Orrin Hatch started his career with a quip about his primary opponent, Senator Frank Moss, saying “What do you call a Senator who’s served in office for 18 years? You call him home.” This year is Hatch’s 36th in the Senate—twice what Moss served. Sen. Hatch started his career as a strong conservative, and on many issues, like the Second Amendment, he is still a friend of the constitution. But his time in Washington seems to have changed the Senator when it comes to fiscal responsibility.
Hatch’s voting record is full of bad votes. The Senator voted for TARP, increases of the debt ceiling 16 times, the automaker bailout, the original creation of the Department of Education (that’s how long he has been in Washington), No Child Left Behind, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts, and the massive Bush-era expansion of Medicare. The worst part of Sen. Hatch’s record, however, is his abandonment of conservatives in the fight for the Supreme Court. Hatch recommended Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer to the court and voted to confirm each.
Utah has already replaced former Senator Bob Bennett with perhaps one of today’s best Senators, Mike Lee. Voters have a second chance in 2012 to replace a barnacled Washington insider with a fresh face—a constitutional conservative. State Senator Dan Liljenquist is running against Sen. Hatch. Liljenquist has strong private sector experience and a proven track record in the Utah Senate. Liljenquist was named Taxpayer Advocate of the Year in 2010 and 2011 by the Utah Taxpayer’s Association, Public Official of the Year by Governing Magazine, and Legislative Entrepreneur of the Year by FreedomWorks.
Liljenquist also has a strong record on pension reform. Liljenquist essentially fired the first shot of a revolution in public pensions by bringing the 401(k) to Utah’s state employees. The model has since attracted attention around the country, with other states copying the idea. It would be great to have Liljenquist’s pension ingenuity sitting on the other side of the Capitol from Congressman Paul Ryan and his proposed reforms to Medicare and Medicaid. The effect the two could have on the solvency of Social Security and the medical programs could be massive. The Senate needs idea generators like Dan Liljenquist, not ossified big-spenders like Orrin Hatch. Out with old, in with the new.