Salt Lake Tribune slams Senator Hatch

Utah's Senator Orrin Hatch has spent half a century in Washington, D.C. in his current role, leaving a huge imprint on Capitol Hill.  Hatch is also recognized as the ultimate swamp creature – a Washington insider who has perpetuated a system that is out of touch with the people and entirely too reliant on cooperation with Democrats.

Since cooperation is a dirty word these days, there are many rank-and-file Republicans who would like to see Hatch replaced with a younger, more conservative candidate.  Indeed, at age 83, Hatch's strength and stamina to represent the people of Utah are being questioned.

The Salt Lake Tribune ran an editorial on Christmas Day excoriating Hatch and calling on him not to seek an eighth term in the Senate.

The Hill:

The Tribune went after Hatch for his involvement in President Trump's decision earlier this year to shrink two national monuments in the state, saying there was "no constitutional, legal or environmental logic" behind the move.

"To all appearances – appearances promoted by Hatch – this anti-environmental, anti-Native American and, yes, anti-business decommissioning of national monuments was basically a political favor the White House did for Hatch," the editorial states.

The Tribune also noted Hatch's involvement in the passage of the GOP tax plan last week given his role as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

The plan has been criticized by opponents who say it primarily benefits wealthy individuals and corporations, claims that backers of the plan reject.

The editorial criticizes Hatch for saying in 2012 that it would be his last campaign, but now appears to be preparing to run again in 2018, which would be his eight term.

"Once again, Hatch has moved to freeze the field to make it nigh unto impossible for any number of would-be senators to so much as mount a credible challenge," the paper said.

"That's not only not fair to all of those who were passed over. It is basically a theft from the Utah electorate."

I'm not so sure that it's a "theft" to play smart politics.  Hatch is keeping his options open by, for all intents and purposes, putting the Utah GOP Senate race in suspended animation.  I doubt whether the Tribune complains or accuses a Democratic senator of "theft" when he pulls the same stunt.

And it's strange that the leading newspaper from a state where 70% of the land is owned by the federal government should raise a ruckus when some of it is given back to the people. 

Still, the paper has a point.  Hatch is too old and too out of touch to be an effective Republican in the Senate.  Fifty years in Washington has made Hatch much more the Washingtonian than Utahan.  Worse, he has lost credibility with even many Republicans to the point where it's an open question whether he could even win a general election.

Unless the Utah GOP were to nominate a candidate to replace Hatch as toxic as Roy Moore, any Republican should win in a walk.  Hatch should realize that and step away from politics gracefully before he is rudely shoved aside by his own party.

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