Friday, October 16, 2009

Craziest Republican of the Day: Orrin Hatch

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Asked yesterday by Andrea Mitchell about a protest outside his office in Salt Lake City, Sen. Hatch said this: is a scurrilous organization. It's funded by George Soros. He's about as left wing as you can find in this country. And they're up to just one thing, and that is to smear good people. And frankly, they're not gonna smear me without getting kicked in the teeth by me.

First, as TPM's Ben Frumin notes, is not funded by George Soros but rather by small donors.

Second, Soros, while on the left, is hardly the extreme leftist Hatch makes him out to be. Really, no one else in all of America is further to the left than Soros?

Third, what's with the violent imagery? Kicked in the teeth? I get that Hatch is angry, even if his anger derives from ignorance, partisanship, and his own ideological extremism, but what's with lashing out like that? And on national TV? It's one thing to say such things in private, where such hyperbole can be kept under wraps, quite another to throw a little rhetorical tantrum in public, without a trace of irony or humour, not least when you're a politician, an elected official.

If Hatch wants to take on, fine, he's free to do so, just as Democrats take on right-wing groups. But threatening it? Even if he didn't mean it literally -- and, of course, he didn't -- his choice of words reveals a great deal about his current mental state. Evidently, he's nuts.


I see, by the way, that this post closely resembles my friend Steve Benen's post on the matter. We both use a list (first, second, etc.) to comment on Hatch's threat, and we both note that Hatch isn't "literally" threatening violence. This is purely coincidental. I only read Steve's post after I'd already written this one (late last night, to be published this morning). I attribute it to great minds thinking alike, of course. Or maybe I just write a lot like Steve -- if not always, at least now and then -- a blogger I admire a great deal.

Anyway, let me quote Steve's conclusion:

We're talking about regular ol' folks -- concerned citizens who want to see a broken health care system fixed. Hatch believes the appropriate response is to go on national television and talk about kicking grassroots organizers in the teeth?

What do you suppose the reaction would be if Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he found the Teabaggers to be "scurrilous" and intended to kick them in the teeth?

Well, the right would freak out, and we'd never hear the end of it. But of course Republicans can get away with things Democrats can't, both in the media and in the political arena.

We need to change that by holding Republicans like Hatch accountable for what they say and how they say it. If he wants to kick in the teeth, we need to hit back hard.

When faced with serious, vocal, and organized opposition, after all, and unable to deal with the issue on the merits, all Hatch can do, it would seem, is threaten violence. That says an awful lot not just about Hatch but about Republicans generally.

It's always good to get a glimpse into the mind of the opposition, however distorted it may be.

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  • She was supposed to be a journalist. NOT ! who the hell cares what SHE thinks. She is bought and paid for. and certainly not a journalist. You go, Orrin

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:34 PM  

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