Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Chaffetz to oust Hatch?

The Tribune reports this morning that "sources" claim Rep. Jason Chaffetz is gearing up to take down Senator Orrin Hatch in the GOP Primary next year. Leaving aside Hatch's amusing histrionics* ("Waaaah! He promised not to run against me!"), I suppose it's not too early to start thinking about what it will mean for Utah if both of our Senators are Tea Party neophytes, more defined by their hardcore adherence to a strict ideological purity test than by political experience or work within the UT GOP machine.

Well, that last actually sounds appealing, doesn't it? Couldn't the case be made that a little fresh blood, uncorrupted by the mutual back-scratching and deal-making that defines Utah politics? After all, one of Lee's early votes was to say "no" to the PATRIOT Act extension that both Democrats and Republicans fell into lockstep support of. I like that. I like that so damn much, it almost makes me forget that Lee's civil libertarian impulses are a tiny part of his political make-up, more than overwhelmed by hard money crankery, a desire to participate in such amusingly insane exercises as attempting to ban the Department of Education, etc. etc.

Overall, and I'll be G*d-damned if I ever thought I'd say this, I hope Hatch triumphs. Chaffetz needs more experience before taking a whack at the Senate, and we need Hatch - he's been a Senator since roughly the time of the Book of Nephi and has enough "pull" to get excellent things done for Utah (when he has a mind to). Chaffetz is an ideological, not practical, candidate right now: Hatch's committee placements and contacts in D.C. are not without their value.

Still, it will be an interesting primary next year. Tea Party versus Republican Party - ROUND TWO. FIGHT!!

*: Oh, Orrin:

Hatch is disputing Chaffetz's version of a conversation the two had in Hatch's office in 2009, when Hatch alleged Chaffetz promised not to challenge him for re-election. Hatch is up for a seventh term in 2012.

"Jason has been with me right in my office and said that he's not going to run against me, and made it very, very clear," Hatch said during a Friday interview with KCPW, a National Public Radio affiliate with a base in Salt Lake City.

Chaffetz denies the pledge, and says he only pledged to run for his current re-election, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.


Spoken like a man with confidence and tact, Senator Hatch.

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