Thursday, May 03, 2012

My Case For A New Senator

I've been thinking a lot about this and I want the clarity of thought that comes from explaining something to someone else.

Dan Liljenquist's campaign made a website outlining some points from Orrin Hatch's record that I have considered when deciding that Utah needed a new senator.  Dan honestly wasn't my first choice for his replacement, but I am convinced he is the better man for the position.

In my mind Orrin Hatch may be the quintessential Republican insider.  I think there have been instances where Hatch has hidden behind the party rather than take a stand for my values.  I feel like he has used his position to assert himself in private industry, attend soirees and mingle with hip hop artists rather than actually tackling issues such as repairing the Social Security infrastructure, (which now pays out more money than it takes in) paying similar attention to medicare and tackling entitlement programs.  I feel that in almost 36 years a senator ought to be able to point to some accomplishments in those arenas rather than promise that he will, this time, fix them if his is AGAIN elected.

Hatch's argument that clout carries enough weight to negate any other issue in the balance is manipulative.  Being "In line" for the senate finance committee chair means very little to me when I see his influence as a committee member has yielded so little.  We still have an omnibus bill, a "shovel ready" stimulus package, "cash for clunkers" and no effect on de-funding obamacare.  Liljenquist made an excellent point in his convention speech regarding the "clout" issue:
Liljenquist attacked Hatch on his campaign pitch that if re-elected he would become chairman of the Finance Committee. Hatch, he said, made the same arguments in 2000 and 2006.
Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, can get that position if Hatch isn't reelected, Liljenquist said, noting Crapo is a BYU graduate and true conservative.
Liljenquist called Hatch's claim that Hill would close without him offensive.
"No one senator is too big to fail. No one senator is too big to lose," he said.
 At the core of my argument for a change in the senate is my belief that senators should have term limits.  I can't think of an elected office that should not come with term limits as a matter of fact.  I'm not working under any illusions that Dan Liljenquist is going to be magically impervious to the "beltway" syndrome.  I hope he holds out longer than most.  It does seem clear to me that frequent change would give at lest new life to senate offices and reduce the "re-election" mindset that prevents politicians from standing on principal rather than angle for popularity.

Even if Mr. Liljenquist is an ideal senator, I will still be among those asking for a change in the future.  Maybe not in six years, but certainly in twelve.

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