On the EDge: Why the GOP is on its last legs

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OPINION – There was a time when I thought Sen. Orrin Hatch had a certain degree of statesmanship about him.

I thought that despite all of his ideological posturing there was an inner core to the man that geared him towards what was good for the nation over everything else.

I thought he had compassion, reason, wisdom within his character.

I thought he could be counted on, when things got crazy, to be a leveling force, able to chisel out a resolution when others had failed.

I was wrong.

So very wrong.

Hatch has gone all-in like his fellow Republicans in the Senate and House, to make the time between now and January 2017, when a new president is inaugurated, a living hell for Democrats, even if it means tearing at the foundation of the United States.

Hatch released a statement Friday excoriating President Obama and Democrats in general for trying to conduct the people’s business and challenging the Republicans in the Senate to do the same by giving Supreme Court nominee Judge Merrick Garland a fair shake.

But Hatch will have none of it.

Whether through arrogance, anger or misplaced loyalty, Hatch is hooking up with the rabble and insisting that the next Supreme Court justice be nominated by whoever is inaugurated in January 2017.

There is nothing unusual or irregular about what the president is doing. Presidents have nominated Supreme Court justices in the final year of their final term and seen them approved. This is not unusual. He was elected to a four-year term. Despite what the Republicans are saying, that does not mean he should abdicate leadership with a year to go just to accommodate their agenda. That would be stupid on his part, selfish on theirs.

Of course, this isn’t your normal, garden-variety political tussle this time around, as we are witnessing

This is a mean, nasty, take-no-prisoners throwdown.

With the future of the Republican Party, which is standing on wobbly legs at the moment, at stake, the GOP is in imminent collapse, ready to bite the dust as it tears itself asunder from the inside out.

By taking such a ridiculous stance as blocking hearings on a Supreme Court nominee – a nominee, by the way, who was suggested as a good candidate for the job by Hatch – the party has just bitten into a cyanide capsule and there is no antidote.

I’ve seen the bits where people have claimed Democrats have done the same.

Go back and read those stories, examine the statements, and you’ll see that while wanting to proceed with caution, none has tried to invalidate nearly an entire year of an administration’s term.

In his statement, Hatch referenced “liberal lawmakers demanding that Republicans ‘do their job.’”

Sen. Hatch, Republicans are also demanding that you do your job. If they weren’t, your party would not be in such disarray.

They are tired of you, they are tired of the obstructionism that has created a do-nothing Congress and they are tired of the gamesmanship, which is why so many have gone over the edge and cast their lot with Donald Trump. Under normal circumstances, they would never consider him as a legitimate candidate let alone make him their standard-bearer. Although there are still more level-headed Republicans who stand in opposition to him, Trump has earned about 35 percent of the primary vote, good enough to put him in the lead at this point in the primary season but not strong enough to sustain him in November.

And, Sen. Hatch, the reason is dissatisfaction with you and your cronies who have been willing to jeopardize the nation’s standing in the world and split the chasm between parties without concern for what it would do to the future of this nation.

There is a strongly contested race on the Democratic side, but you don’t see them dismantling their party like the Republicans are.

That’s because you, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Speaker Paul Ryan and the rest have alienated the party’s core so severely that somebody, anybody, has to be better than the status quo.

You, Sen. Hatch, have been part of that status quo for far too long.

You originally ran because the incumbent, Democrat Frank Moss, had served too long, in your opinion.

Senator, Moss served 18 years.

Senator, you have now served 39 years.

As part of your original campaign for office, you said: “What do you call a senator who’s served in office for 18 years? You call him home.”

You argued, way back then, that many senators, including Moss, had lost touch with their constituents.

Senator, it’s time to go home.

You and the rest of the Republicans in Congress have lost touch with your constituents.

And, that, sir, is why you find your party in shambles.

That is why, sir, you and party officials are grasping at straws to retain control of what was once a respectable, committed political party.

