When you saw the AP story on Orrin Hatch returning to sanity after fending off the Tea Party nutbags, you probably said, "Ain't politics beautiful!" Now, you thought, Orrin can get back to what he seemed in the past to have a particular knack for—the politics of reality.
A few short months after fighting off a scary Tea Party challenge — by swinging far to the right and enlisting the help of the LDS Church to send its members to fill caucuses, Orrin told the AP reporter what anyone with an IQ equal to his hatband knows—Washington needs a "course correction":
"Neither side is going to get everything they want. But it is important that we move ahead, and that we do the art of the doable to pull this country out of the fiscal morass it's in. And I think we can."
It was the Orrin of olden days—BFF to Ted Kennedy and a leader who would compromise, work deals and get stuff done like no one in today's Congress. For that, we were willing to endure his annoying sanctimony and godawful song writing.
The transformation, apparently, was too soon.
Within hours of the story's publication, Orrin's handlers had the senator backing all over himself. Hatch mouthpiece Antonia Ferrier worked the levers:
“. . . Senator Hatch never – not once – said anything that would’ve lead anyone to come to the conclusion this story came to. Not once. The insinuation that the only reason he’s conservative is because he was running is offensive and stands in sharp contrast with his record.”
What's left of the Tea Party isn't buying it, of course. It's the betrayal they predicted, and like any dying beast in Utah, they can still slash and bite.
Glen Warchol is an arts, culture and politics contributor to Salt Lake magazine. He also writes Crawler at SLCene.com.