Tag Archives: Orin Hatch

Orrin Hatch: Conservative or RINO?

Early in the spring of 1976 I attended a backyard picnic at the home of my mother’s cousin, Desmond (Des) J. Barker. Barker was a successful advertising executive and was currently running as a Republican for a U.S. Senate seat from Utah. He wasn’t exactly a newcomer to politics. In 1971 he was appointed Special Assistant to President Richard M. Nixon for Domestic Communications Liaison. During his time in the White House Barker served as Charles W. Colson’s deputy on the President’s personal staff. Those of you old enough to remember the Watergate scandal will certainly recall Colson. When Barker began to understand what was happening in the White House under Nixon’s influence he abruptly quit his post in January of 1973 and returned home to his advertising and public relations firm in Salt Lake City. A couple of years later he decided to get back into politics as an elected official instead of as a bureaucratic functionary. Barker told all the extended family members gathered there for that celebratory picnic that he was confident he was the front-runner among the Republicans and given that Utah was solidly conservative he firmly believed that he was going to win the GOP nomination and would be elected. We all happily munched on hotdogs and potato chips with visions of being related to the next U.S. Senator from Utah swimming around in our craniums. “More potato salad, PolarCoug?” asked Barker. “Why thank you, Senator-to-be mom’s cousin,” I answered. “Just plop it right down there next to the plankton and kelp kabobs.” Burp! <PolarCoug and Barker did the happy dance together.>

Then Orrin Hatch happened. Hatch came out of nowhere and thumped Barker and all the other conservative candidates for that senate nomination. Utah has been stuck with Hatch ever since. For the past 35 years Hatch has ruled the roost from his perch as a sitting U.S. Senator. But times they are a changin’ and in this election cycle Hatch appears vulnerable. Hatch’s conservative credentials are being challenged. In an article published in the Salt Lake Tribune on March 6, 2011 The Salt Lake Tribune’s Matt Canham offered up a stark analysis of Hatch’s image problem with conservatives. “Hatch is well aware that he has a tea party problem,” wrote Canham. Hatch would be blind not to see the same freight train that derailed Des Barker is now running him down on the very same track. Once again, a candidate has arisen from nowhere and is presenting a formidable challenge to the once-presumed frontrunner for a senate seat in Utah. Conservative Congressman Jason Chafitz has not yet announced his candidacy for Hatch’s senate seat but it is considered quite likely that it is only a matter of time. Hatch better be worried because the tea party upending a Utah senator is not without precedence. Last year Senator Bob Bennett was summarily dismissed by the tea party and he didn’t even manage to make it out of the GOP Utah State Convention. Gonzo. Done. Finished. Kaput. Hatch sees the handwriting on the wall and he is running scared.

Despite his protests to the contrary, Hatch isn’t exactly a true-blue through and through, dyed-in-the-wool conservative. Some of his votes have been downright scary. Last year, for example, Hatch voted in unison with Bennett to approve the appointment of Cass Sunstein as Regulatory Czar – a position formally known as the Director of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). In case you aren’t aware of Sunstein’s liberal mindset just educate yourself with the following two quotes from Sunstein:

In what sense is the money in our pockets and bank accounts fully ‘ours’? Did we earn it by our own autonomous efforts? Could we have inherited it without the assistance of probate courts? Do we save it without the support of bank regulators? Could we spend it if there were no public officials to coordinate the efforts and pool the resources of the community in which we live? Without taxes, there would be no liberty. Without taxes there would be no property. Without taxes, few of us would have any assets worth defending. [It is] a dim fiction that some people enjoy and exercise their rights without placing any burden whatsoever on the public… There is no liberty without dependency.

Did you get the “dependency” thing at the end? That’s Sunstein’s way of saying that we are dependent upon the government to manage our finances. Think redistribution of wealth. Sunstein’s goal is to control every aspect of our lives, including our money. Now isn’t that nice and kind of him? Didn’t think so. And now the second Sunstein quote:

If government could not intervene effectively, none of the individual rights to which Americans have become accustomed could be reliably protected. […] This is why the overused distinction between “negative” and “positive” rights makes little sense. Rights to private property, freedom of speech, immunity from police abuse, contractual liberty and free exercise of religion—just as much as rights to Social Security, Medicare and food stamps—are taxpayer-funded and government-managed social services designed to improve collective and individual well-being.