That is why, sir, the menace that is Donald Trump is able to ignite fervor despite his crude, vulgar, racist, misogynistic rants.

That is why, sir, this narcissistic fortunate son born of money and power now thumbs his nose at reason and dignity.

That is why, sir, the wheels have fallen off the Republican Party.

Yet, you continue to lead this pack of hyenas in unreasonable demands that defy logic, including the teardown of your own party.

Orrin, we have known each other for about 20 years.

I know you love your country.

I know you have deep beliefs.

That love of country and those beliefs are at conflict with this stance you have taken.

We built a certain mutual respect over the years, even when disagreeing on issues.

In the past, when we would part company, you would always joke: “I’ll turn you into a conservative yet,” to which I would reply, “Nah, I think it will be the other way around.”

We would shake hands and laugh.

This time, though, it is not a laughing matter.

Orrin, it’s time to come home.

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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  • Allie March 22, 2016 at 10:00 am

    This was a great commentary. It really points out the need for term limits. Our country has been left to rot by our politicians who are more interested in power and money. The Republican party has forgotten the little guy. During President Clinton’s terms in office, all Congress did was investigate everything. Very little work was done. During President G.W. Bush’s term, they went to war, spent money like drunken sailors and had no oversight or responsibility. During President Obama’s terms, they blocked everything he tried to do without coming up with better solutions. We have bigger problems that our elected officials are ignoring. Some Senators and Representatives put out government waste reports. But, do they reduce that departments budget by the amount of the waste when budget time comes around? NO. In this whole country of people, the best they can get behind is a snake oil salesman like Ted Cruz. There are many more good, intelligent people to select from. Good riddance, GOP.

  • Ladyk March 22, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Well thank heaven the people who are our representatives don’t come and go with the whims of your opinion. We the people get to vote in who we want to speak for us. So far the people have seen fit to send Senator Hatch back to Washington over and over and over. His approval rating is still very high and he is well liked and is respected by his peers. If we the people don’t like what he is doing we can call his office and voice our concerns. Of course if you think his job is so easy you could always put your name in the hat and try to get elected so you can put your money where your mouth is. I have watched over the last 7 years as President Obama has time and time again circumvented the laws of this country. We have seen him show a total lack of respect for members of the militarily, police and others who have served their country. He calls them stupid and implies that they are the cause of the loss of personal freedoms. Yet criminals are allowed to rob a store and attack a police officer. But when he dies because of the series of events he started it is the officer who is blamed. The criminals funreal is attended by high ranking government officials who apologize for the way this young criminal was treated. But when those who have given their lives in service or served this country for many decades are killed or pass not one government official can be seen at their funerals. Not one comment from Obama.

    Ed, so far what I have seen from you has been mostly negative writtings about mostly meaningless things. I don’t think I have ever seen a writting from you that was of a positive nature. Not once in your article did you offer the slightest thanks or appreation for the many years of dedication and service to the people of this state by Mr Hatch. So until you are willing to actually do something other than moan and groan about what someone else does why don’t you try to look at things a little more in a positive light. Or better yet, take some time to do something nice for those around you. Until then, it’s just your opinion, that thankfully we can choose to disagree with and not have to worry about the consequences.

    Have a great day!!!

  • BIG GUY March 22, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    How many times do I have to post the quotes from Obama, Biden, Reid and Schumer when they were serving senators? All of them specifically said they would oppose hearings for a Republican president’s Supreme Court nominee during the last year or year and half of his term. Democrats controlled the Senate or threatened to use a filibuster to prevent any hearings.

    As for the GOP’s last legs, time will tell. It surely did for the Democrats. Recall how the Democrat party shot itself in the foot with Obamacare in 2009-10. It put the Democrats on their last legs when the American public rejected the semi-nationalization of healthcare. As a direct result, Republicans now control both the Senate and the House in the most stunning rejection of one political party since the Great Depression. Ed, Democrats lost. Deal with it and stop whining.

