The Sad Trajectory of Orrin Hatch

Even conservatives used to reach across the aisle. Today, they’re too scared to try.

Comments: 180

  1. I never voted for Gov. Romney when he ran, and won, in Massachusetts, but he did govern effectively... but these days that only means so much. Running for President, Romney tried to deny or at least qualify his leadership in establishing a fuller, more compassionate health care program for his fellow citizens... just as Senator Hatch has been willing to assist in the possible dismantling of CHIP, a program he helped to create and protect. Let's hope a future Senator Romney takes his lead from Republican Senators of the past: Olympia Snow, Jacob Javits, Chuck Percy, and Ed Brooke. Otherwise the Trump-Republican Party is here to stay.

  2. Don't hold your breath... Romney is the sort who'll say and do anything to get power, first posing as a 'moderate' Republican as Mass gov and then swinging to (his natural) far right in his campaign for President ("corporations are people, my friend!"). And he toadied up to Trump in (desperate) search of a cabinet post! Romney is only in this to try and 'position' himself for another run for president! He has NO ideas and offers NOTHING!

  3. Or how about Susan, can a hide behind Mitch, Collins?

  4. "Let's hope a future Senator Romney takes his lead from Republican Senators of the past" my foot. Let's hope the folks in Utah come to their senses and elect a Democrat, "otherwise the Trump-Republican Party is here to stay". How can any responsible American defend the ignorant disaster Trump? Time to clean house of those who have put us in this terrible place and that means every Republican as they all justify and refuse to acknowledge the disaster their entire party has become.

  5. Another Republican who has sold his soul to the devil and doesn't seem to care. When you do whatever it takes to get reelected, including disavowing the actual process of governance you used to participate in and toeing the extreme party line, you wind up saying things like this: " 'We are going to make this the greatest presidency we have seen, not only in generations, but maybe ever,' Mr. Hatch said." (referring to Trump). Sad is right.

  6. So true. It is incredibly sad to see this pathetic old man who was trusted to "serve his country" honor the constitution ,and his fellow citizens ..betray that trust. His life's work now a shambles and a disgrace. Shame on him and the republican party.. the party of Lincoln led by thieves, thugs and liars What a legacy this old man leaves...

  7. I find it somewhat amusing that a state that has produced Robert Menander and other quasi criminals as Senators of the year’s refers to someone else’s Senator as having “ so.d his soul to the devil”.

  8. Right you are. Add McCain to that list. It's the Republican, stupid, not the country.

  9. Don't blame the "indecent dynamic" of the times for Hatch turning into a hack who kowtows to the far right instead of being a legislator who serves his country. Leadership means taking the right stance, even if it's risky. If standing up to the Tea Party agenda meant he would have faced a well-financed opposition in the next election, then so be it. He's not there to preserve his Senate seat at all costs. He's there to serve his country at all costs. He forgot that, as have so many others in the GOP.

  10. One minor correction to the excellent summary of the situation: Hatch is like ALL of the others in the GOP- completely amoral.

  11. Agree. It is in times of adversity and the threat of losing ones position of power , that the true test of integrity arises. A test Hatch failed.

  12. Hatch a decent man? This is a man who called Trump "one of the best" Presidents he's seen. A decent man--a man with principles--would have quit and looked for other employment rather than sell those principles out completely in order to keep that job. It's not like he was desperate for funds to feed his family. His net worth is estimated at almost $5,000,000.

  13. Would it matter if Hatch were “desperate for funds to feed his family?” Perhaps the United States Senate is a shelter for the GOP underprivileged to escape the cold.

  14. Actually, Hatch originally said that our current president was “one of the best I’ve served under.” He later clarified that statement after many pointed out that the legislative branch did not serve under the executive branch but was pretty much equal. Sadly, it would appear that too many of our legislators do not understand this simple precept.

  15. Why would we think they -- Hatch and Romney -- are decent people if they can't stand up for their principles and to the far right? What's decent about that?

  16. Well, Gov. Romney hasn't knuckled under yet. I didn't vote for him, but there's no question he's a decent, not to mention talented, man -- to whom I will give the benefit of the doubt to until proven otherwise. In fact, I'd love to see a moderate like Romney in the Senate. God knows, the man has been vetted. Dare I suggest that, as a senator, Gov. Romney just may have the gravitas and moderate politics, tempered by consideration and respect for other's opinions, that could help lead our country back from the partisan abyss that threatens to destroy our divided nation.

  17. He's already knuckled under. He went crawling to Trump because he wanted to be Secretary of State.

  18. "It’s not that Mr. Hatch is a bad man. He’s surely a decent man, trapped in an indecent dynamic. And now, the smart bet is that he will be replaced by another decent man, Mitt Romney. Mr. Romney once called President Trump “a phony, a fraud.” The arc of Mr. Hatch’s career suggests that Mr. Romney will use different nouns two years hence, if not much sooner." Edmund Burke, the 18th century Irish-British statesman and philosopher acknowledged as the founder of modern conservatism, said that "the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Good, decent men like Hatch and Romney.

  19. If memory serves, Orrin Hatch was one of the senators who treated Anita Hill like she was a disease during the Senate hearings for Clarence Thomas. He earned my contempt for that, and his recent insane praise for Trump cements my opinion of him.

  20. @JE Perry: Yes he did and he was one of the worst. It was heartbreaking and disgusting to watch.

  21. really, how can any of these congress people live with themselves after kissing the boots of Trump? A disgusting display...his cabinet did the same thing...the worst adorer is PENCE....he truly treats the man like the god that he professes to follow so "strongly" to use his hero's words......sickening.

  22. "Mr. Romney once called President Trump 'a phony, a fraud.' The arc of Mr. Hatch’s career suggests that Mr. Romney will use different nouns two years hence, if not much sooner." Romney is the supreme opportunist. He will say whatever he thinks will get him elected.

  23. Mr.Hatch's support of Trump and the current GOP agenda suggests that he is not at all a "decent man." Decent is as decent does. Mr. Hatch has set fire to his legacy and ends his career as a man willing to do great harm to this country and its children. Shame on him.

  24. This piece and the ensuing comments bring up the hoary old argument of whether it's "the person" or "the times." For those who believe it's the person, then Hatch comes off as pusillanimous, if not hypocritical. For those who believe it's the times, Hatch is "a decent man trapped in an indecent dynamic." I believe the article has it about half correct: Hatch is probably a decent man, but not enough of a leader to rise above his times--few are. We'll probably have the opportunity to see if Romney is merely decent, or be a true leader. I believe this piece has it about right: Hatch is probably a decent man, but he is surely no leader in the best sense of that word.

  25. If a decent man does not act decently, what does it mean to be a decent man?

  26. But doesn't "decent man" include things like integrity? courage? honesty? I think framing the matter as not being a "leader in the best sense of that word" misses the obvious and excuses an all to characteristic moral failing of many politicians and almost all current Republicans. What I am particularly puzzled by is how such senior folks with established reputations and impressive careers all but concluded end on such a low note, selling themselves for just a few more hours in the sun.

  27. Do you mean Mitt, I was against the auto bailout before I was for it, Romney?

  28. Fact: We incarcerate more than any other. Fact: If we cut defense spending in half we would still be paying far more for war than any other. Fact: We are the most unequal of peoples with three of us hording half of America's wealth. Fact: We are the only advanced nation not in the World Climate Accord. We proliferate guns like no other and die by them like no other. All of this is promoted by the GOP. There is no good Republican.

