Congratulations to Orrin Hatch, renominated for a 73rd term as Senator from Utah.

OK, it’s not really his 73rd term. Still, he’s quite the survivor. It’s unfair to him that he’s getting paired with Charlie Rangel in news coverage. Rangel is a disgraced Member of the House who lost everything (including his reputation) but his seat and is clinging to just that; Hatch is still going to be a formidable presence in the 113th Congress next year. Rangel got himself in trouble; Hatch’s trouble had nothing to do with anything he ever did.

Hatch has been a serious legislator. He’s similar to Bob Dole, I think, without the sense of humor (or perhaps I just don’t properly appreciate Hatch’s sense of humor): both did more than their share of serious work in the Senate, but both also were perfectly willing to use the most vicious partisanship when they wanted, too. They’re not quite Ted Kennedy types, because Kennedy really seemed to be driven by real dedication to issues…you don’t get that sense, or at least I don’t, with Hatch, or with Dole. Maybe George Mitchell was a good comp from the Democrats? I liked Dole’s style more than I like Hatch’s style; Dole used mean humor, while Hatch, to my ears, uses sanctimony, although it’s certainly not as annoying to me as Joe Lieberman’s act, probably because I assume with Hatch he knows it’s an act. And also, of course, because I think Hatch really does work hard the rest of the time; with Holy Joe, it’s all posturing.

Anyway, congrats to Hatch on another term.

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

Jonathan Bernstein

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.