I remember a time when Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch almost personified the hard right in U.S. national politics. Now in his U.S. Senate 7th term (yes, 7th), he almost seems like Mr. Compromise. Hatch has probably changed a little, but the big changes is where stands relative to the no-compromise wing of the current conservative movement.
It looks like the Ryan-Murray budget deal will clear the Senate shortly. As everyone acknowledges, it isn’t that big of a deal nor that great of a deal and the biggest thing about it is it’s a compromise that will pass after a recent era is which compromise was a dirty word. So I just wanted to pass along, via “First Read,” an excerpt from Sen. Hatch’s statement announcing that he will vote for the deal:
“This agreement isn’t everything I’d hoped it would be, and it isn’t what I would have written. But sometimes the answer has to be yes. The reality is that Republicans only control one-half of one-third of government. Ultimately, this agreement upholds the principles conservatives stand for and, with Democrats controlling the White House and the Senate, it is the best we could hope for.”
Of course, Sen. Hatch was just reelected, and will turn 80 in the spring. It’s altogether possible that if he was up in 2014 he would have felt that such a vote and such a statement would be political suicide.