Wingnut on Wingnut Crime: Hatch vs Tea Party

Wingnut on Wingnut Crime: Hatch vs Tea Party April 17, 2012

There’s a very interesting fight going on in Utah, where Sen. Orrin Hatch is in the fight of his life trying to get reelected for a 7th time against a bunch of Tea Party candidates challenging him in the primary. Dick Armey’s group FreedomWorks is spending a lot of money against him. And Hatch is hopping mad about it:

“These people are not conservatives. They’re not Republicans,” Hatch angrily responds. “They’re radical libertarians and I’m doggone offended by it.”

Then Hatch, a former boxer, turns combative. “I despise these people, and I’m not the guy you come in and dump on without getting punched in the mouth.” …

Utah Republican Orrin Hatch has spent 36 years in the U.S. Senate, including stints as chairman of the Judiciary and Labor committees. He’s in line to become chairman of the Finance Committee if Republicans gain control of the Senate in November.

But back home in Utah, Hatch’s quest for a seventh term is not the cakewalk he had in the last five elections, in which he didn’t even have to run in primaries.

In fact, the Hatch campaign has spent more than $5.7 million in the past 15 months just to make sure he’ll survive the Utah Republican nominating convention on April 21.

“We’ve got to have new leaders in Washington if we’re going to change the direction of this country,” says Dan Liljenquist, a former Utah state senator and business consultant, considered the biggest threat to Hatch among nine GOP challengers.

Imagine how far to the right you have to be to think Orrin Hatch is not conservative enough.

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  • It’s a joy seeing fruit cakes like Hatch being eaten alive by their own diseased spawn.

  • D. C. Sessions

    I’m thinking of a sign with a hole in it for someone’s face and lettering on it saying, “here’s a mouth, Senator.”

    I seriously doubt that Hatch would be stupid enough to actually punch the person with the sign, but one can always hope.

  • Wait… I thought being voted in gave you a mandate to do whatever the hell you want? And yet he is talking about (metaphorically, I’m not suggesting he’ll literally do it) “punching them in the mouth” if they’re elected? Elections have consequences indeed.

    This is the part of the movie where the Republican party starts to back against the wall saying “Stop! I created you! I command you!”

  • raven

    Utah has been a theocracy for about forever.

    “We have both kinds of dictatorships, Fascist and Theocratic.”

  • John Hinkle

    “They’re radical libertarians and I’m doggone offended by it.”

    Hey, Hatch speaks Mormon!

  • tubi

    “They’re radical libertarians and I’m doggone offended by it.”

    Is that what they mean by a dogwhistle?

  • Just look in the mirror, Orin, and say: “I’m evil enough and I’m bitter enough, and doggone it, liberals hate me.”

  • davesmith

    I grew up in Utah, and I go back often to visit family.

    I would find it enjoyable if he were being beaten by a liberal, but frankly, I find this disturbing.

    I’ve always been at odds with the politics of Utah, but it’s been alarming to see the transformation in recent decades. Opinions that were once regarded as fringe have now become mainstream, and I’ve seen it reinforced at my parent’s house by neighbors talking to neighbors in organized meetings and at the kitchen table.

    What we have is the rise of the same paranoid political movement that powered Joseph McCarthy. It simmered below the surface in Utah for awhile, but David O’McKay endorsed Cleon Skousen from the pulpit, and Skousen carried McCarthy into the present day. It didn’t hurt that Ezra Taft Benson was an apostle (a member of the church leadership), then the prophet (the supreme leader), and was meanwhile a member of the John Birch Society. Now, Glenn Beck is a Mormon, a convert, and he’s promoting these same ideas.

    You have to understand that most Mormons have a deep loyalty to other Mormons, and they have a special fondness for converts, so seeing Glenn Beck endorse Cleon Skousen, and knowing Benson’s predispositions. Many Mormons see this as part of their cultural identity.

    …but the problem is that this is a deeply irrational bunch of people all sitting around confirming each others’ desire to believe in something that is not just pure bullshit, but damaging to the country. It was great when McCarthy got discredited — it would have been bad if his followers had regrouped and made a political party, but that’s what’s happening now. It is metastasizing as we speak into a kind of radical political block that will have a local influence for a very long time.