  29. "All of this is promoted by the GOP. There is no good Republican." While I agree with your comment overall, I know too many people who I regard as good, and Republican, to agree with your last statement. They are good, but they are naive. People aren't born with critical thinking abilities, and these people have been listening to the half- and outright- lies of Fox for years. More importantly, many of them have been raised with religious convictions that make it difficult not to believe what the majority of their religious community believes. I have a hard time thinking of these people as bad, just deluded. In some ways this makes the problem even harder to solve.

  30. May I add one more: We are the only developed country without universal health care. Chalk that one up to the Republicans as well.

  31. The transition began during the Clinton administration. I remember being shocked when Senator Hatch would certainly lose his temper and begin spewing the most absurd, Fox-generated lies. Gradually, everything disappeared but the vitriol and the willingness to say (& believe) anything. As with the entire GOP.

  32. Excusing these soulless Republicans because of "an indecent dynamic" doesn't pass the smell test. Was Hatch a "decent man" when he said there's not enough money for CHIP -- after giving money to billionaires? When he called Trump maybe the greatest president of all time? Was Romney when he insulted the 47% and called them "takers"? When he groveled before Trump when Trump dangled the Secretary of State in front of him? No, both proved they will sell out for the highest bidder for either money or power. It is not the times; it is them. They are creating the "indecent dynamic," not suffering from it.

  33. They have all sold their souls to multi-national corporations (which are people according to rMoney) and far-right billionaires. At long last they all have no decency. If you typically vote Republican, vote for the Democrats this coming mid-term: send your party a message.

  34. I can't help but believe "that Mr. Hatch is a bad man." When you give up all your values just to get re-elected and to be in the graces of the radical Right you lose the right to be a good man.

  35. Exhibit number one in the argument that if we publically financed federal elections, the principles our legislators would espouse would be closer to their own rather than their donors. Better they display character rather than characterization of some buffoon with dark money operating like a roach, which is only out of sight and when the lights are out.

  36. "Exhibit number one in the argument that if we [publicly] financed federal elections, the principles our legislators would espouse would be closer to their own rather than their donors." I have come to firmly believe this as well. Campaign finance reform is the only hope of preserving what remains of American democracy, taking the big-money donors and corporate money out of the federal equation, with the added benefit of returning the huge chunks of time legislators must spend groveling for campaign funds to instead invest that time in actually legislating for the people. Democracy cannot continue in a nation of the donors, by the donors, and for the donors, and as far as Utah goes, I don't have much hope that Mitch "Corporations are people, my friend" Romney would be any kind of improvement to that end.

  37. Amen my friend. If you could convince 100 people of your wisdom and insight who could then convince 100 more people each I think we would have a prayer. Thank you for the reminder that our officials spend more time dialling for dollars than serving the public.

  38. I must disagree with the last paragraph: He is a bad man. No one is "trapped" except that Hatch has no courage or vision to govern for the future. This sums up the Republicans in general, doesn't it? How about using the skills gleaned from the "epochal service" to actually do something positive for the majority in America?

  39. these republican leaders took an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of The United States" Everything that they have done over the last years has been the opposite. They are spineless and will be remembered as such. Let the door hit him on the way out.

  40. Mr. Tomasky, this is an incorrect statement: "It’s not that Mr. Hatch is a bad man. He’s surely a decent man, trapped in an indecent dynamic." Mr Hatch is not a decent man. Decent people do not abandon their moral values. He has abandoned his. It is very difficult to find decent politicians, and in this day and age almost impossible - especially if you are a Republican.

  41. Senator Hatch trained in a profession in which the ability to make a case articulately and convincingly is a prized skill. One of the best ways of convincing others is to first convince yourself, even if your argument is false. Hatch was very good at what he did. Being good at self deception and defending the indefensible may be a prized skill in the halls of wealth and power, but it doesn't make a person good or decent. "By their fruits shall ye know them".

  42. The only thing left "decent" for Hatch will be a decent burial.

  43. What is a bad man if it's not a man who's ethics and principles are for sale in exchange for power, Why does a man, once posing as a decent man, fallen into pandering and sycophancy, who is willing to abandon decent behavior in order to curry favor with an obscene president and corrupt colleagues, deserve to be called decent.

  44. Not a word here about Hatch's blind (or perhaps wide-eyed) support for the quack medicine and natural supplement industry in his home state or his, and his families, enormous wealth accumulated by buying into and defending those interests with laws forbidding the FDA from regulating the industry.

  45. I am not particularly excited about the probable Senator Romney due to his horrible show in 2012 in which he tacted right and it leaked that he would move center once elected. I just hope that if elected, Romney does what is right and opposes Trump.

  46. So, in his final term Hatch has been a "decent man," behaving badly? Not something I'd want in my obituary, political or otherwise.

  47. "It’s not that Mr. Hatch is a bad man. He’s surely a decent man, trapped in an indecent dynamic." This hits the nail on the head, in my opinion. That, and he behaves as though he's convinced that what he's doing is right. As a constituent of his, I am glad he's stepping down. He lost my vote when he voted yes on the Tax Bill.

  48. “ It’s not that Mr Hatch is a bad man...” It’s easy to be a good person, to do what you think is right when doing so doesn’t cost you anything. Hatch, when faced with doing good and possibly risking no his career as another one of our octogenarian rulers, decided career was more important. Doesn’t necessarily made you bad but it doesn’t make you good either. It simply makes you a person who at best has supple principles or at worst no real principles at all. Since Hatch has already trained himself to be accommodating it wasn’t hard for him to embrace Trump. The really pathetic thing about his encounter with Senator Brown was how he insisted he was still a man of the people. All this while wearing a $1000 dollar suit.

  49. "The really pathetic thing about his encounter with Senator Brown was how he insisted he was still a man of the people. All this while wearing a $1000 dollar suit." The most efficient way to deceive others is to first deceive yourself. I suspect Hatch really thinks of himself as an honorable man. It's part of his brand. And now that he is retiring rich, what could possibly force him to reevaluate? There will be no visits by ghosts of Christmas past, present and future to change his mind, I'm afraid.

  50. Please, Mr Hatch, go home. I am sickened by the Republican Party walking in lockstep with an out-of-control president. Yes, indeed, what happened to those days when Paul Wellstone and Jesse Helms could be at opposite ends of the political spectrum, yet still be friends, and close ones at that? There are no more statesmen/women. Party before country. Do NOT, at any cost, give Obama a win. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Now that you will be a private citizen, perhaps you will spend some time in reflection to see how your party has torn this country apart, all because there was a Democrat in the White House.

  51. No, Jan -- all because there was a black democrat in the White House.

  52. Until the recent tax bill, my most vivid memory of Sen. Hatch was at the Thomas-Hill hearings. He and Sen Specter -2 former DAs grilled the witnesses. I watch as the two traded off questioning and while I disagreed with them I was in struck by the deftness of the work. I remembering remarking that if I needed a lawyer I would want one as good as those two. I have had grudging respect for him over the years and was sad to see his groveling last month after the passage of the tax bill. He remarked "You are one heckuva leader, and we’re all benefiting from it" A good decent man brought low. I wish he had hung up his gloves earlier. Maybe now this will free him to speak more honestly.

  53. I lived in Utah for a decade in the 80's-90's. That was a long and difficult decade. I will always remember what my 90 year old aunt said once, when Hatch was on TV blathering. "There's Hatch orrinating all over the senate floor".

