There have been some prominent conservatives that have made an exception to what otherwise would be an anti-incumbent sentiment as it pertains to a race between Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and upstart “tea party” candidate Dan Liljenquist for their party’s nomination.
On his Wednesday radio program, Mark Levin explained why he, along with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, was one of those conservatives.
“I think sometimes we conservatives lose perspective,” he said. “I think sometimes we talk about the importance of history and experience and yet sometimes we turn our backs on it.”
First Levin said Hatch may have had some missteps over the past few years, along with many Republicans during former President George W. Bush’s two terms in office. However, he told his listeners not to be so quick in ceding the tea party mantle to Liljenquist.
“Some of you are too young to know about Orrin Hatch,” he said. “All you’ve heard is, ‘Oh, he voted for TARP, he voted for this.’ And then his opponent is said to be a tea party opponent when in fact his opponent served in the state senate in Utah for two years, an OK record. No tea party activist, but he’s being clung to as somebody to promote the tea party agenda. I know very little about the man. Nobody knows much about the man.”
But Levin, who served as chief of staff for former Attorney General Edwin Meese during the Reagan administration, reminded his listeners of how strong of an ally Hatch was while serving as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee throughout the 1980s and 1990s, particularly when it came to getting judicial appointees confirmed by the Senate.
“Orrin Hatch was the most reliable conservative Republican senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee, among other committees that Ronald Reagan could ever rely on. And we’re going to throw him out of office and claim it’s a tea party act when you can see in the last three years how he’s been voting, how he’s been fighting for the balanced budget amendment and other things that we conservatives believe in since, frankly George Bush left office?”
Included on that list Levin said were William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, who have had or likely will have a lasting impact on the court.
“Nobody was a stronger advocate for William Rehnquist to move up to Chief Justice than Orrin Hatch. No one was a stronger advocate on the Senate Judiciary for Antonin Scalia than Orrin Hatch. Nobody fought more aggressively against Ted Kennedy for Robert Bork than Orrin Hatch. Nobody on Iran-Contra fought harder for Ollie North than Orrin Hatch. Nobody fought harder for [Samuel] Alito when he came under attack if you recall than Hatch and nobody fought harder for Clarence Thomas.”
Levin played some of the back-and-forth between then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden and Hatch when he was the ranking member of the committee after the Anita Hill sexual harassment allegations surfaced from 1991 to remind his listeners what a champion of the cause the long-time Utah Republican senator had been.