    It’s not just radical libertarianism. It’s a deeply anti-intellectual point of view that thinks our opinions are not just different, but that we’re part of a conspiracy to subvert the constitution.

    Fuck Hatch, but this isn’t good.

  • Michael Heath

    Freedom Works is the organization set-up by David Koch. They promote a libertarian-conservative philosophy, leaning heavily on the creationist-like Austrian School of economic theory which is heavily promoted by many libertarians – Glenn Beck being one. They’re pushing for more tax cuts to top earners and increasing negative externalities in the fossil fuel industry. Orin Hatch has a record of compromise and working across the aisle prior to current GOP obstructionism, which is anathema to the true believers. Freedom Works also links in directly with a large number of state Libertarian party entities so its not just libertarianism they promote, but the Libertarian party as well.

    I actually read Orin Hatch’s memoir several years ago because I find him to be a fascinating character. I mostly got to know him prior to reading his book by his incredibly idiotic questioning of judicial nominees. He was so dumb it was almost like watching a SNL spoof. His narcissistic lack of awareness regarding his behavior pushes the caricature of the oblivious politician to points arguably beyond the suspension of belief.

  • daved

    This being Utah and all, I presume that any Democratic opponent has no chance of winning? I’m in Massachusetts, and I have no idea what’s going on in Utah politics.

  • Michael Heath

    davesmith writes:

    It’s not just radical libertarianism. It’s a deeply anti-intellectual point of view that thinks our opinions are not just different, but that we’re part of a conspiracy to subvert the constitution.

    On simple issues like civil rights where the defense of principle is the primary focal point rather than understanding a complex aspect of reality and arguing for certain prescriptions, libertarianism provides predominately* lucid arguments. However when one gets into complex issues and ones which require some nuance for optimal results, the former best represented by economics and the latter foreign policy, the libertarian movement has always demonstrated a deep antipathy for intellectualism, experts, and the highest standards of objectively understanding reality. Therefore I would argue what is going on within the part of libertarianism which is now enjoying power and influence is fiercely anti-intellectual; and this is not new or radical within their movement but an attribute long-held, e.g., their fealty to the Austrian School of economics.

    Anti-intellectualism is radical to the conservative movement beyond the southern populists, but I don’t think we can assign all the blame for this infection within conservatism to libertarianism. Instead I would point to their movement merging with Christian fundamentalism and evangelicalism. Plutocratic libertarians are merely able to better exploit a more vulnerable conservative movement.

    *One exception is the property rights’ nuts who perceive no other rights exist, including the common wealth. A recent illustration of the first aspect of this sort of advocacy was Rand Paul’s argument with Rachel Maddow regarding the passage of the Civil Rights bill. Mr. Paul defended the property rights of business operators as if the rights of black would-be customers were non-existent.

  • ottod

    It is axiomatic that Utah is, overall, fiscally and socially conservative. It is also strongly libertarian: Utah was colonized to avoid oversight of a government run by those not of the faith, and legend has it that when Ft. Douglas was established, the cannon were trained on the growing colony because the Army feared the Saints more than the Indians. Nonetheless, Utahans have been nothing if not pragmatic.

    I felt both fear and disgust when Hatch was elected. I’ve been amused over the years when he has been described as cooperative or willing to work in bi-partisan fashion. Now, I’m frankly fearful of the future in a nation in which, even in Utah, it’s possible for Orrin Hatch to be considered by anyone able to read, write, and find their way to the polls as too liberal to be re-elected.

  • Someone needs to point out that a libertarian supports both gay marriage and abortion. The Tea Party is fanatic. But it’s not libertarian.

    Of course, neither are a lot of people who call themselves libertarian.

  • “Imagine how far to the right you have to be to think Orrin Hatch is not conservative enough.”

    The issue with Hatch, as with Linsay Graham and John McCain, is not that they’re not conservative enough. It’s that they’re not partisan enough. They occasionally reach across the aisle and try to compromise with the Dems to, you know, actually get things done. They speak in conciliatory language. They put on a public persona of reasonableness and temperance.

    This is treason. There can be no compromise with the Enemy. Being a Republican in Good Standing requires 100% undying loyalty to the tribe, fanatical devotion to the cause, and sneering hatred of the other side. Winning trumps all else. Good governance is regarded with contempt; that’s what those elitist liberals care about.