  54. There is no nobility in working across the isle as far as a republican politician is concerned. An attempt to do so triggers a primary challenge from the extremist right wing of the party. In this toxic environment, the only option for a guy like Hatch is to maintain a partisan posture, even to the detriment of the congress and the country. These are dark times we live in, and, unfortunately, there’s no light at the end of this tunnel.

  55. The review of Mr. Hatch's earlier accomplishments is true but incomplete; he has also been guilty of appalling self dealing. In particular he has almost singlehandedly prevented any meaningful oversight of the "nutritional supplements" industry, which has always been a very dubious health enterprise and in which he and his family have significant financial interests. Now however like almost all of his Party he has entirely succumbed to Trump and therefore abandoned the principle of a government of laws and not men.

  56. Being a good, decent person means DOING good and decent things. Senator Hatch has abandoned doing good for his constituents and the entire nation in order to help himself win re-election. This is the opposite of good and decent. It is bad and wrong. He is right to retire because he has already destroyed his legacy and any further time in the Senate will hurt millions more. For now, he is but one task at hand - push through the re-funding of CHIP.

  57. Indeed, Sen. Hatch's senatorial career charts well with the general trajectory of the Republican Party over the same time. But it does seems clear that he left his old sensibilities about bipartisanship and compromise on his own ash heap of history. In that way, the past several years of his work seem to embody the caricature of the politician who would say and believe anything to get themselves elected. Ring, must be the flip flopper calling from Massachusetts. I miss the old Sen. Hatch and the country is weaker for his surrender.

  58. When it comes down to the nitty gritty Republicans can be relied upon to revert to their base instincts. The shrinking list of Trump critics in Congress puts their priorities in clear perspective. Harsh words are inevitably followed by lockstep loyalty. Hatch is just one more example and any spark of decency in Romney will be snuffed out in short order once the fundamentalist Republican mindset asserts itself.

  59. Like others, you had me until the part about, "he's surely a decent man." It's amazing how many of the over 60 and over 70 republican politicians continue to espouse the selfish, holier than thou, right-wing rhetoric that values the wealthy and influential portions of the population over the much larger portion of working people, women, children and elderly.

  60. If the last decade had taught us anything, it's to not count on the election of Republican "moderates" until the votes are in. I'm sure Utah is capable of finding a right wing Republican crazy enough to present a serious challenge to Romney for its primary voters.

  61. The stranglehold the Democrats and the Republicans have on the Americans voters is the two party system. Independents make up the largest block of voters but cannot by and large vote in primaries if the register that way. There is no pretense of working together anymore and we all are suffering for it. Citizens United and the two party system are killing American Democracy.

  62. You can surely have an independent candidate of your choosing. Why should you be allowed to affect the choice of a democratic or republican candidate when you are not a party member? I have a lot of respect and affection for Bernie Sanders but I did not appreciate how he inserted himself into the democratic primaries and tried to destroy the party when it became clear he would not win the nomination. The virulent anti-Hillary sentiments coming from his supporters was an ugly thing to witness and were not helpful when the first item on the agenda should have been defeating Trump. And I believe that the Sanders supporters were also targeted on social media to whip up this frenzy of hate for the democratic candidate. Who among us cares to admit that they were played? But this is in the past and there are no do-overs in our system of government. Let us never forget what it cost us. As for Romney, I doubt that he will want to toe the Trump line as I'm sure he'll want to be perceived as the rational choice for 2020. Let us not be deceived.

  63. The Republicans need to clean their Augean stables. Resignations and retirements like the wave we're seeing won't be enough. The tactical changes, dances, and shifts we're seeing are all tilting away from their duty as statesmen and patriots. They're nothing but pure partisans now, working explicitly against the more perfect Union they obliged themselves to support. The rest of the nation needs to view them as a hostile force, and their actions as deliberately treasonous against the will of the majority. The prior records of Hatch, Romney, et al., are all immaterial. No "indecent dynamic" works without the complicity of the people in it, and the ugly fact is, they're willingly complicit in making an indecent dynamic into their political brand. Republicans are shameless, spineless, and openly for sale--not just corrupt but corrupted. Americans need to repudiate them, not lay nosegays on the graves of their former decency.

  64. Hatch, like all GOP Congress, will be remembered as a traitor to Democracy, a traitor to We The People, and a guy who sailed off into the sunset with a huge, indecent, tax cut for himself, as all congress are millionaires, if not billionaires, his 1% donor overlords, corporations, the Koch network who dictates all things to the republicans, and trump, his family, his businesses while at the same time making health insurance unaffordable for many, gutting Medicaid, refusing to act on funding CHIP, and ignoring the reality of 88 Million Homeless Americans. He took the money and ran. Not a statesman.

  65. Well, Mr. Tomasky, I beg to differ. Orrin Hatch IS a bad man. Anyone who would pander to the extreme right to put their re-election above the good of the least of us in this country is NOT a good man,

  66. Mr. Tomasky is simply extending professional courtesy to a fellow phony. Would you believe, based in this op-ed, that the author is a well-known "liberal" journalist?

  67. Hatch used to be a friend of Ted Kennedy. I wonder how Kennedy would feel about his old friend now - after Hatch voted to repeal virtually every law Kennedy ever authored or co-authored. I'm glad he's leaving the Senate, but I have no illusions that what comes after him may be even worse than he is.

  68. Orrin Hatch's political career is a great example of how the political sphere has rotted away. Partisan politics has corroded the very purpose of congress, to serve the American people. You've served us well Senator Hatch, but alas you served long enough to be on the wrong side of history.

  69. We have come a long way from "Profiles in Courage" (President Jack Kennedy was the authorfor those too young to remember) where individuals in politics were celebrated for crossing party lines to do the right thing. Senator Hatch has left that profile behind. This column is an unusual exercise in civility and fair mindedness. Yes, Senator Hatch is "not a bad man"; however, he has made bad choices, which he may come to regret as Mr. Trump takes us on an increasingly wild and deranged ride. The tweets yesterday alone suggest the sad future e.g. "I have a bigger button than you". As a retired mental health professional, the meaning of that comment can only be described as sad.

  70. Helpful background but what I am curious about is why so many Republicans sold their souls or how they were corrupted by Trump. Watching Hatch at that love fest for Trump where he actually said Trump would be the best president in history was bizarre considering that historians regard George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklyn Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and many others far more highly. Trump will be lucky to rate not at the very bottom of the list. Was the corruption step-by-step? Was it scaffolded from the tea party to the Trump delusional world? It corresponds with the rise of autocracies and kleptocracies, and the involvement of Russia in Trump's election suggests outside players and influence. We know that McConnell, Rubio, McCain, Graham, Scott Walker and Kasich accepted $7.35 million from a Russian oligarch. Hatch's donors seem to be more medical, tech and financial. But you don't sell out 13 million Americans who will lose their healthcare and the millions who will have their premiums raised in order to give the 1% 83% of the tax breaks for the rich that Hatch just shoved through. And you do't sell out the 9 million poor children who depend on CHIP for their insurance. Good riddance.

  71. They allowed themselves to be corrupted by the $$$ waved before them by donors - from whatever stripe. That made no difference to them. Republicans were always like that. This was just the right kind of environment with the right sort of president to bring their ugliness, stinginess and heartlessness to the fore. When it comes to donor money, the Democrats are just as needy, but they are not heartless and try to do good for their constituents.

