Paul Rolly: Hatch never flip-flops, it’s his evil alter ego creating that impression

First Published      Last Updated Feb 03 2017 08:48 pm

As Sen. Orrin Hatch continues to fuel speculation he will run for an unprecedented eighth term next year and critics zero in on his many perceived inconsistencies on issues, it is time to set the record straight.

It wasn't Orrin who said things or took positions that contradicted stances he had taken earlier. It was his evil alter ego Orel Hatch that caused those misconceptions.

Orrin himself has always been consistent. Naughty Orel just likes to cause mischief.

Unfortunately for Hatch's image, Orrin and Orel are unaware of the other's existence.

For example, if Hatch decides to run again after having served 42 years in the Senate, he undoubtedly will be reminded by critics that when he ran against Democratic incumbent Frank Moss in 1976, he said Moss had been in office long enough after 18 years.

But it wasn't Orrin who famously said, "What do you call a senator who's served in office for 18 years? You call him home."

No, Orrin didn't have an issue with Moss' length of service. That was Orel.

So Orrin is not a hypocrite for wanting to remain in office for nearly a half century. Orel created that impression.

Likewise, Orrin rightly took credit for painstakingly working across party lines with Massachusetts Democrat Ted Kennedy to pass the groundbreaking State Children's Health Insurance Program in 1997.

But all those accolades were dimmed when Hatch voted against reauthorizing that federally subsidized health insurance program for low income children in 2009, saying the Democrats had gummed it up by including legal immigrants as eligible recipients.

That was not Orrin. He wants all children to have health insurance, just like he did in 1997. It was Orel who flip-flopped on Orrin's humanitarian position.

And it wasn't Orrin who in 2010 opposed the Dream Act, which would give undocumented immigrants, brought to the U.S. as infants, a path to citizenship. That brought him criticism because he had co-sponsored a similar measure years ago.

It was Orel who flipped on that issue for fear he would anger the anti-immigrant Tea Party folks that ousted Orrin's colleague, Sen. Bob Bennett.

And it was Orel who once again blamed his flip-flopping on the Democrats.

And it wasn't Orrin who flip-flopped on the Violence Against Women Act.

You might recall that Orrin, the great warrior in the cause to protect victims of domestic abuse, helped create the act in 1994.

And it was Orrin, standing up for those victims, who twice led the way to successfully reauthorize the act.

So Orrin was heavily criticized, once again being called a hypocrite, for opposing reauthorization of the act when he was facing a re-election challenge in 2012.

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