Utah Senator Orrin Hatch Dead At 88, Knew How To Work Across The Aisle

Friends Orrin Hatch And Ted Kennedy

The nation discovered late this afternoon that former Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, who became the longest-serving Republican senator in history as he represented Utah for more than four decades, died at the age of 88.

The way he governed and worked while in office gets a needed underscoring at this moment on my blog as his life is reflected upon.

There is no doubt that he was a conservative on most economic and social issues. But he also well understood that the Senate must operate and move forward, as well as the nation. So with that basic understanding, he worked with Democratic members of the body to marshall votes on topics from stem cell research, rights for people with disabilities, and expanding children’s health insurance. I recall him always being a friend to the Lion of the Senate, and my personal favorite, Edward Kennedy.

It was that bipartisan nature from Hatch, and the poisonous blowback from harsh conservatives who opposed crossing the aisle, that prompted me to write in 2012 the following.

This is more evidence of what is wrong with the Republican Party, and American politics.

The conservatives within the GOP are so ideologically driven, and so blinded by the purity test, along with the lack of ability to understand why compromise is the meat and potatoes of politics, that they willingly and recklessly drive off over the cliff.

Senator Hatch is conservative, and yet reasonable and mindful of the role elected officials must undertake to ensure that government can govern!  That is what teabaggers can not grasp, have no interest in understanding, and why they are a most destructive element in this nation today.

As a liberal, I must say I respect Hatch.  I do not always agree with him, and often chafe at his words and votes.  But I can see his larger interest in making sure government works, and that is why I could sit down with him and work out a deal if I were a member of the senate.  We need more folks who are willing to talk, and fewer that want to lob political bombs.

The Senate could use several more members who, like Hatch, knew the art of governing is partly done with the friendships and bonds of respect made off the chamber floor.

And so it goes.

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