  72. "Helpful background but what I am curious about is why so many Republicans sold their souls or how they were corrupted by Trump." I have a friend who insists that Trump ruined the Republican party. As though one vile old man could single-handedly cause the entire party to sell their souls en masse. It just doesn't happen that way. Trump, if anything, just helped show what hypocritical straw men these "moral pillars" really were. The thing to remember is that, when this nation's crisis came, the Republican leadership all got behind the Russian candidate in lock step. I agree with my friend that the Republican party is ruined; just not with his simplistic explanation of how it happened.

  73. Sadly, we've already witnessed Romney bow before Trump: he allowed himself to be considered for Secretary of State. Romney is a chameleon, and may yet be the biggest con man of all.

  74. Oh come on, Hatch is as venal and opportunistic as any politician. For instance, he has enriched his friends and family by being the champion of the nutritional supplement industry, as the New York Times reported in this article: This is not "a decent man trapped in an indecent dynamic." This is a man who was in office while that dynamic was forming and did nothing to oppose it. If Romney decides to run, he will probably be elected. I doubt that he will be any different because with all his harsh words and high-mindedness regarding Trump, he still jockeyed for a position in the Trump administration.

  75. Hatch shouldn't have attacked CHIP as unaffordable as a result of the Republican tax cuts he authored. If Utah wasn't weary of Hatch before, his statements were certainly a nail in the coffin. Romney has an opportunity to course correct but I wouldn't expect wonders. The left doesn't current;y have anyone who can beat Mitt in Utah and few on the right are willing to try. Like Hatch for so long, Romney can basically set his agenda with competitive immunity. The words will change but the "47 percent" will remain the same.

  76. How good is Orrin Hatch? Well, he helped pass a tax reform bill that will make him even wealthier than he was before it, and now he's decided to retire, as has a slew of other Republican congressmen who will benefit enormously from tax reform.

  77. Orrin Hatch has been the lead Snake Oil Senator for the vitamin-supplement industry for decades, enriching himself, his family members and the Snake Oil industry in the process. Hatch represents the worst of American political corruption. “I am committed to protect this industry and the integrity of its products,” Hatch told a gathering of unregulated pill-pushers in Utah in 2014. Hatch has been blunt about helping his family and friends in the fake drug trade. “I do whatever they ask me to do many times because they’ve never asked me to do anything that is improper,” Hatch said in 2011. He was referring to the firm of his son, Scott Hatch, a longtime (wealthy) lobbyist for the supplement industry. In 1994, Hatch helped to completely deregulate the supplement industry so his sugar daddies could rip off the American public with impunity with the Dietary Supplement Health and_Education Act, which has been characterized this way: "Let the supplement industry have free reign to market untested products with unsupported claims, and then we’ll fund reliable studies to arm the public with scientific information so they can make good decisions for themselves. This “experiment” is just a gift to the supplement industry and the result has been an explosion of the supplement industry flooding the marketplace with useless products and false claims." Orrin Hatch is a disgrace to America.

  78. Hear hear! One of my former bosses - an honest and ethical lawyer - is devout LDS, a former president of his Stake, and one of the local council of seventy in the Seattle area. He is the one who pointed out to me Hatch's unethical ties to the supplement industry. He deplored it and seemed embarrassed by it when he told me.

  79. If one's choice is between the medical industrial complex and big pharma vs. supplements, I choose supplements. Hatch's role in allowing people to choose their own natural medicines was a good thing, in my opinion. Most widely used supplements have roots in traditional medicine, and in fact, have reams of supporting research studies, so they should not be dismissed out of hand as "snake oil" This is one of the few times I disagree with you, Socrates.

  80. As an OBGYN I spend too much time debunking the myths perpetuated by the supplement industry about their products’ health benefits for pregnancy. I highly recommend viewing an excellent documentary on PBS Frontline; “Supplements and Safety.” Anybody remember that murderous weight loss poison from the supplement industry, Fen-Phen?

  81. Maybe he used to be a decent man, but the man I saw and heard groveling to trump, referring to him as maybe the greatest president ever, sure appeared to be nothing but a soulless, craven, husk of a man, who sold out his constituents, along with his dignity and integrity on the altar of power. Mitt Romney may also be thought decent. He's well mannered, educated and speaks coherently. He's also a plutocrat, a hypocrite and will forever be remembered for "the 47%". The 47% that he and Paul Ryan were/are not concerned with because they're "takers"; "corporations are people too, my friend". If Utah wants to send a really "decent" man to the senate, I suggest they look at former independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin. He's got the resume, smarts, honesty, sincerity and integrity. He also seems to have something else very important and sorely lacking in trump's ring kissers: the courage to speak truth to power, and the ability to know right from wrong.

  82. The story of the trajectory of Orrin Hatch is also the story of the trajectory of the Republican Party. John McCain also went South after a challenge from the Tea Party.

  83. This native of Utah has watched with disappointment as Mr. Hatch has fallen from grace. He relinquished his status as a statesmen and submerged into Trump's world with the worst of his party's politicians. I am glad that Utah will be rid of him.

  84. A decent man? Perhaps; but surely not a courageous or principled one. Unless the senator was doing head fakes for 30 years, he certainly traded his comfortable seat in the Senate for his inclination to do the right thing, over and over again. Profile in something, but most assuredly not courage.

  85. How do you define "decent"? Orrin Hatch voted for the tax plan, but when he was asked about health insurance for poor children (CHIP) he said "we don't have money anymore." He explained further: "I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won't help themselves, won't lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything." Hatch isn't "trapped" in the current poisonous dynamic. He has had enormous power in the Senate. Hatch made his decisions. They were far from decent and his statements about them were worse.

  86. Given his retreat from supporting CHIP, I beg to differ that "he's surely a decent man." I never thought I'd be eager for Mitt Romney but I believe the man has principles.

  87. Hatch became a bad man. He became a person who forfeited his own beliefs in order to stay elected. And he did it in a way that was not even sneaky. He literally changed his stripes in public for all to see. Yes it is a sad trajectory, and despite what people think, not true of all politicians. And Romney has shown to be an ideological wind sock, so we can expect more of the same.

  88. "Decent" men do not compromise their principles so radically for personal gain. Hatch may once have been an honorable man but like so many in the GOP he sold his soul to the devil (tea party) and now trump. Had he and others like him in the GOP stood up to the right wing fringe I suspect the political,landscape would look very different from what it is today. But we have also watched others like McCain and Collins who voted for the tax cut to the wealthy do much the same. The honor and decency has gone from the Republican Party and people like Hatch should retire as they do not have the strength of character to stand up for what is right.

  89. This affliction seems to have completely taken over GOP leadership. Otherwise it would be reasonable to expect some of them to renounce their party's complete devotion to the service of the 1% and change their affiliation. Instead they are riding it out, mute when they should speak out, or actively and loudly embracing their new Trumpian identity as Hatch has done.

  90. Hatch fought for years to make sure that manufacturers of dietary supplements can make their goods without any regulation or oversight. Many people have suffered, but Orin made out very nicely, thanks to the lobbyists for "big alt-med". He was their champion in Congress.

  91. We like to hate on these congressmen but are they to blame? Yes, they are being forced to shift their principles to the right, but the people, us are voting for them! Why is it that voters are finding these more polarized figures more popular than centrist candidates who are willing to reach across the aisle? Hatch shifted his principles further to the right most likely for two reasons, pressure from dark moneyed interests and the public's ever growing tolerance and acceptance of vast polarization.

