Sen. Orrin Hatch’s descent into buffoonery has been painful to watch. The Utah Republican has always been conservative, but he’d developed a reputation over the years for idiosyncratic tendencies, working with Dems on stem-cell research, the DREAM Act, and S-CHIP. When Hatch published an autobiography, he named it “Square Peg” — his way of defining himself as someone who doesn’t always fit in, even with his own party.

That was then. In recent years, Hatch’s persona has become angry and predictable. His stature and efforts to look like a statesman are gone, replaced with a cantankerous hack concerned only with impressing right-wing activists.

But even for Hatch, this is just cheap.

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) announced Friday he would introduce a congressional resolution disapproving of President Obama’s stance on Israel’s border lines, saying that “threatens Israel’s security.”

“By calling for a return to the pre-1967 borders, President Obama has directly undermined her,” Hatch said of Israel.

Hatch isn’t some rookie backbencher who got elected on a fluke. He knows full well what he’s saying is ridiculous.

Hatch knows President Obama did not actually call for a return to pre-1967 borders. He knows Obama did what people involved in the process have always done — identified these borders as a starting point for talks, with the understanding that they would be altered to account for Israeli settlements in the West Bank with land swaps. He knows that this has been U.S. policy for decades, as well as the common standard for the international diplomatic community.

Hatch knows all of this, but he intends to push a resolution of condemnation anyway, because he’s a shameless hack.

What’s more, whether he appreciates the larger dynamic or not, by undermining U.S. foreign policy on purpose, Hatch’s hysterics hinder the Middle East peace process itself.

The senator’s little stunt, in other words, carries real-world consequences. If only Hatch cared.

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.