And Hatch voted for this guy? Unbelievable! Actually it is believable. Hatch has a record of voting for liberal/progressive issues. This proclivity to release his inner liberal Ted Kraken Kennedy has got him in deep you-know-what with conservatives. Consider this quote from a February 17, 2011 story written by Daniel Sayani that was published in the NewAmerican.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is under scrutiny from fiscal conservatives following his address at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday, when he defended his big government, big spending voting record in the Senate, including his vote for the “bailout,” the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), the unconstitutional, ill-fated, taxpayer-funded, government-led nationalization and bailout of the assets and equity of several failed financial institutions in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008.

Hatch’s unpopular explanation of his vote for TARP resulted in heckling, hollering, and clamor from the CPAC audience, which soundly rejected any of his attempted justifications for the unconstitutional legislation, which has only served to increase the national deficit and to lead the further advance towards a corporatist society in which big government and big business become fused together, as the boundaries between the two are eroded through federal legislation, such as the bailout and stimulus.

I have to admit that I am not totally impartial in the matter of Hatch. I’ve had personal experience with his politics. Thirty years ago I was a newspaper reporter in Utah. I covered a lot of issues involving Hatch. I fondly remember one story I was involved with – the saga of the Central Utah Water Project (CUP).

The CUP was established in 1964 with the stated goal of diverting water from the Colorado River and delivering it to Salt Lake City and the region roundabout. It sounds simple enough doesn’t it! Well, in theory it is simple. In reality it is a boondoggle. Over the years it has become a bottomless pit into which the U.S. Government has poured vast amounts of money. If you know anything about the geography of the State of Utah you will realize that there are a multitude of natural and political barriers between Salt Lake City and the water in the Colorado River. You know things like mountains, canyons, subdivisions, Robert Redford, and competing special interests for the aforementioned water. Let me tell you – I never saw such a catfight. I used to attend board meetings of the Central Utah Water Conservancy District (CUWCD) in my capacity as a news reporter. Talk about political intrigue! I interviewed mayors, chairmen of municipal planning commissions, the governor (at that time it was Scott Matheson), various lawyers, and corporate executives. Why corporate executives? Well, you see, in eastern Utah, where the Colorado River just happens to flow, is an awful lot of oil and oil shale. Think gasoline and natural gas. Eastern Utah is chock full of the stuff. And not far from the oil and gas is a huge amount of coal. Eastern and Central Utah is an energy producing gold mine. And there is a funny thing about mining operations. I’ll tell you a little secret. Shhhh, don’t let anyone you know I told you this…it’s a secret just between you and me. Can you keep a secret? Good! Okay, here goes – you see, mining operations and power plants and other major industrial operations tend to require a lot of water. And in case you don’t remember, Utah is sitting right on top of a desert. Water is in short supply. So whoever controls the water controls a great deal of political power in the State of Utah.

Now at the time I was a newspaper reporter the State of Utah, municipal governments and local business interests were trying to gain legal rights to more of that water. They were pitted against the federal government and large industrial national and multinational companies – More on those companies in just a minute.

The funny thing about Hatch was that despite the fact that Utah’s local and state politicians were all united in their efforts to manage their own destiny by controlling as much of the proposed water supply as possible, Hatch didn’t join the fight on their side. In fact, Hatch took up the side of the federal government. Wasn’t Hatch a senator from the State of Utah? Wasn’t it his job to represent the State of Utah? Something fishy was going on and the other news reporters and I were intent on figuring out what was going on with Hatch and his complete rejection of state’s rights.