  92. "It is not that Mr. Hatch is a bad man..." I am sorry, but we are defined by our actions and Mr. Hatch's actions are loud and clear. Doing the wrong things, whatever the reasons or circumstances, still make them the wrong things. Mr. Hatch is a bad man as of today.

  93. Regarding Senator Hatch, a question is whether political exigencies trumped his moral and political values or whether his values coarsened over the past seven or eight years. Perhaps a combination of both.

  94. The article failed to mention the influx of oodles of far right wing money after the Citizens United decision. This money funded many of the primary challenges that have made many Republicans sell their souls simply to stay in office.

  95. What is the point of "He's surely a decent man?" Hatch "was" a decent man before he sold his soul after recognizing that a decent brand of politics a thing of the past, and that Hatch valued power over decency. His statements about Sonia Sotomayor during her confirmation hearing are proof of that.

  96. The article suggests that character was not part of Orrin Hatch, who obviously believes the only measure of a politician is whether he is re-elected. In today’s GOP that re-election means you do what its wealthy weirdo backers request. That opens their pocketbooks to finance whatever misinformation and scurrilous attacks are sufficient to drown every opponent.

  97. "Most important, they teamed up in 1997 on the State Children’s’ Health Insurance Program, the same program that’s on the block today." He helped establish CHIP, but now says there is no money to fund it but that there is plenty of money to fund the tax cuts for the 1%. He is a tired, old, hypocrite who won't be missed.

  98. It was absurd for Orrin Hatch to defend his support of the tax bill by stating that he was born to modest means. At this stage in his career, Hatch's upbringing is long since a moot point. What counts is he has used his power - and it is clearly for the wealthy.

  99. Sen. Hatch is just the tip of the GOP iceberg. Maybe, if the electorate doesn't catch up with these people, global warming will !

  100. More importantly, Ted Kennedy, his friend, born into privilege and wealth, championed causes for the dispossessed, those without voices. I bet Ted is turning in his grave and looking the other way in shame.

  101. I remember when I could look at Mr. Hatch with respect. He was one of the movers and shakers who could work in a bipartisan manner with those across the aisle and make some differences, some improvements.. sadly that all fell by the wayside in this past decade... he became one who appeared to believe that it is now us vs them... it was embarrassing to hear him chastise members of his committee because they were unable to read all the changes in a bill that came out in the middle of the night as though they were little kids shirking their homework responsibilities.. he says its important for one to know when to step down - sadly he came to that realization one term too late as trump would say SAD.

  102. Donald Trump saluted Orrin Hatch for being kind beyond words to him. Would that Mr. Hatch had looked out for our nation, rather than just his party and its Bully-in-Chief figurehead.

  103. So this means that the GOP, whenever it has power, has just been a "do nothing" legislature! That sounds like much bigger and more important news than the retirement of a man who could do nothing for 42 years except take a paycheck for work he never did..

  104. Please expand your definition of 'decent man' to all the people whose lives were disrupted when Romney's Bain venture financial team took apart their companies, loaded them with debt, and walked away with tax payer billions in their pockets. Clean, dressed in expensive suits, well groomed and polished. No public scandals or spurned spouses. Big deal. Couple of hustlers in the GOP mold, closet Birchers, and water boys for Koch types. Like Trump, neither man is fit to clean the loos at any Obama venue.

  105. Your comment reminds me of a comment by C. S. Lewis: "The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. "

  106. You describe Mitt Romney as a "decent" man. I disagree. When he was a teenager at Cranbrook School, a fancy private school in Bloomfield Hills, and while a son of the governor of Michigan, this teenager, walked his teacher, who was blind, into a closet, instead of helping him to the door. Great fun, eh? Yes, immature, but the cruelty of that act is instantly obvious to anyone reared with compassion. In Judaism, one is taught "do not put a stumbling block before the blind." I learned this as a child. Apparently not part of LDS liturgy, or at least not grasped by Mitt. What type of "decent man" do you become if these are your acts as a teen? And let's not forget the dog on the roof of the car.

  107. Like many, Hatch should have departed a long time ago. He has been a leader of the GOP obfuscation club for a long time now. He can now hand over to Romney who knows a thing or two about double-speak. Mitt will be Flake 2.0. Make mutterings about Presidential decorum while voting for every foul idea Trump can dial up. What a disgrace.

  108. The Story of Orrin Hatch shows us how money ruins politics on two frons. In both cases, it does so by radically changing the politician. Why should an experienced, well liked politician change his stripes midstream during an election season? A concentrated surge of money in a primary can elevate a lousy candidate to national status in a local contest and force the change. What we see happening is money from anywhere in the world can be applied in a small area to greatly affect the outcome. This causes money to be used a type of blackmail to force a politician to heel to the money people. When that happens, the politician becomes a puppet. Values and integrity are someone else's problem. The second is how wealth directly changes the politician. When Hatch reached across the isle some twenty years ago, I would venture to guess that he was not worth the many millions he is worth today. After their bank accounts are bursting at the seams, all of a sudden, trickle down, supply side side economics makes a lot of sense. Suddenly, tax cuts for the super rich are priority one. Their expanding wealth is now the pathway to middle class prosperity. They worship money and power and nothing else. They bow their heads in prayer and claim to follow the Bible. Apparently, it's much more difficult to actually follow the teachings they claim to uphold, then line their pockets. Ask Hatch about it.

  109. Your comment hits the nail straight on the head. Campaigns now are arms races fueled by big money donors. Money and the pervasive advertising it buys shapes the view of a candidate held by the voting populace. The threat of with holding that money buys legislators lock, stock, and barrel. Citizens United is the accelerant that burned down American democracy. Past tense used purposefully.

  110. Unfortunately much of this could be said of senators from either party. What is telling is that so much emphasis is being put on the Senate count, now 51-49 GOP. It is simply assumed that in the great majority of cases votes, will be on party lines, no matter where the senator is from. No matter what the particular states needs are. The few GOP senators who had originally balked at following a party-line vote ("I did not come here to hurt people") came under intense fire and eventually followed party lines. We voters are much to blame. We are the ones who are threatening anyone who crosses party lines--we are as unforgiving as Schumer or McConnell. If a Dem were to vote with the GOP on any issue, he/she is likely finished. We MUST start electing moderate candidates--and then supporting them even if they do not always vote our way on social or financial issues. They do not become RINO's or DINO's by having moderate views. IMHO we voters are the ones who must stop being so ideologically pure.

  111. Frankly, Hatch seems completely satisfied with his spinelessness. He's another "I got mine" Republican. Trump - best president? WHAT? What are they drinking on the Hill?

  112. " As midnight approached, Republicans on the usually collegial committee united to push an amended version of their tax overhaul toward the Senate floor, prompting an angry exchange between Sherrod Brown, the Ohio Democrat, and Orrin Hatch, the committee chairman and Utah Republican, over who really benefits from the bill. 'That whole thing about higher wages, well, it’s a good selling point,' Mr. Brown said. “Just spare us the bank shot, spare us the sarcasm, and the satire.” ... Mr. Hatch said. 'I come from the lower middle class originally, we didn’t have anything, so don’t spew that stuff on me.' ” (NYTimes, 17Nov2017) A non sequitur, from a Senator now worth millions. His argument amounts to "don't confuse me with the facts."

  113. I would have started with Anita Hill. "[N]o one trashed Anita Hill with more zest" than Orrin Hatch. Zero integrity thereafter.

