Sometimes Republican politics make me think I am living in Seinfeld's bizarro world, where up is down, left is right, and George Constanza charms women and gets a job with the Yankees. And I am not even talking about the presidential debates where Ron Paul seems to be an alien visitor greeting us earthlings or Newt Gingrich is building moonbases where we can greet ourselves from space. Instead, I am referring to the drive-by activists in the states who seem determined to purge conservative senators, such as Orrin Hatch from Utah, for not being ideologically pure.
Hatch, for whom I once worked in the mid-1990s, is under threat of losing his Senate seat because of Utah's unusual primary caucus system, which also ousted Bob Bennett in 2010. In this piece, I argue that Hatch has ironically done more than any other Senator to set the foundations for the Tea Party movement, whose members sometimes criticize him, by being one of the few Senators who has stood tall to defend the confirmation of conservative nominees to the Supreme Court. Without Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia, there would be no conservative intellectual agenda for the Constitution, and without Hatch, these men would not be on the Court today.