Solving part of the riddle involved a mainframe computer at Brigham Young University. This was back in the days before PCs. Well, there were such things as the Osbourne and the Trash 80. You old-timers like me will smile at the quaintness of those machines. But from a PC perspective that was all we had. The big computing jobs were accomplished via mini computers such as Digital Equipment Corporation’s PDP-8s and PDP-11s and even larger mainframe computers made by IBM. My news organization contacted a professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University and we supplied him with a list of all of Hatch’s campaign donations from his 1976 campaign. The professor did his magic and eventually the mainframe-attached printer spit out a map of the United States. It wasn’t just any old map. This map was special. It showed the relative size of each state according to the dollar percentage of political donations made to Hatch during the campaign. Naturally you would expect that the State of Utah would be larger than any other state. But that was not the case. It turned out that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was the source of the bulk of Hatch’s campaign funding. Pennsylvania came out huge on that map. Yeah, we printed that map on the front page of the newspaper. You should have seen the reaction from the Hatch camp. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall over at Hatch’s offices when they saw that map. It wasn’t exactly good public relations for them.

Now why would donors from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania supply such a large percentage of Hatch’s total campaign contributions? Oh, and why were there major companies operating in Eastern Utah’s oil, oil shale, and coal country that had offices, if not headquarters in, you guessed it, Pennsylvania? Gee, and didn’t Hatch previously work as an attorney in Pittsburgh? Why, yes he did! I think you get the picture of what was going on. We certainly figured it out back in the newsroom.

A common tactic used by news reporters is to publish just some of what they know in hopes that dribbling out the information will shake loose additional information. That was what we did. We did weekly stories on the CUP controversy. We didn’t tell everything that we knew – we knew that by releasing information bit by bit that new sources would come forward and fill in missing pieces of the puzzle. So off we went, dribbling out the map, the disclosure that Hatch had previous business dealings within Pennsylvania, and so on, and so forth. Oh the stories I could tell about our scheming behind the scenes. It was an amazing time in my life and 30 years later I still laugh at what we knew but never shared publicly.

I had a tendency to tell my father about what I was working on in my efforts to develop news stories. So Dad was quite informed as to the ongoing saga of the Hatch/CUP controversy. Dad also happened to be a Republican precinct chairman. Dad got outraged by what I told him about Hatch’s lack of support for state rights. He got so mad that he went public with his opposition to Hatch. In fact, Dad, a staunch conservative, was so angry with Hatch that he publicly announced his support for Hatch’s Democratic opponent, Ted Wilson. Hatch’s camp decided enough was enough and dispatched a staff member, Holly Hicks, to put out the fire at the PolarCoug Sr. residence. The only problem for Hicks was that she didn’t connect Dad PolarCoug’s name with his son and newspaper reporter, PolarCoug.

Hicks knocked on Dad’s front door. Dad went to the door and opened it. There was Hicks, standing in the middle of Dad’s porch with a stern look on her face. “I understand there is a problem at this house,” Hicks told my Dad. Dad stared right back at her and said “The problem is standing on my porch.” Right on, Dad! Meanwhile, my little sister ran downstairs and notified me of the confrontation between Hicks and Dad PolarCoug. I scrambled up the stairs, went to the door and stood beside my father. Hicks, upon recognizing me as her public relations nightmare, looked like she wished she was anywhere but on our porch at that moment of her little political activist life. Oops! Neurons fired, synapses were jumped, and Hicks finally made the name connection between two generations of PolarCougs. As Steve Martin once famously said, “Comedy isn’t always pretty.” Hicks fled the scene having failed in her attempt to put out the fire of a rebellious precinct chairman. Now she had a bigger problem. Me. Giggles!

The details escape me at this point but I seem to remember that after telling my story back in the newsroom and everybody splitting their sides at the tale of Hicks on the porch, we decided to take it easy on Hicks. So I believe we never did publish the story I just told you – much to Hicks’ relief, I’m sure!

Anyway, the whole point of telling you this story is to let you know that Hatch has a long history of not being a true-blue conservative. He perpetuates the myth that he is a conservative but it is just that – a myth. And his true convictions have become general knowledge with members of Utah’s tea party. Hatch is in political trouble back home. He is the epitome of the establishment Republican. He is not a member of the grass roots conservative movement, once again, despite his protests to the contrary. Hatch is in for the fight of his political life in the coming election cycle. Whether it is Chafitz or another candidate that comes out of the woodwork to challenge him, Hatch could very easily lose.

