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Why Not Hatch?

March 19, 2012

Utah caucuses were held last week, and they were more an event than perhaps they’ve ever been. My precinct increased attendance from 20 two years ago to 135 this year. The state party indicates this turnout increase was repeated in most precincts across the state.

I spent much of this past weekend calling many of the newly elected state delegates. I didn’t encounter as much hard line Hatch support as I expected. Instead, I found a general defensiveness, a latent loyalty to “our guy”, and a dislike of what they would likely describe as extremist influences “taking over”.

So where do these influences come from? Why is there this perceived animosity towards Senator Hatch? Why are these groups targeting stalwart, long time Republicans like Orrin Hatch instead of going after President Obama and the Democrats?

I can sum it up in one sentence: Because of the years 2000-2006.

We Republicans go on and on about what President Obama has done to our country. And rightfully so. We’re mired in a recession. Our debt has exploded. Obamacare was rushed through Congress, purposely misled about its true cost, and adds to the entitlement debt issues hanging over our country’s head.

In this presidential election season we are all hopeful Republicans can take back the White House, recapture Congress, and fix the problems our nation faces. We can all agree on that. But I’m old enough to remember the last time we accomplished this goal. We got our Republican president, we controlled the House and had a majority of the Senate. Unfortunately, fiscally speaking, those years resemble far too much what we’ve had the last three years under Obama. With long time Republicans in power, our spending increased almost 50% in just 5 years. When given the opportunity to fix entitlements and put our government back to fiscal sanity and sustainability, we instead increased entitlement spending and put it all on the future taxpayer credit card to the tune of $15 trillion. And did it in arguably the same underhanded way that Obamacare was passed. With many of today’s congressional Republicans in power, we passed what the comptroller of the United States dubbed, “the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s”.

How can we rail against Obama’s spending and debt when we’ve done the same thing? How can we expect change to come to a Congress with an all time low 13% approval rating if we keep sending the same people back? What makes us believe Senator Hatch will somehow change his spots after 36 years? What makes us believe he’ll be any different with the GOP in power than he was just a few short years ago? Why would we want to gamble on this?

Perhaps most importantly, how can we expect to be taken seriously by anyone on fiscal policy if we continue to vote for politicians who consistently vote to increase spending and debt?

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