Salt Lake City
Longtime Republican Utah Senator Orrin Hatch doesn't like libertarians. Although the future of the Republican Party may depend on the principles of libertarianism, Hatch believes they're "radical" and he's "doggone offended by it."
For more than three decades, Orrin Hatch has served as a Republican Senator from Utah. He has held intermittent stints as chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. Hatch is also slated to become the next chairman of the Finance Committee if the GOP regains the Senate in the fall election.
Not so fast? Hatch has had it relatively easy in the last five elections, but his determination for a seventh term may not be as easy as it seems. The Utah leader has spent nearly $6 million in the last year to contend at the Republican nominating convention on Apr. 21.
He is facing tough competition from former Republican State Senator Dan Liljenquist and former State Representative Chris Herrod. But a new poll of delegates suggests that 61 percent support Hatch, while 22 percent support Liljenquist and five percent support Herrod.
This may be good news for Hatch and the establishment GOP in the short-term, but in the long-term will the Republican Party lean more libertarian due to the rise in popularity of 12-term Texas Congressman Ron Paul? Hatch sure hopes not, at least according to an interview he participated in Thursday.
Hatch, who is a former attorney, told NPR that he hates libertarians.
“These people are not conservatives. They're not Republicans. They're radical libertarians and I'm doggone offended by it,” stated Hatch. “I despise these people, and I'm not the guy you come in and dump on without getting punched in the mouth.”
The senator’s remarks may come as no surprise because he has served as the opposite of a libertarian: Hatch has voted to raise the United States debt ceiling 16 times by a total of $7.6 trillion, he voted in 2008 in favor of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and has supported various anti-terrorist bills, which many libertarians claim are an infringement on civil liberties.
Hatch’s record is now becoming the focal point of the campaign trail. FreedomWorks, a Super PAC that has spent more than $670,000 criticizing his past and Russ Walker, national political director of the group, told the news outlet that Hatch has served a longtime and has a record of expanding the size of government.
A radio and television advertisement warned Utah voters: “Orrin Hatch has risked your children's future by voting to raise our nation's debt limit 16 times. Orrin Hatch gave away your family's money for bailouts for Wall Street bankers.”
Hatch serves with Mike Lee in the Senate, a Tea Party Utah Republican, who has worked closely with libertarian-leaning Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.