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Sen. Hatch “clarifies” that he meant the opposite of what he said about DADT

Timothy Kincaid

February 4th, 2010

Senator Hatch (Mormon – UT), is now uncomfortable with having told Andrea Mitchell that he had an open mind on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Perhaps his church informed him that his position was in opposition to changing the policy or perhaps the Republican Party clarified for him exactly what he thinks, but whatever the reason, Senator Hatch wishes the public to know that his vote will be in opposition to the change irrespective of the requests of the Pentagon, the position of the Commander in Chief, the findings of the study, or the wishes of the populace.

His church’s paper, the Deseret News, helped set the record straight.

“It’s deeply regrettable that liberal groups are misconstruing my position on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ for activist purposes. I certainly do not support repealing this policy,” Hatch’s statement on Thursday said.

I guess little ol’ “liberal” me must have misconstrued his position when I posted the video and typed out this words verbatim. I suppose I should have realized that he meant exactly the opposite of what he said. Sen. Orrin Hatch is not “at least open to the idea” of being “willing to vote for the change.”

Or, to put it in politician-speak:

“What I said was that I want to see Adm. Mullen’s report. This is a controversial issue with inflamed passions on both sides,” Hatch said.

“Over the years, the views of the military officers and experts, whom I respect, have said that repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ would make life for our troops more difficult — especially as our armed forces wage a global war on terrorism,” Hatch said.

He added, “I always try to be fair and stand by what’s right and that is why I look forward to reviewing the admiral’s report.”

Somehow “I look forward to reviewing” seems a bit disingenuous when coupled with “I do not support” and “experts, whom I trust”. One gets the sense that the ‘review’ will be a search for items to criticize rather than an impassioned desire to do what is right and correct.

I’m uncertain whether this is an indication that the Republican Party wishes to present a unified front in opposition to the change. But if that is the case, it will only serve to further entrench the party as recalcitrant, obstructionist, and hopelessly in servitude to a tiny fraction of socially ultra-conservative activists.

Polls have shown that a majority of the public, a majority of Republicans and a majority of conservatives all favor doing away with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. But it seems that Sen. Orrin Hatch no longer dances to the tune of conservative Republicans; he now only dances when the subset of social extremists play.

Sadly for Senator Hatch, it must be increasingly difficult to look in the mirror and say, “I just plain do not believe in prejudice of any kind” or “I just want to do what is right”.

Comments

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cowboy
February 4th, 2010 | LINK

“For one brief shining moment…” — from Camelot. was the thought running in my brain when I read what Sen. Hatch said yesterday and then I hear this clarification from him.

Typical. Consummate politician he is. Life will continue to leave Orrin behind as he continues to write his music & lyrics while sitting at his desk in Washington D.C. Gleefully knowing his Utah constituents will vote for him AGAIN.

werdna
February 4th, 2010 | LINK

On a copy-editing note, the colloquial name of the policy under discussion is generally (and I’d argue correctly) written with a comma between “ask” and the second “don’t”: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Ray
February 4th, 2010 | LINK

Let’s call this one “Hatch v. Hatch” and the other one “McCain v. McCain.”

John
February 4th, 2010 | LINK

Orrin Hatch is and always has been a bigot. So this really comes as no surprise.

This reminds me of another issue though regarding Senators running on at the mouth (particularly on camera). Senate rules allow someone to just say they are filibustering a bill, and the filibuster is on. They don’t have to stand there on the Senate floor hour after hour talking. Because filibusters are so painless now, they are being used much more frequently. And why not? No effort needed!

However, if the old rules were to be brought back and windbags like Hatch would have to stand there hour after hour (perhaps for several days straight) on camera, could you imagine the mileage one could get from the screwy things they say, their angry outbursts as they got more tired. America would also have a very clear visual picture of who is blocking the nation’s business.

The Senate is dominated by elderly men. If they want to put this country’s business on hold, let’s see them work for it. And who knows what they might give us in the process

Chris McCoy
February 4th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid said:

Polls have shown that a majority of the public, a majority of Republicans and a majority of conservatives all favor doing away with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Do you have links to these polls?
When were they conducted?
Have any polls been conducted since the passages of Prop 8 and Prop 1, and the SSM defeats in NY and NJ?
A recent poll over at Daily Kos indicates that only 26% of Republicans favor repealing DADTDP.

Ray
February 4th, 2010 | LINK

Chris, here’s a link to the Gallup Poll. I’m pretty sure it’s the one Timothy is talking about.

