Orrin Hatch may just punch you in the mouth

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has been under a lot of pressure from his own right flank this cycle, facing a serious primary challenge from people who think he’s too “moderate” for today’s Republican Party. FreedomWorks has dropped more than a half million dollars in attack ads trying to knock him out of the running, hoping to replace him with former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist. But at least he’s taking it with the calm, professional demeanor that you’d expect from a seasoned, veteran statesman.

Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch is “doggone offended” by the activists and voters standing between him and re-election, describing them as “radical libertarians.”

“These people are not conservatives. They’re not Republicans.”

“They’re radical libertarians and I’m doggone offended by it,” he said.

“I despise these people,” Hatch added, “and I’m not the guy you come in and dump on without getting punched in the mouth.”

According to the linked report from The Daily Caller, though, these efforts may come to naught. Liljenquist is underperforming in the caucuses, and if Hatch can scrape together 60% he won’t even face a primary vote in June, instead just sailing on to the general election. And that could turn out to be a long term problem.

No matter how enthusiastic you may be about “purging the RINOs” from the system, it doesn’t always work. And when it fails, why should somebody like Hatch feel any loyalty whatsoever to the party leaders when it comes time for a close vote? Tick the guy off enough and you’ve got another Olympia Snowe on your hands. In a worst case scenario, just think of a situation where the GOP takes back enough seats to just barely regain control of the Senate this fall. And then Hatch suddenly decides he feels more like being an independent caucusing with the Democrats after getting kicked around by his own team in the primary.

But why should we worry about that? It’s not like it’s ever happened before, right?

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