I’m sure that somewhere Desmond J. Barker is enjoying every minute of it. What goes around, comes around, Senator Orrin Hatch. You’ve had your 15 minutes of fame. Time’s up. You are not the droid we are looking for. Move along.

Teaparty Holds First National Conference in Phoenix

A coalition of representatives from some 3300 Teaparty and other activist groups held their first ever National Conference on Friday, Feb 26th in Phoenix, Arizona. Among the  noted speakers were Tim Pawlenty and Ron Paul. What is also noteworthy, were the missing Republicans, most of which had the weekend off .

Invitations were sent out and pretty much ignored, and this shows us just how the Old Guard GOP big spenders are afraid to face the real issues of today and the Teaparty members who stand for limited government. This was a missed opportunity for Republicans to make amends for their involvement in the big spending habits of the past decade that could very well haunt them in 2012.

The people want answers and accountability, plus they would like to see some politicians admit their past mistakes, and make the pledge to get on the side of restoring fiscal sanity back into our government today. At CPAC 11 this year we saw Senator Orin Hatch step up to the plate and answer the question of why he voted for the first bailout package. It was an evidently painful experience for him, but it also showed a willingness to accept responsibility for his actions just by being there. My respect for Mr. Hatch went up a bit right there. As far as my respect for all the GOP elitists who chose to ignore the TeaParty base on Friday? That is an unacceptable show of cowardice and lack of true responsibility and accountability in this Independent voter’s eyes.

Former Governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty had the guts to take the stage Friday and was very well accepted. While holding up a copy of the U. S. Constitution, Mr. Pawlenty spoke of his long list of vetoes as Governor and even the partial shutdown of the Minnesota State Government at one point. He described today’s Federal Government as a “royal traingle of greed,”  which was formed by a rapidly growing government, powerful Unions and bailed out businesses. The tri-fecta of fiscal insanity that is bankrupting America today.

Ron Paul also spoke at the TeaParty National conference on Friday. He said the following about Teapartiers: ” “It’s a well-defined, loose group. They’re well-defined that they know what they’re unhappy about, but it’s loose in the sense that it’s a grassroots, bottom up organization,” Paul said.  I couldn’t agree more with that statement there, well said Sir.  Take a close look at the picture included in this article. Those are true Patriots, who also helped form the Government of the United States. Every single of them is carrying a sword, that says they will defend America with their lives and many of them did just that. They gave their lives for our freedom and liberty, just like our soldiers are doing today acrossthe globe. We are once again facing an internal war within our own country today. We need every Patriot we can muster to stand up to the big government Liberals hell bent on Socializing America into a third rate country. The TeaPartydidn’t ask the Republicans to show up with a sword strapped onto their belt and actually put their lives in danger last Friday. On the contrary, all they were wanting was a showing  of respect for their grassroots movement that turned the tide in the 2010 elections and maybe  someone who would prove to them that they would join the battle against big government spending today.

And the GOP pulled a no-show for the most part. Not a single Republican Senator or Congressman showed up. Not a single sitting Republican Governor attended. Not a single representative of the RNC attended.  2012 just got  a whole lot more interesting, as far as the GOP  side of the elections are concerned. Don’t say you folks weren’t warned.

So far there has been a lack of complete information on just who attended this conference. If I missed any Republicans who got up the courage to attend, let me know please.

CPAC 2011 Rocks on Day 2

Many big name conservative stars hit the stage for day 2 at the Conservative political Action Conference of 2011. With the rowdy applause and cheering reminiscent of a 70’s rock concert, the enthusiasm was pumped up to incredible levels by a wide variety of solid, hard-hitting, Patriotic speeches. While the messages contained the basic conservative Teaparty theme of smaller, more accountable government, less taxes and regulation, with a return to our Constitutional principles, we learned that these messages could be expressed in an amazingly wide variety of ways.

Day 2 saw the emergence of  idiotic attention seekers such as a Sarah Palin look alike and the asinine antics of an appearance of Jimmy McMillan of the Rent is Too Damn High Party.  CBS was even foolish enough to headline it “Jimmy McMillan Takes CPAC by Storm.” I will not link to the  CBS attack piece on all things conservative by one Brian Montopoli, as it is nothing short of childish liberal rubbish and not even close to real journalism. This does show how low CBS will go today in promoting the Obama-led Liberal trashing of America. Just when I thought they couldn’t get any lower in the respect department, they did.