  • davesmith

    Michael Heath says (#11)

    …the libertarian movement has always demonstrated a deep antipathy for intellectualism, experts, and the highest standards of objectively understanding reality. Therefore I would argue what is going on within the part of libertarianism which is now enjoying power and influence is fiercely anti-intellectual; and this is not new or radical within their movement but an attribute long-held, e.g., their fealty to the Austrian School of economics.

    This rings true. Most of the Utah “Tea Party” members I know lean towards libertarianism, but it doesn’t capture everything that’s going on, IMO.

    The connection from Beck to Skousen to McCarthy is also very real, and I think this has introduced a new element. It’s the tendency to see liberals as part of a conspiracy (with communists, university professors, etc.) to undermine the constitution. The chatter I hear is as much about the conspiracy as it is the shining truth of libertarian economics.

  • M Groesbeck

    rturpin @ 13 —

    The Libertarian party line is that nothing calling itself “the state” or “the government” should be able to interfere with employers’ and landlords’ interference in the personal lives of those they control. Libertarians only “support” marriage equality and reproductive freedom in that they think the ability to repress individual choice shouldn’t be handled by a representative government but should be devolved to property owners.

  • grizzle

    “Imagine how far to the right you have to be to think Orrin Hatch is not conservative enough. ”

    Brilliant…

  • David C Brayton

    My first thought was how nice it would be to see Sen. Hatch return to Utah. But then I was scared about who might replace him. There is some serious crazy on the far right in Utah.

  • raven

    Someone needs to point out that a libertarian supports both gay marriage and abortion. The Tea Party is fanatic. But it’s not libertarian.

    Why should they. It’s a flat out LIE.

    What passes for looneytarian in the USA is just the Tea Party/GOP christofascists. The ones who introduced 800 bills to outlaw abortion and contraception in the USA this year. The ones who attack comprehensive sex ed and science, especially biology.

    The ones who wrecked the US economy and then bailed out Wall Street and the banks.

    There is no way in hell that Utah, a Mormon-fascist theocracy would ever elect someone who is pro-choice and pro gay marriage. The best you would get is some Rick Santorum class Dark Ager Mormon who thinks the commies are about to take over.

  • Michael Heath

    rturpin writes:

    Someone needs to point out that a libertarian supports both gay marriage and abortion. The Tea Party is fanatic. But it’s not libertarian.

    Of course, neither are a lot of people who call themselves libertarian.

    ‘No true Scotsman’ arguments are rarely compelling unless accompanied with convincing empirical evidence.

  • They’re radical libertarians…

    Since when? Radical (as in Reactionary), yes. Libertarian, no.

    The Teabaggers are only libertarian in the sense that they care about their own rights even when [especially when] they come at the expense of someone else’s rights (plutocratic libertarians like Koch want to be allowed to pollute “our” air, water and soil, and the Teabaggers are just fine with using the State to crush their hated “Other”, etc). That’s not libertarian. That’s “Okay, I’m on board, pull up the ladder”. That’s Propertarian.

  • Jordan Genso

    @13 rturpin

    Someone needs to point out that a libertarian supports both gay marriage and abortion. The Tea Party is fanatic. But it’s not libertarian.

    Of course, neither are a lot of people who call themselves libertarian.

    I live in the same community as the chair of the Michigan Libertarian Party, so when he wrote a blog post about what a Libertarian is on the hyper-local media site Patch.com, I was very pleased to see the first comment be about abortion. The chair tried to claim that the Libertarian position is to let the states decide, so I did my best to demonstrate how flawed that position is.

    It’s not often the chair of a state political party puts themself out in the public, leaving themselves open to questions/challenges. I think this chair learned why, as I don’t think the blog post won him many converts.

  • wordsmatter

    The Utah tea party mugged Sen. Bob Bennett, a very conservative Republican, at the 2010 state convention, because he was not sufficiently foaming at the mouth about birth certificates and Muslims for their taste.

    Now the state is represented by a “constitutional scholar” by the name of Mike Lee. He is to the US Senate what Clarence Thomas is to the Supreme Court, i.e., fiercely partisan, belligerently ignorant, unencumbered by rational thought, doctrinaire, and not especially bright. Exactly what the Koch brothers want.

