ORRIN HATCH STARTS TO CRACK…. MoveOn.org organized a protest at Sen. Orrin Hatch’s (R-Utah) Salt Lake City office recently, objecting to the conservative senator’s positions on health care policy and financing from the insurance industry. Andrea Mitchell asked Hatch about the protest during an MSNBC interview today.

Hatch initially talked about the broad base of financial support he receives, throughout the “health care system,” including “liberal people, conservative people and moderate people.”

But then the Utah Republican addressed the progressive organization behind the event at his office. “MoveOn.org is a scurrilous organization,” he said. “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.”

A few things stand out here. First, MoveOn.org isn’t funded by George Soros. Second, MoveOn.org isn’t “smearing” Hatch; everything the group has said about the senator is true.

But most important is the notion that Orrin Hatch intends to kick MoveOn “in the teeth.” I assume he’s not literally threatening violence against anyone, but this kind of rhetoric really is over the top. Some of Hatch’s own constituents in Utah gathered at one of his offices for a peaceful protest. 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?

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.