare and has pledged to repeal it. While we’re on the topic of Obamacare, which is currently before the Supreme Court, keep in mind that the Supreme Court would not look the way it does today if it were not for Orrin Hatch fighting for conservative nominees on the bench – from Clarence Thomas to John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Unlike other Republican Senators who are up for reelection this year, Orrin voted against both of President Obama’s nominees, Kagan and Sotomayor. And unlike some others, Orrin has gone out of his way to embrace the Tea Party movement.

Frankly, I’ve never understood all of the effort being put into the dump-Hatch effort.  Hatch may not be a perfect conservative, but he’s hardly the biggest problem in the Republican caucus, either.  Opposition to Richard Lugar and Bob Bennett made more sense, but Hatch has been a pretty consistent and reliable vote in the Senate for conservatives, despite occasional embarrassments like his obsession with the BCS.  Frankly, I would have preferred to see this effort aimed at a Democratic incumbent — say, for instance, Amy Klobuchar from my state of Minnesota.

Others feel differently, of course, like my dear friend and Boss Emeritus, Michelle Malkin:

Instead of staying out of the race, Palin has proactively sided with the ridiculous Beltway barnacle Orrin Hatch, who now poses as a Tea Party godfather while launching bitter diatribes against the fiscal conservative members of Freedomworks.

Palin has lent her invaluable support to many upstart candidates seeking to disrupt the old GOP boys’ network. I have the utmost respect for her. But on this inexplicable Hatch endorsement, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

And Utah conservatives sick and tired of the same old, same old will just have to work harder.

Michelle has plenty more, so be sure to read it all.  As for “inexplicable,” I’d have to disagree there as well.  Palin explains it pretty well in her endorsement piece, but the unspoken subtext is that Palin isn’t going to back someone who will get crushed in a general election.  Bennett lost his seat because Mike Lee and the Tea Party out-organized him in the caucuses (which Ron Paul supporters did in this cycle in several states, including Minnesota).  Had Bennett survived to a primary, Lee might very well have lost the nomination, and not by a small amount of votes.  Hatch almost won the nomination outright at the caucuses over Liljenquist, and in a primary will coast to victory.  Liljenquist is a long shot at best in a straight-up primary against Hatch.

I’ll follow Palin’s example and paraphrase Reagan: We shouldn’t consider someone who votes with us 70% of the time our 30% enemy.  Hatch has a lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union of 89.77, and a lifetime rating from the Club for Growth of 78%, better than Richard Shelby (AL, 77%), Jerry Moran (KS, 74%), Lamar Alexander (TN, 70%), and the two Senators from Maine, both of whom are in the 30s, among several others who score below Hatch.  I’m sure Liljenquist would be a fine conservative in Congress, but our efforts shouldn’t be focused on getting rid of the guy with a 90% ACU rating. Palin made the right call.


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