Karma, as they say, is a bitch. After six incumbent terms, some senators start feeling a little ... shall we say entitled to their seat. Funny thing, though. That sense of entitlement doesn't sit well with the tea party, especially when you haven't spent any time cow-towing to their demands. And Orrin Hatch has attracted the ire of the tea party for allegedly showing "over and over that he is for expansive government and against economic freedom." So Dick Armey's little "grassroots" organization launched a massive campaign against Sen. Hatch. And they successfully prevented him from getting the 60 percent required (by just a single percentage point) to keep from having a run off in his primary with tea party candidate Dan Liljenquist.
Hatch is feeling a little miffed at these upstarts insinuating that he's not a real conservative (according to this site—whose methodology is a little obscure—he ranks at 77 percent conservative) and went to the conservatives' favorite outlet to complain about Freedomworks and the annoying requirement that he actually run for his seat:
Sen. Hatch joined Greta Van Susteren last night to discuss the potential, now realized, of a primary challenge against him, and Sen. Hatch had some nasty words for Freedomworks and its leader, Dick Armey.
“Freedomworks, the group of Dick Armey, is gunning for you,” Van Susteren informed Sen. Hatch, who seemed to mind only what he insisted were lies from the group. “They take a few dozen of my votes out of the better of 12,000 votes that I’ve cast, distort those votes and lie about them, direct lie about them.” He argued they were only trying to raise money. “They take someone like myself who everybody knows and they trash Orrin Hatch and they raise a lot of money from conservatives all over the country who think what they’re saying is true.” He concluded with a flourish, “they’re not people I have very much respect for. I don’t have any respect for them, in fact.”
Well, that makes a bunch of us, Senator. I can't name a liberal in this country that has any respect for Freedomworks either. Van Susteren looks dumbfounded that someone like Hatch could be considered not conservative enough for the people of Utah. Hatch makes the distinction that these are not conservatives but radical libertarians gunning for him. Ironically, as Think Progress points out, Dick Armey himself was not all that much more radical than Hatch when he was in office:
Prior to joining FreedomWorks in 2003, chairman Dick Armey served nine terms in Congress. Six of those debt-limit votes took place between the time Armey was elected to the House in 1984 and his retirement at the beginning of 2003. Armey voted for at least five of those six:
$179.9 billion in December 1985 (House roll call #454, 99th Congress) $448 billion in September 1987 (House roll call #330, 100th Congress) $600 billion in March 1996 (House roll call #102, 104th Congress) $450 billion in July 1997 (House roll call #241, 105th Congress) $450 billion in June 2002 (House roll call #279, 107th Congress)
Before the 2002 debt limit increase (which passed by a 215 to 214 margin — making Armey the deciding vote, arguably), Armey gave an impassioned floor speech urging colleagues to “do what is good for America” and back the bill.
Ah ... so Armey is a proper conservative and Hatch—with a virtually identical voting record—is not? Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, apparently. Unfortunately, the lesson learned for these entrenched politicians is that if they want their cushy seats and perks of being a senator, they better move even more towards the radical right:
It’s another example of GOP political cannibalism. It’s not enough that the Republican party has destroyed itself with one power grab after another since the 2010 midterm elections, but now they are devouring members of their own party in an attempt by the extremist factions on the Right to do the bidding of their corporate masters. As a result, traditional moderate conservatives have increasingly embraced more extremist views and postions in a pathetic attempt to hold on to their office and all the power and privilege they’ve grown accustomed to over the years.
Like I said, karma's a bitch.