    The Mormon Church, alarmed by the wackaloons now running Utah’s GOP and distressed by the evangelicals’ dominance of the Tea Party, urged its members to attend caucuses and elect more moderate delegates to the state convention. This the faithful did, in droves. Hatch now stands a better than even chance of surviving the convention, and might even avoid a primary.

    Two thirds of Utah voters would elect week-old road kill to office, so long as it has the sacred “R” by its name on the ballot.

  • Wordsmatter, what an idiotic test. Why would anyone be foaming at the mouth at Muslims for their taste?

    Everybody knows they taste awful.

  • dan4

    @25: Goodness, you’re unfunny.

  • dan4 (@25) “@25: Goodness, you’re unfunny.”

    I’m with you, dan4. Take that, person who posted @25!

  • matty1

    True Scotsmaning* is wrong but so is what I’m going to call reverse Scotsmaning.

    I see a lot of arguments along the lines of

    “Libertarians want to repeal civil rights laws”

    “What is your evidence for that?”

    “Well Rand Paul wants to and he’s a libertarian”

    “He denies being one”

    “Yes but he secretly is you can tell”

    “How can you tell?”

    “Because he wants to repeal civil rights laws”

    This is equivalent to announcing that Roger must be a Scotsman because he has salt on his porridge even though he was born in London, calls himself English and has never even been to Scotland.

    This is the internet, self described libertarians are only slightly harder to find than pictures of naked people yet criticism seems to focus on tying the label libertarian on people who don’t want it.

    For instance my preferred type specimen is Jason Kuznicki, now I can certainly find things to disagree with in his writing but I can also find things to agree with and don’t seem to find a lot of sneering at the less fortunate or advocating bigotry.

    *Yes I’m inventing words now, refudiate that

  • donalbain

    The right to trade includes the right not to trade — for any reasons whatsoever.

    From the platform of the Libertarian Party of the USA. Emphasis mine.

  • donalbain

    Apparantly, emphasis not added.

  • michaelraymer

    I remember Orrin Hatch from his militant views on intellectual property. In 2003 he stated that copyright owners should have the right to electronically destroy computers of those suspected of copyright infringement. The best part of the story is how days later it was discovered that his official website had an unlicensed version of a javascript menu. Granted, Hatch himself likely had nothing to do with the technical aspects of his site, but it was still an amusing irony that his own website’s server would have qualified for destruction under his draconian suggestion. And this guy isn’t wingnutty enough for the Tea Party? I don’t know what to think about that…

  • DaveL

    Someone needs to point out that a libertarian supports both gay marriage and abortion. The Tea Party is fanatic. But it’s not libertarian.

    Of course, neither are a lot of people who call themselves libertarian.

    Well, one might also say by the same token that they’re not Christian, since they oppose things like mercy, forgiveness, and helping the poor.

    The Tea Party: Part libertarian, part Christian, all Pharisee.

  • stace

    *Yes I’m inventing words now, refudiate that

    I wouldn’t dare to misunderestimate you in that way.

  • Ichthyic

    Teabbagers are nothing more than theemerging politicization of the evr growing numbers of authoritarians Altemeyer warned about years ago. I think they reached critical mass in the US in the early 2000s. If you can get existing political leaders to actually LEAD, and not keep trying to play to these people’s fears in order to try to get votes, it will diffuse itself…

    If not, IMO the US will soon be in the position of thinking McCarthyism was a grand time, comparatively.

    I think the vast bulk of these authoritarians would prefer the US to be a feudal system.

    No joke.

  • jameshanley

    @DaveL,

    since they oppose things like mercy, forgiveness, and helping the poor.

    “They” do? You can, I am sure, demonstrate that all libertarians–or even a majority of those self-identifying as libertarians–oppose those things?

    Please demonstrate that this article does not exist.

  • “They” do? You can, I am sure, demonstrate that all libertarians–or even a majority of those self-identifying as libertarians–oppose those things?

    Please demonstrate that this article does not exist.

    I don’t mean to pick on this, because I think you’re right in the abstract — libertarians are not monolithically self-centered or opposed to altruism. Many are, but not all.

    But it’s hard not to suspect that libertarian calls for private charity are anything other than a way to make their policies look less callous. After all, you don’t have to listen for very long before they start telling you about how the poor are 100% responsible for their lot in life and that giving them free anything will just make them lazy. If one believes these things, then private charity is no better than public.