Once again we saw hecklers seeking their 15 seconds of fame when Senator Orin Hatch was decent enough to answer questions. While one person asked the question of why Hatch voted for the wall street bailouts, the crowd rudely screamed and would hardly let Hatch even answer the question. Again, these people are an embarrassment to all conservatives across the nation, not to mention the fuel they will add to the Liberal attack pieces sure to point out their childish antics. If we want our reps to answer questions to get an insight of why they did something, this is no way to go about it. Plus, this will also make them hesitant to take the stage next year. It got so bad at one point that the panel’s moderator had to step in  and express his disgust with these people who seemed more intent on scolding and screaming at  Senator Hatch, then letting him explain his position at the time of his vote for the bailouts. He apologized for it, yet they continued to act more like SEIU thugs than conservatives or teapartiers.

Day 2 at CPAC was launched by another Presidential hopeful in 2012, Mitt Romney. While his speech did contain an all encompassing rally against the Liberal big government of today, he seems to have skirted the Obamacare debate all together. Many consider him unelectable due to his creation of the failed Romneycare of Massachusetts. Compared to the rest of the firey speeches to come on Friday, Romney’s speech was pretty much forgotten an hour after it was given.

Rep. Tom Price (GA) took the stage at 11;15. Mr. Price said that there was an energy at this year’s CPAC that he didn’t remember being their last year. Most of that energy was good. Mr. Price mentioned the nasty heckling that Cheney, Rumsfeld and Hatch endured in stating, “That’s part of CPAC, isn’t it?”  Why can’t we all just get along may have been a more appropriate question there. Mr. Price addressed the gay conservative group GOProud being at CPAC  as the more conservatives the better. Rep Prices speech seemed to be well-written, with a theme he summed up with a quote from Samuel Adams. ”  It doesn’t take a majority to prevail – but an irate and tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” With statements like that Rep Price has certainly aligned himself with the grassroots Teaparty of America.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN) used her time at CPAC to concentrate on the FCC and their attempt at regulating the internet with no Congressional participation. While her speech detailed the need to stop the FCC,  she largely ignored the many pressing issues the 112th Congress is facing today, such as raising the debt ceiling, Obmacare repeal, Patriot act extensions etc. While I enjoyed her speech, my research showed her to have voted for many Liberal big gov’t policies such as increased foreign aid, increased UN payments, and pretty much increased spending across the board. No wonder she ignored the issues that have led to 14 trillion in debt today. She has voted to increase that debt at every turn. Do you hear me Teaparty members and conservatives from Tennessee? How did this big spending, big government RINO get invited to the CPAC ?

At noon on Friday they gave out an award for the Conservative blogger of the year. It went to Mr. Javier Manjarres of  The Shark Tank, which happens to be here in my Florida and to which get daily updates from. I have to be honest here, in stating that I know of no less than 30 more qualified conservative bloggers who were more deserving of this award, IMO. Who voted for this ?

Next to speak on Friday at CPAC 2011 was Sen. John Barrasso (WY) who also happens to be a doctor. His main topic was Obamacare and he addressed it’s failures and unconstitutionality very well. Sen. Barrasso gave us a Doctors perspective as to why Obamacare must be repealed, filled with many real life examples of the coming danger to America’s healthcare system that Obamacare will bring. Of note, Barrasso said the new House Republican majority had “kept its promise” to voters by advancing a repeal of the healthcare law. “Now it’s the Senate’s turn,” he said.  In my opinion, this is one Senator who might make a good President if he chose to run.

Next to speak was my pick for President in 2012, Sen. John Thune. (SD)  In his low-key speaking style, Sen Thune took a big swipe at the Obama administration and big government Liberals with the statement of, “”President Obama likes to talk about winning the future, but someone ought to tell him: You can’t win the prosperity of tomorrow if you’re mortgaging it to pay for the big government programs of today.”  That sums it up very well, in my opinion. No one candidate will be perfect in 2012, yet i will put Sen. Thune’s record of staunch conservative principals against any other candidate mentioned today.