  114. In summary, Hatch was and is a rank political opportunist. Don't try to glorify him.

  115. When Senator Hatch angrily told Senator Brown that "he cam from a poor background, and grew up with nothing", Senator Brown should have told him to start voting as if he still were poor!"

  116. Yes , Sen. Hatch was an effective legislator with Ted Kennedy until the political Tea Party wind was in his face. I certainly doubt that his friend and liberal ,the "lion " of the Senate , Kennedy would ever modify his positions in the face of changing times. Sen. Hatch is the epitome of the leaderless Senate. Let's hope Mitt Romney doesn't hurt his back bending over to shine Trump's shoes.

  117. Neither Hatch nor Romney is from Utah. Both have come to the state only to exploit it for their own agenda. I find it interesting that the nation seems to think that Romney is the heir-apparent. I hope the people of Utah will examine all candidates to select the person most likely to govern rather than build a personal empire as Mr. Hatch has done. So far, while Mr. Romney has many fine qualities, I have yet to see him understand much beyond privilege and entitlement. What was that percentage he mentioned during his campaign...

  118. The arc of mr. hatch's career tells me that it is time for term limits -- maximum of two for a senator. Why? Senators are no longer are interested in governing because they are in mortal fear of losing their jobs. If no job guarantee exists -- if it is, in fact, specifically legislated against -- than the fear of being booted out no longer exists. The only motivation will be one of governing and public service. With only 12 years, max, to make a mark, maybe their better natures will take over. Yeah, I believe in miracles and fantasies, but those are better than what we have now.

  119. The problem with term limits is that it pretty much ensures that legislators will use their time in office as an extended audition for their future employers.

  120. Term limits cut both ways. Imagine Senators with 6 years to do whatever they want, knowing they can't be re-elected, only hired by the companies whom benefit the most from their legislation. With no voters to face or fear back home, why should we expect them to serve in the voters' best interests on a final term?

  121. If Senators have no fear of being booted out by their constituents, then doesn't that defeat the purpose of a republic? I thought that our representatives were supposed to be just that - citizen representatives. They win elections because we voted for them to represent us. If there is no fear that they will loose an election, will they still be responsive to their constituents needs and requests?

  122. "It’s not that Mr. Hatch is a bad man. He’s surely a decent man, trapped in an indecent dynamic." Sorry, but there's no such thing as retroactive decency. You're either decent or you're not, based on your current words and actions (mostly actions). And Hatch has proven for years that he is fundamentally indecent, to the point that he will deprive poor children of health insurance to benefit the wealthy -- even when he's not running for reelection. He's a disgrace to humanity.

  123. So Romney's the heir apparent? Great . . . another empty suit to vote the party line.

  124. We must have different definitions of the term "decent" - a man who demonizes a truly outstanding and well meaning President because the racists and bigots in his party demand it, is not decent. A man who would let tens of thousands of kids lose their healthcare coverage is not decent. A man who has spent his career ensuring that bogus health supplements are completely unregulated, in exchange for millions in payoffs from that industry, is not decent. Good riddance, Orrin Hatch - what a waste of a 42-year career and Senate seat.

  125. History is fulled with "decent men, caught in indecent dynamics". They do most of the killing.

  126. Remember his treatment of Anita Hill. He is NOT a decent man.

  127. Maybe he was an effective leader who reached across the aisle 20 years ago, but what is he know? Benedict Arnold started the Revolution as one of the most die-hard patriots, but that's not his legacy.

  128. A truly decent man does not sell his principles and his soul to retain power. He does not tell himself that the greatest good is keeping his Senate seat. He "knew what he had to do" in 2012? No, he did not have to do what he did, and he thereby forfeited his claim to honor and decency. After 42 years in the Senate he will likely, and appropriately, be remembered for his disgusting and degrading words about Trump, "the greatest presidency" ad nauseam. What has happened to the minds of these Republicans? A decent person cannot understand it.

  129. Here's a thought. If Mr. Hatch and other retiring republicans want to salvage their legacies, how abut skipping the usual K Street money grabs or Fox News sellouts. Instead, these elected officials could retire and actually do something good for their country by taking on the SCOTUS Citizens United decision. Step up and spearhead a constitutional amendment drive to overturn this impediment to democracy. Are you listening, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (R-Fl), Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) and the dozens of others leaving??

  130. Hatch has loved to invoke Ted Kennedy's name as if to elevate himself as a bipartisan life form. Watching him grovel in front of Trump last week at the tax love-in was one of the most disgusting moments in human history. What a crash-and-burn moment.

  131. It is sad to see 'former legislators' like hatch become Republican voting stooges just because they fear not being re-elected. Instead of going down in history as good men who were overrun by their political party machine, men like Hatch will be remembered as political hacks. How sad!

  132. I'm looking for the article about Democrats reaching across the aisle to govern rather than being part of the resistance movement. Maybe you can start with the six Congressmen calling for Trump's impeachment. When will you be writing that article, Mr. Tomasky?

  133. Never, because the country is in extreme danger due to an unqualified Chief Executive who cares only about what he can get away from. My question is why only a mere six representatives want trump impeached. #notmypresident

  134. When the ruling party is writing legislation completely in the dark and using political tricks to get it passed, legislation which will by all expert accounts actively harm the majority of this country's citizens and benefit only the very rich, then uniting to actively resist is an act of patriotism. When success comes down to a single vote, resisting as a unified block is the only way. The great moral issue of our time is whether, and to what extent, people were willing to stand together against the corruption of Trumpism and Kochism, which have come to define the Republican party. That party is now rotten to the core, even to the point of trying to quash investigation into Russian cyber-assault on our democratic institutions, and either mutely cooperating with or actively praising (as Hatch has done) the most corrupt man ever to hold the position of POTUS. If there are republican representatives willing to work on legislation that would truly benefit this country, of course they will find support from the Democrats. But they will also find themselves completely at odds with their own party in doing so. We live in very unusual times, perhaps the moral equivalent of the civil war. Those who love this country and what it stands for need to stand together. "Reaching across the aisle" only works when there is good will and good intentions on the other side. As Orrin Hatch has shown, that is not a workable assumption right now.

  135. A politician cares about the next election. A political leader cares for the next generation. Take a wild guess on which side Mr. Hatch belongs!

  136. A Dorian Gray career. It's actually really sad. That man used to stand for something extraordinary.

  137. Orrin Hatch-the art of the chameleon.

  138. Ultimately, the problem lies with the caliber of voter that resides in Utah. Like any recipe, the product is only as good as the ingredients in it. Utah voters have placed themselves in the Devil's embrace with their fervor for the Grand Old Plutocracy's ideology and platform, so what else can be expected from their elected representatives?

  139. How can a demonstrated hypocrite who demonstrates no discernable consistency of viewpoint be called a decent man? Yes, the dynamic is indecent, but that's the time for decent people to step up. Instead, we got what you document.

  140. Based on recent votes, there aren't any "decent" Republicans in the Senate. I can't wait for November. I'm looking forward to kicking a number of them into the unemployment line and replacing them with Democrats who actually care about people other than the wealthy.

  141. The arc of Mr. Romney's career also suggests he will not call Trump "a phony, a fraud," should he run for Hatch's senate seat. It is a relatively new phenomenon that Congressional Republicans love their jobs so much that they are willing to sell their souls to keep them. Perhaps Mr. Hatch, when again an ordinary citizen (well, not a senator), can explain how that happens and what is more important than one's soul.

