Barron: Senator Hatch, It’s Time to Come Home

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By Morgan Barron, Opinion Writer

Like many children born in the ’90s, I was raised reading J.K. Rowling’s literary masterpiece, “Harry Potter.” The ideas and values explored in these novels profoundly impacted my personal philosophy. Now an adult, I was chilled when listening to Senator Orrin Hatch’s responses to questions about his rumored 2018 senatorial campaign, “We’ll have to see…[President Trump] knows I’ve been a very faithful supporter…and actually would like to keep one of his best allies [in the Senate] if he can,” as his words seemed to echo the same rhetoric of Bartemius Crouch Junior, the Death Eater who ‘alone remained faithful’ to Lord Voldemort. While it might seem childish to compare one of our elected representatives to a villain in a children’s book, his response is disturbing without the parallels to fiction, as it shows that his loyalty does not lie with the Utahns who sent him to D.C., but to his party and its temporary leaders.

Hatch has been flirting with another Senate run for over a year, despite his 2012 campaign promise to not seek re-election. With 41 years in power, Hatch is the President pro tempore and cites his power to do good for Utah as the reason he continues to run and why Utahns should support him. “I still have the chairmanship of the Finance Committee and there will never be another Utahn that’s chairman of the committee, at least not for 40 or 50 years.” However, after becoming the longest serving Senator, Hatch has begun to speak about the Senate seat he is currently filling as ‘his’ seat. In March of this year, he made a comment about maybe stepping aside if someone like Mitt Romney would run in his place, almost like he was the one tasked with picking a successor instead of Utahns.  

During his visit to Utah earlier this month, President Donald Trump said, “We hope you will continue to serve your state and your country in the Senate for a very long time to come.” It is not shocking that Trump would want Hatch to remain in office as the senior Republican Senator has been supportive of the majority of Trump’s key reforms: he voted to confirm everyone of Trump’s appointees, he supported all of the unpopular Republican healthcare bills and crusaded for the tax bill that only 29 percent of Americans support. He truly seems to be a faithful follower of the new Republican order. However, if Senator Hatch does choose to run in 2018, he may be reminded that he serves at the pleasure of the electorate, not the President.  

Seventy-eight percent of voters in Utah believe Hatch should retire. Perhaps this is because Hatch has become increasingly unresponsive to groups in Utah who do not share his same view. When talking about Bear Ears National Monument earlier this year, Hatch discounted years of native-led research saying, “The Indians, they don’t fully understand that a lot of the things that they currently take for granted on those lands, they won’t be able to do if it’s made clearly into a monument or a wilderness.” Maybe it is because he is towing his party’s line instead of representing Utah and American values. Despite being ‘concerned’ over the sexual assault allegations facing Judge Roy Moore, he is unwilling to condemn the potential Senator. Hatch, have you forgotten what to call a senator who has been in Washington for over 18 years? Sir, I will remind you and the people of Utah of your 1976 response: “You call him home.”  

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http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/letters/2017/12/07/letter-one-of-the-best-youve-served-under-its-time-to-go-sen-hatch/

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/21/16686864/orrin-hatch-reelection