Later on , former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty also received a rousing ovation when he took the stage. Take note that at this time it was reported that many Ron Paul supporters had entered, and I addressed some of their rude behavior in my Day 1 report here at CDN.  Pawlenty captured the audience with personal stories of his life and growing up in St Paul in a blue collar family that endured many hardships, including losing his mother while a teenager. He summed it all up in saying, “”At a young age, I saw up close the face of loss, the face of hardship, the face of losing a job and I saw in the mirror something else: the face of a very uncertain future,” he said. “I know Americans are feeling that way today. I know that feeling ? I’ve lived it.” Mr. Pawlenty certainly has to be appealing to grassroots conservative voters disgusted with out elitist, out of touch government of today.

Next up came Libertarian and former presidential candidate, Rep.. Ron Paul (TX). While most conservative Americans can agree with many parts of Ron Paul’s libertarian values, we all know he is as Donald Trump stated, “unelectable.” Maybe that was at the heart of the Paul supporters rudeness at CPAC this year. I have admired Paul’s firey speeches for many years and he usually makes a solid presentation of his views of how America should be. While he did that again this year, there was also something else evident in his speech: He either has some serious health issues or he appears to becoming mentally unstable at times, or both. Watch his speech and judge for yourself.  I mean no disrespect to Mr. Paul and his many years of serving our country here, but when we see signs of instability in someone,  especially a member of our government or congress, its high time we speak up and make arrangements to have them removed for the good of the country.

After Ron Paul’s speech came what I viewed as the best speech of the CPAC so far, from Texas Governor Rick Perry. It was very emotional, yet delivered in a way that  has to vault him to the top of possible 2012 presidential candidates, should he chose to run. This was an amazing conservative shout-out to all Americans opposed to the Liberal mess of a government we have today. Gov. Perry threw the crowd a curve-ball when he asked them to pull out their phones and text “FED UP” to the number he gave them. A return text from the number asks supporters to visit www.NoGovernmentBailouts.com, which features a petition to stop the “pervasive embrace of bailouts.”  A smooth move by Gov. Perry to get more people involved in stopping  the big gov’t expansion we see today. Gov. Perry closed his speech with the statement,  “We can restore this nation to its preeminence in the world. There is no other greater cause in our time.” Well said Governor, now about 2012………

Herman Cain, former Godfathers Pizza CEO, a Teaparty favorite and potential presidential candidate in 2012 was up next, and he fired up the crowd with his hard-hitting unique style of telling it like it is. The crowd roared when Mr. Cain said, “the American Dream is under attack,” and that “stupid people are ruining America.” As they say, sometimes the truth hurts people, and Herman certainly put a hurting on the ignorants running our country into the ground up in DC today. I love this guy’s attitude and approach towards the need  for real tough conservatism today. Cain’s speech included a swipe at liberals playing the racist card saying,  “They call me racist too just because I disagree with a President who happens to be black,” he continued. He told the crowd: “You are not racists — you are patriots.” Mr Cain concluded, to a standing ovation: “The United States of America will not become the United States of Europe.” This man is the exact opposite of Barack Obama. He is a successful businessman, not a career rabble rousing community organizer who needs to play the race card to hide his incompetence as Obama has shown to be. Mr. Cain believes in the U. S constitution, which Obama skirts and ignores at every chance he gets today. Mr. Cain relishes the chance to talk and answer questions about the direction our country is headed and possible solutions. Barack Husein Obama hides like a Tyrant and avoids the very people he is supposed to serve when they demand answers for his blatant Anti-American policies . Yes sir, Herman Cain is the Anti-Obama. He will definitely make the primaries in 2012 very interesting to say the least. I would love to see a debate, moderated by a Teaparty member with no pre-set questions between Herman and every single one of the RINO pretenders in 2012.

CPAC 2011 was certainly rocking on Friday!   Saturday should be very interesting with Andrew Breitbart, Haley Barbour, David Horowitz, John Bolton, Jonah Goldberg, Ann Coulter, and Lt Col. Allen West among the speakers scheduled.