I'm conflicted on this one.
Don't get me wrong. Orrin Hatch, Republican Senator from Utah is a grade-A, certifiable, world-class asshole in his own right. He made his reputation by leading "the longest filibuster on a legislative issue in Senate history, taking the Labor Law Reform Act to a record six unsuccessful cloture votes (to end debate), killing the bill and earning Hatch a reputation as anti-labor. In the process, Hatch invented the "filibuster by amendment" tactic, proposing and filing more than 2,000 amendments to the bill, discouraging even supporters from supporting an end to the filibuster." In fact, this guy is the most consistent and tireless partisan of "rollbacks" on Civil Rights and Labor legislation, among other issues, in either House of the Congress.
But, this pond-scum is a one trick pony. He detects internal contradictions in the Liberal agenda and turns them on their head, much as roaches find food particles in any kitchen. Hatch takes advantage of the fact that American law in general and Liberal policy in particular can not address specific conditions or historical circumstances, but must translate them into generic abstractions, founded on the fiction of a universal similarity of the conditions of all “citizens”. An example is his latest defense of the Bush Civil Rights division’s “emphasis” on new kinds of discrimination, particularly religious discrimination against “Christians”. Shouldn’t religious discrimination be a fundamental priority of the Civil Rights Division?
Well, Senator, the Civil Rights Division has nothing to do with generic “discrimination”. It has been slowly warped toward such a ridiculous purpose by Republicans and Democrats alike, over decades of intentional confusion on the subject. The Civil Rights Division exists only because of slavery. In a country built on 200 years of legal slavery and 100 years of quasi-legal Jim Crowe, it was the rising demand of the Civil Rights movement for equality and the impossibility of denying that equality, at least in juridical terms, which caused its creation. It was not equality or even legal equality which was legislated, however, but merely a set of laws against “discrimination”.
And there, the slide begins. Are there not other “minorities” who are discriminated against? What about women? How about senior citizens? What do we do about sexual preference? Of course, in the face of a justice which is “blind”, the concrete circumstances of each of the above must be trumped by a generic perspective incapable of giving any kind of weight or specific character to the litany of “discriminations” which are created.
But we are just beginning. If our purpose is the general elimination of “discrimination” (ummm… no, that wasn’t anybody’s “purpose” except for you bunch of liars), then how can we discriminate based on being “white”? Isn’t Affirmative Action founded on discrimination (well, no… it was a substitute for the simple demand for economic equality which you threw onto working people in this impossibly convoluted way.. but it was somethin’…, etc.) and what about “forced busing”? The path to the defense of “Christians” as a priority of the Civil Rights Division is now straight and logical. Didn’t Bush win the election and doesn’t that give him the right to dictate “emphasis”?
So too on union elections, educational policy, healthcare and the “rights” of patients, governmental secrecy and many other points of “policy”. In each case, Orrin Hatch has been at the center of it, not just once, but as a traffic cop of the erosion, over decades.
Why the ambivalence, then, about this character? Because, Hatch didn’t do it alone. He has become a “statesman” in his old age due mainly to the “bi-partisan” way in which he pulled it off. Even that understates it, because Hatch sought out the biggest Liberals to advance his absolutely transparent agenda and they were in on it. Like Clay and Calhoun, the “great” slaver statesmen of the past, it was the compromise with those who are supposed to be on the “other side” which distinguishes him. Not least of these, were:
So the question is simple: who is the biggest asshole?