    • RealMcCoy March 22, 2016 at 3:03 pm

      Ed doesn’t like those darn pesky facts getting in the way of his liberal drivel.
      Just watch him whistle a different tune when the dems get control again and he rails against repubs pushing for action.

      • .... March 23, 2016 at 5:56 am

        The RealMcStupid doesn’t like reality getting in the way of his idiotic drivel

  • John March 23, 2016 at 1:05 am

    What leads a senator, one with a fairly noble past, to abdicate his responsibility to the constitution for purely political reasons? It’s shameful. If a majority thinks the nominee is too liberal or whatever then vote him or her down. Don’t insult the office of the president and the history of this country by refusing to vet and vote on the nominee. It is disgraceful and those responsible for total obstruction must leave the senate.

    • BIG GUY March 23, 2016 at 11:26 am

      Your request has been half fulfilled: Obama and Biden are no longer in the Senate. And Reid retires this year. Only Schumer to go and then all four of them will have left the Senate.

    • RealMcCoy March 23, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      Is your comment directed to the Senate now, or the Senate when there was a republican in office and the democrats ruled the senate?
      Minority Leader Harry Reid has argued that Republicans’ behavior is a dereliction of the Senate’s constitutional duty to “advise and consent” the president on his nominee.
      Reid, however, said back in 2005, “Nowhere in that document (the Constitution) does it say the Senate has a duty to give presidential nominees a vote.”
      Most people, myself included, feel that the senate should have the hearing and vote sooner than later, however there is no Constitutional mandate that says they must.
      Even Biden campaigned that the best thing for the country, the Constitution, the Supreme Court, Congress, and the Presidency was for the current President to wait and allow the next President to fill any Supreme Court vacancy.
      Of course, when these two senators pushed for the delay, they were trying to block a republican president nominee.
      Now that the shoe is on the other foot, they are struggling to eat their own words.

      • .... March 24, 2016 at 6:07 pm

        LOL .talking about struggling. I see your still struggling to come up with an intelligent point of view. some people are just born slow. but don’t give up. One day you will accidentally say something intelligent. keep trying

  • eddantes56 March 24, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    The Republican Party is “in shambles” because people like Senator Hatch has spent a career doing exactly what you are asking him to do….i.e. Compromise at every turn, make deals where the Lib/Progs get 80% of deal, etc, etc etc.

  • eddantes56 March 24, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    “This is a mean, nasty, take-no-prisoners throwdown.”

    Do you mean like the 100 mean, nasty, take-no-prisoner throwdowns that Harry Reid made when he was Majority leader?

  • eddantes56 March 24, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    “even if it means tearing at the foundation of the United States”

    Sorry, Ed. Too late to be concerned about tearing at the foundation of the United States. You and your fellow travelers have been tearing at that fabric for 100 years……..seeking the “fundamental transformation” of the nation to suit your impractical, authoritarian and morally reprehensible social and economic policies.

    Those of us who disagree with the direction of the country are citizens too and just because you throw out the word “rabble” doesn’t make it so. But you go ahead and keep on believing it.

  • eddantes56 March 24, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    “the menace that is Donald Trump is able to ignite fervor despite his crude, vulgar, racist, misogynistic rants.”

    So let me get this right. The media and the Dems put the full court press on against Trump….never say one positive thing about himand use ad hominem attacks which are code words in todays parlance for evil and not politically correct…….conduct this full court press for 8 months and therefore it is true.

    Really? You and the dems/progs are not prepared for a national debate but there is a minority in this country who is fed up. Fed up with both parties spending beyond our means for so-called “humanitarian”, “anti-poverty” programs, down-grading this country at every turn, creating a political and educational environment that is so pathetic and left-leaning that it requires a good heave once or twice a day.

    I could go on and on. Many of us do not accept your world view as you don’t accept ours…….we are getting tired of paying for your tired old ineffective policies that have created the “new normal”.

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