  142. They say everybody has a price , in selling out they pay a price . Perhaps Mr. Hatch is ruing what he has been responsible for , once you do the bidding of the politics involved and go against your principles , all the good you have done is overshadowed by all the harm you have done. It is time to get the big money out of politics and get principled men and women in office that will not be tempted to waver and sell out their principles .

  143. Just for the record, neither Hatch nor Romney is a decent man. Their words and deeds have proved that beyond a reasonable doubt.

  144. R's only seek compromise when they're in the minority. When they're in control there isn't so much as a token effort to compromise. Compare and contrast the ACA process (months of debate, multiple committee hearings, expert testimony, included over 100 R amendments, etc.) to the process for the Great R Tax scam.

  145. Expert testimony? Perhaps,( whatever "expert" means....Krugman?!!?) but as far as I could tell not a single citizen, caregiver, patient, doctor or nurse was given an ounce of consideration

  146. Oh, please, democrats and republicans used to be adversaries in Congress and friends outside. Hatch was always in the pocket of big business. Look at what he did with the over-the-counter vitamin/minerals claims not requiring proof. Snake oil turned into a huge industry under his guidance. How much was he paid?

  147. Longevity in Senatorial office combined with hubris has apparently left only a husk of Mr. Hatch's former integrity intact. A good example for the creation of term limits.

  148. I too, remember Senator Hatch working closely with Senator Edward Kennedy. Those were truly the "good old days" when our elected representatives in The House and The Senate actually made working together the rule as opposed to the exception. This is almost unheard of today. North and South Korea may soon get along better together than Republicans and Democrats do in DC. It is both understandable and sad that Senator Hatch resorted to mud slinging to get elected his last term. He chose the mud, instead of working together, which is what he had been doing for his most of his career in the Senate. In with a bang and out with a whimper. There is one silver lining: he left in spite of Trump begging him to stay.

  149. Mr Orin Urial Heap Hatch is a very very bad man. I remember him from the Clarence Thomas hearing and he is the embodiment of what ails America. Yesterday is gone and men who worship old ideas and old ways of doing things endanger the lives of our children and grandchildren. The cloying unctuousness of Uriah Heap Hatch who always demeaned those he thought below him on the social scale and his willingness to extol the virtues of those who he perceived as being above him set the stage for 2018 where America has an insane executive , incompetent legislatures and a justice compromised judiciary. The only question Mr Uriah Heap Hatch leaves behind is whether America can recover from being the kind of country its founders sought to escape.

  150. I am curious why you feel surely that Mr. Hatch is a decent man. His political conduct the last few years does not indicate this in the least.

  151. How many unethical and conniving actions (recently Garland and CHIP) does a man have to take before "balanced" journalists stop saying "I'm sure he is a decent man?" I'm sorry, but decent men do not enable and perpetuate degeneracy, racism, voter suppression and the unraveling of the social safety net. The only way that Hatch differs from a standard criminal is that his felonies are suborned by the plutocracy.

  152. The comments about "decency" are spot on. I would also add that Hatch has lost another important characteristic---integrity. Lest anyone think we are being too "judgmental", I suspect that Hatch has known for quite some time that he would not again run for re-election. What would he lose by being honest? Financial security in his retirement? Not likely. Not being invited to certain clubs? Why should he care at this point in his life? As disturbing as his comments and actions have been of late, his comment that there is no money for CHIP gives us yet another astounding irony. I imagine Senator Kennedy is shaking his head in disappointment.

  153. Hatch has always been the definition of a 2-faced politician throughout his career. His absurd reversal on Merrick Garland wasn't anything new--it was TYPICAL! When Clarence Thomas was named for the Supreme Court and Anita Hill came forward, Hatch was relentless in his attacks on her, despite her testimony being solid, unshakable, and ultimately, confirmed by all kinds of other sources. But when Paula Jones came forward with her ridiculous lawsuit, filled with all sorts of contradictions in her accusations of President Clinton, Hatch took exactly the 180 degree opposite position from just 6 years earlier, and, instead attacked the President relentlessly and happily voted to convict on Impeachment. Clearly, the ONLY "moral fiber" in Orrin Hatch is: Is it good for me and the Republican Party? Period. Good riddance! Mitt Romney will be a significant improvement.

  154. No longer are ANY of the Republicans decent, from Hatch to Collins to McCain. Tax cuts for Koch bros and corps before serving the people? That is their legacy now. Let's start by taking away THEIR (lifelong) great insurance -- then let's end by booting them all out of office.

  155. A decent man "trapped" in an indecent dynamic of his own making, a man who cooperated wholly in the creation of that dynamic -- and one who profited personally and vastly from that creation -- is no longer a decent man. Having that tag, or any laudatory label, applied to you once doesn't make it forever. You have to work at it. Mr Hatch stopped working at being a decent man long, long ago.

  156. Why is it that the most religious of politicians are typically those most willing to sell their souls for political expediency? Says much about religion in general, doesn't it?

  157. "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." — Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Seneca the Younger, 4 BCE - 65 CE)

  158. It's about bad philisophy and theology, not necessarily religion as such. America, as Kurt Andersen shows in his book "How America Went Haywire. A 500-Year History", has suffered and continues to suffer grievously from dangerous fantasies masking as religion (including, and not limited to, Ayn Randism and the trickle down gospel) . No sound philosophy nor sound theology there. None. But ill-begotten fantasy everywhere.

  159. There is nothing decent about Mitt Romney, who turned against his own successful health care plan. He could have changed America and brought health care to so many, but he chose to abandon it -- and the health of millions of Americans -- in order to get the approval of the howling troglodytes who wanted, and still want, to tear down anything resembling good governance. Romney, after insulting Trump, crawled to him after Trump won the election, hoping for a cabinet position in the Trump administration. Like McCain, Lindsey Graham, Bob Corker and Jeff Flake, Romney talked the talk, then he walked the Trump walk. They all insult Trunp and swear they are good, independent politicians. Then they vote 100% with the GOP. Les see this "decent" Mitt Romney in action, shall we?

  160. Calling Mitch Romney a decent man is a matter of debate. I don't think he is any different than the man he has condemned as a fraud and con. Romney got elected in MA by running as a New England Republican, i.e. liberal on social issues and moderate on economic issues. But once in office, he clearly was more concerned about staying one term to then begin a campaign for presidency. He quickly changed all his major positions on issues ranging from abortion to same sex equal rights to health care to education. He portrayed himself as a Republican who could work to get things done by working with Democrats. In reality, he tried to veto hundreds of votes that helped average MA residents, including offering dental care to Medicaid recipients, decimating our higher education system, etc. There was no cooperation with the people or legislature which overturned almost every single one of his efforts. As a presidential candidate, he espoused almost the exact same policies as hard line right wingers. Finally, his ultimate fall from potential "decent man" status was when he thought Trump would name him Secretary of State. He grovelled and praised the very man he had condemned only because he wanted this position. He's no decent man. I venture that he does not have a true moral compass.

  161. Linda's should be a NYT Pick for its information about Romney's governorship.

  162. Sell your soul to the devil is my evaluation of the current Republican Party. Reminds me a lot of Neville Chamberlain, but Appeasement never works. Please do not include these individuals in the group of decent men. Decent men do the right thing no matter what others are doing. Kipling pointed it out in his poem "If". In fact, the poem reflects the current situation pretty accurately. It was written in 1895, the waning years of the predominance of the British Empire. Perhaps an omen of our own country's future.