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/02/the-gatesmullen-hearings.html

PG
February 4th, 2010 | LINK

I appreciate your larger point here, but I’m leery of pinning Hatch’s views on his Mormonism, and to do so without providing any source on what the Mormon Church thinks about DADT has a whiff of religious bigotry. Their push on Prop. 8 is not necessarily indicative of a general “anything to screw over the gays” policy (which is more characteristic of the evangelical we-can-cure-’em-at-Jesus-Camp types). Gov. Huntsman of Utah is also a Mormon, and he favors civil unions; Elder L. Whitney Clayton has said the Mormon church will not oppose legislation for domestic partnerships and civil unions.

Richard Rush
February 4th, 2010 | LINK

I’ve noticed before that some polls show the public to be much more supportive for gays in the military than on other gay rights issues. Even those who self-identify as conservative or Republican show about 58% support. I’m curious, though, about what the reason may be.

I’m inclined to think the reason is that they would much rather see gays be wounded or killed in battle than their own friends and relatives. Is that too cynical? I don’t think so. With two wars still in progress, people know a “draft” is always a possibility.

But I also saw that Daily Kos poll showing 26% support from Republicans, so if that one is correct, then all I can say is . . .never mind.

George Bingham
February 4th, 2010 | LINK

What Orrin Hatch did here was very typical! He just says what he thinks the current audience wants to hear – and when a different audience is listening, he changes his tune to what they want to hear! Nothing new and something that has been getting worse and worse in the recent past.

Nowadays politicians don’t think twice about outright lies when talking (down) to people who want to hear them – take for instance Susan Collin’s (Maine – R) response to Obama’s weekly address where she spews lie after lie after lie! Who cares!?!? The only ones listening want to hear about how wrong it is for Obama’s administration to mirandize the “underwear bomber” – They want to believe that non-U.S. citizens have no human rights.

The only folks who caught Rachel Maddow exposing her lies and telling the truth about them are liberals who wouldn’t be voting for her anyway — and who Republicans wouldn’t believe anyway. So, who cares that she lies in order to whip up a republican frenzy against following the constitution even when the guilty party is a foreign terrorist!

Frick, 95% of what most politicians say is just to pander to those who are listening.

cowboy
February 4th, 2010 | LINK

PG,

I would suggest the cozy relationship of a lot of the LDS Church Elders with the Sutherland Institute can give a pretty good indication of what a good portion of the Mormon populace believe.

You’ll never see a code of bigotry written or endorsed pronouncement by the LDS First Presidency but the actions and comments I have heard and the reality of living in a LDS dominate culture has shown me the majority of Mormons are prejudiced toward gays. Hence the dichotomy of when some Elders in the LDS Church say one thing but this year (again!) the Mormons in the Utah Legislature are not going to act on resolutions to give gays protection in their jobs or domicile.

And I’d love to introduce you to some BYU students from not too long ago that went through some “cures”. The LDS Church lets Evergreen/NARTH use office space on their Temple Square. They’re not that much different than their Evangelical cousins.

Timothy Kincaid
February 4th, 2010 | LINK

Let’s just say that I don’t give Daily Kos’ poll designed to discredit Republicans the same weight I give to the Gallup Poll.

John
February 4th, 2010 | LINK

PG wrote: “Their (the Mormons’) push on Prop. 8 is not necessarily indicative of a general “anything to screw over the gays” policy”

PG, you’re killing us. That line was hysterical. I wonder if you could actually stand up in front of a group and deliver that one with a straight face. If so, you are quite the comedian.

Mark F.
February 4th, 2010 | LINK

It’s official. Mormons are now exempt from the commandment against lying.

Mykelb
February 4th, 2010 | LINK

@Mark F.: The whole Christofascist belief system is based on lies and lies of lies, so what would you expect?

John Doucette
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

How about the Tea Party movement has the regular Republicans running scared. That and talk about a purity test for Repub politicians to get campaign funds. When it’s all said and done, the KKK and John Birch Society will look like left-wing groups. Until now regular people could still accept the false belief that our politicians actually had some principles. This past year has proved that the Repubs have none.

customartist
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

Hatch will do as Utah’s Mormon Majority tells him to do.

The Utah State Legislature just last week postponed passing anti-gay legislation, reportedly as a way of de-focusing Gay issues on the State (and Mormon Church).

Obviously to me, they will continue to “keep it as quiet” (refereing to their promotion of hate) as possible. Remember this was one of the secret directives of the Mormon leadership during the build up to Prop 8.

“Shhhhhhh – keep it quiet!”

Amicus
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

I never believed his first statement. I figured it was just a gaff, the follow-on the the Mormon charm-offensive in the wake of Prop8 (afterall, they did issue that kind statement that they still love us ‘n all).

He’s just been notified by the Grand Wizard that, like marriage, the military is another ‘justifiable distinction’. That’s all.

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