  • I suspect that the teatards hate Hatch, not just because he’s not “conservative” enough; but also simply because he’s independent of them, able to stand on his own, and not easily pushed around by the corporate scum who are actually financing and manipulating the teatards. If there’s one thing authoritarians hate more than an enemy standing up for himself, it’s an ally standing up for himself. The teatards hate Hatch for the same reason Stalin hated Tito.

  • Someone needs to point out that a libertarian supports both gay marriage and abortion.

    No, they don’t; they support “states’ rights” to outlaw both. And they’ve spent decades demonizing the “collectivist” liberals who actually do support them.

  • “They” do? You can, I am sure, demonstrate that all libertarians–or even a majority of those self-identifying as libertarians–oppose those things?

    No, not all of them…just the ones who MATTER.

  • Michael Heath

    Raging Bee writes:

    No, not all of them…just the ones who MATTER.

    This is a growing pain for the libertarian movement, including the political party. They’re simply not used to having some adherents wielding power in a manner that significantly influences public policy. Where some are having heartburn that what they perceive as the repellant aspects of their movement are the very ones now enjoying power, or denying we’re even observing libertarians or libertarian policy in play.

    In all the years I’ve followed the movement the emergence of some with immense power is I think the biggest story to come out libertarianism. It’s frustrating to see some seek the comfort zone of the abstract arguments promoted by the powerless when the story worthy of attention outside the movement is how libertarianism is now a major contributor to the Republican party effectively:

    1) denying climate change and policies mitigating such,

    2) rejecting our increasing effective taxes to get our federal debt under better control,

    3) deny federal outlays in areas which promote economic growth,

    4) maintain subsidies and negative externalities for mature cash-cow industries (coal and oil) which also effectively creates barriers to entry for emerging green tech sectors, and

    5) those same old sectors enjoying massive rent seeking in spite of the fact those enjoying such guarantees future economic and security suffering due to climate change.

    What’s especially frustrating about numbers 3 – 5 is that while most right wingers defectively conflate business principles with economic-centric public policy when discussing growth and budgetary issues, business marketing classes, even at the college introductory level, clearly point out the obvious prudence of federal subsidies promoting emerging sectors while ensuring that mature cash-cows are not creating barriers to entry for other sectors and not pushing the costs of their supply chain onto taxpayers. [This topic revolved around product marketing life cycles and their relative market share and costs at each stage.] So from this perspective even when the right-wing defectively clings to business fundamentals as the sole way to promote economic growth, they’re wrong both ways, as a matter of economics and as a matter of fundamental marketing wisdom.

    It also reminds me of all the conservative rhetoric in the 1960s – 1990s regarding economic policy, much of which that was effectively checked from implementation by Democrats – for good and bad. However in the late-1990s through the Autumn of 2008, they were not checked. We observed their talking points implemented as policy where the results were predictable per basic economic principles and history. As we both know the reaction by conservatives was to double-down on their commitment to these failed talking points. They’ve also cast out long-time Republicans who were not conservative in their mind-set with the misleading title of RINOs.

    How will libertarians react to the fact those friendly to their arguments who are implementing are also causing harm? I think it’s arguably too early to tell. However the fact their powerful and many of the party regulars joined, allied, or pander to the Tea Party suggests either their thinking abilities are no better than conservatives or their attraction to power will outweigh the fact they’re violating some of the very principles some claim to admire – like the eradication of negative externalities and acknowledging and considering rights other than the property rights of those significantly funding their movement.

  • Michael Heath

    I misconstrued by point in the above post. The emphasized words are added here to clarify:

    . . . business marketing classes, even at the college introductory level, clearly point out the obvious prudence of federal subsidies promoting emerging sectors in certain instances while ensuring that mature cash-cows are not creating barriers to entry for other sectors and not pushing the costs of their supply chain onto taxpayers.

    Both business schools I attended did teach us to advocate for subsidies for all emerging sectors. They did point out that in a global market it’s prudent in some cases.

  • DaveL

    @34,

    James, I was responding to rturpin’s comment at @13, which opines that the Tea Party is not actually libertarian.

    I was just pointing out that, by the same token, neither is the Teat Part (not libertarians) particularly Christian, opposition to gay marriage and abortion notwithstanding.

    Sorry that wasn’t clear.