  163. Let's be honest here, I have observed politics for a long time, and Hatch is just another "moderate" Republican. What is a "moderate" Republican? Well they are the personable. affable fellows who disguise their racism in coded language and dog whistles, they disguise their misogyny in the guise of "protecting family values". Sure, they are personally pleasant and polite, but the values they represent, have since the advent of Goldwater have been reactionary. It is long past time to stop separating the personal and the political. You can be a "nice guy" and still represent absolutely hideous values. I am reminded of this when you look at the pictures of smiling German concentration camp guards at picnics. Nice reasonable people weren't they. If you vote for and support someone like Trump, you are not a good person. Period.

  164. I am a grandchild of Senator Hatch. For years, I ignored politics to avoid people telling me that my own grandfather was this or that. In the last two years, I have become much more informed and involved. I disagree with several things that my grandpa has supported or said. That said, he is a wonderful man. He loves this country and loves the state of Utah with his whole heart. A few times in the past year, I have angrily challenged him on issues I disagreed with. He was kind and open-minded and answered all of my questions. He words convinced me (though I'm no expert) that he has thought about these issues. I don't disagree with a lot of the things in this article. I barely know about a time where Republicans and Democrats weren't fiercely divided on every single issue. Those times seem surreal to me, even unbelievable. I do think he has become a part of that, and it makes me sad. That said, I know he is a good man. I am 100% sure that if one of his constituents were to spit in his face at Costco one day and then ask him for help the next day, he would do it without guile. I am happy he is retiring. He deserves a rest after almost no breaks for the last 41 years. He's been a senator since my mother was 11, and he's been a fantastic (albeit extremely busy) father and grandfather during those years. Maybe this hasn't been the best last few years politically, but he devoted his life to this country and the state of Utah, and I will always admire him.

  165. It is courageous of you to write a letter here. You reveal yourself to be an independent minded person who has some disagreements with your grandfather. Perhaps he will be kind enough to read through the comments here in your presence, so that the two of you can discuss them. You say you are "no expert" but you clearly have expertise in communicating with your grandfather. The greatest contribution you could make to the causes you believe in, and to your relationship with your grandfather, would be to sit down with him and read through these together.

  166. I'm not much of a Hatch fan but have just become a Christina Catron fan. Your love of a grandfather with whom you don't always agree shows the way back to those times when our leaders could disagree but still usher us toward a reasonably acceptable version of the common good. Thank you for this.

  167. People seem to go "for the jugular" in today's world. There is no weighing or measuring the pros and cons of issues anymore. Our government cannot last if we focus on "mono issues". Senator Hatch was loved among his constituents, or he would not have been elected and re-elected. I thank him for his service and wish him a happy retirement.

  168. Mr. Tomasky is generously forgiving in assessing Orrin Hatch as "a decent man in an indecent dynamic." But I think we have to hold our lawmakers to the highest standards of personal integrity to dedication to the common good. Time was I thought Mr. Hatch fit the bill, but the political play-acting of recent years Mr. Tomasky recounts here is a shameless betrayal of everything Edward Kennedy stood for as a fellow senator. When I hear Mr. Hatch recite GOP talking points, I can only sigh. He used to have principle along with ambition, but his ambition spawned a preening vanity that ultimately trumped principle. What we're left with is just another suit, bespoke but empty.

  169. Senator Hatch has shown how it is possible to sell one's soul and still regard oneself as an honorable man. I have to believe that the remaining Republican congressmen and senators have all had the same decision to make: get with the program of those flooding the party with dark money in the wake of Citizen's United, or get primaried out. Recent performances by once respected figures like Susan Collins of Maine and John McCain reinforce this view. Even at such a late time of life, Hatch and McCain, offered a chance at redemption, respond by choosing party first, even though their party long ago ceased to be a force for anything but serving the richest members of society.

  170. Wonder if Roberts/Alito have ever had second thoughts about drowning their country's political stem in big money.

  171. Both McCain and Hatch are millionaires in their own right. Did you expect them to rise above self-interest?

  172. I always admired Orrin Hatch, for his fiscal views and support of defense, his integrity, his personal grounding, his willingness to dicker and his social progressiveness. But much of what Tomasky writes about his “trajectory” is accurate – Hatch survived politically when other Republicans didn’t by protecting his right flank as the Tea Party rose in reaction to a liberal onslaught; and he’s really done nothing to moderate that protectiveness of his right flank since, when he might have been a leader at incrementally returning us to the kind of moderation that must exist to find common ground, compromise and move forward sustainably. But Tomasky’s column reads like a eulogy, and Hatch isn’t dead. He’d be an excellent choice to succeed Jeff Sessions at any time as AG or Rex Tillerson if our SecState eventually becomes TOO disillusioned. He’d also be a superb choice to replace Anthony Kennedy if he actually manages to retire, except that at Hatch’s age he wouldn’t represent the kind of generational impact on the Supreme Court that Trump achieved with Gorsuch and may be seeking for future picks. Tomasky’s dig at Romney’s likely arc as senator, supporting the far-right, may be poorly reasoned. I see such service as a two-year run-up to Romney’s last shot at the brass-ring in the Republican presidential primaries of 2020. While he certainly would participate and support efforts to pass Republican legislation, he also would seek to position himself as the NOT-Trump.

  173. It likely will take younger and more energetic men and women as elected officials to establish successful trajectories that keep America basically center-right while defending against future liberal onslaughts. For the time being, the best immediate outcome would be for Trump to cashier Jeff Sessions and replace him with Hatch, leaving an appointed Romney replacement eleven months to firm-up his claim to the seat and giving us once again a man of unquestioned probity as Attorney General.

  174. Or he will try to out-Trump, Trump. He'll no longer be troubled by expressing his real views about the 47% who are moochers and losers. This will form the centerpiece of his rhetoric and he will do it with pride. After all, it worked for Trump. And maybe MItt still has a score to settle with the incumbent. He won't worry about stories about dogs on car-roofs - that's chump change these days. And he can be unabashedly mean about minorities and people he considers are sexual deviants.

  175. Todge: I don't believe it's in Mitt Romney to do any of those things. However, he COULD spend his time poking fun at berserkers from Seattle.

  176. And so begins the process of renovating Romney's reputation. This is the fifth article so far this week I have seen in the nytimes that refers to Romney with a positive spin. Does no one remember Romney of 2 years ago?

  177. yeah, a heck of a lot has changed in two years. Guys like Romney, McCain, and Bush seem positively appealing in light of recent events.

  178. In Orrin Hatch's case, it was all about money in the end. His defense that he could work across party lines means nothing now in the face of his financial backers. His defense that he grew up in poverty means nothing now. Senators should have term limits and age-limits to prevent their corruption. Hatch is proof of that.

  179. So "Every good fighter knows when to hang up his gloves"? I beg to differ. All too many have waited too long, including Senator Hatch. Witness his recent robust admiration for President Trump, calling him a "heckuva leader" and claiming he may be one of the best Presidents of all time. Clearly Senator Hatch should have his head examined.

  180. Unfortunately, Orrin Hatch forfeited any place of honor in our country's story when he shredded his oath of office and acceded to his party's theft of a US Supreme Court seat by disallowing any hearing for a sitting president's nominee. Senator Hatch claims to be a fighter; it's too bad he lost sight of what the great battle for American democracy is all about.