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

Published February 3, 2017 8:48 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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.

Again. The criticism was unfair. It was Orel who opposed the bill that Orrin had so valiantly championed. And it was Orel who again blamed the Democrats for having the audacity to include immigrants and gay people as worthy of protection from domestic violence.

Orrin would never do that.

And it was Orel who made Orrin look like a flip-flopper when Orel said in 2015 that President Obama's Affordable Care Act required states to set up exchanges or lose out on millions of dollars in federal tax credits.

The statement was made to support a lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the validity of Obamacare's federal tax subsidies.

Orel made Hatch look like a hypocrite because Orrin co-wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal which suggested that setting up a state exchange was not a condition for residents to receive Obamacare premium tax credits ­— just the opposite of the position Orel took in 2015 to support the lawsuit against Obamacare.

Now, Hatch has slammed Senate Democrats for their attempts to delay votes on some of President Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees, saying the Democrats are not fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities.

Don't worry. It wasn't Orrin who neglected his constitutional duties by refusing to even have a hearing on Merrick Garland, Obama's Supreme Court nominee. That would be hypocritical. It was Orel who did that.

And it was Orel who wrote the op-ed piece in the Deseret News saying he had met with Garland and that had not changed his mind about withholding the nomination. That op-ed was published the day before Orrin had actually met with Garland.

So there is nothing to criticize here. Both Orrin and Orel have been consistent in their own ways.

The only question when you go to the ballot box in 2018 is who will you be voting for, Orrin or Orel? —






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