Friday, August 28, 2009

Orrin Hatch and Ted Kennedy -- BFF. Does that mean that Hatch will now support Kennedy's favorite cause?

I watched Orrin Hatch's comments today at Ted Kennedy's memorial. I wondered: who is this conservative LDS raconteur who was Teddy's best friend? Was he affable and humorous up there on the podium, or is it just me? I have to hand it to him: he showed up and spoke. Would Ted Kennedy have been welcomed at a memorial for Orrin Hatch? Possibly. Depends on how many of the senator's ultra-conservative brethren and sistren showed up shouting slogans and carrying signs.

Sen. Hatch said that some of his Republican compatriots disliked his working with Sen. Kennedy. Hatch came to the Senate in 1977, long after Kennedy but way before close-minded ultra-conservatives such as Bill Frist (now gone) and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and John Coryn of Texas and Jeff Sessions of Alabama. Hatch and Utah Mormon colleague Sen. Bob Bennett have spouted off in public against liberal programs but still have worked in the Senate to support the arts and -- dare I say it -- federally-funded children's health care. Our own Sen. Enzi worked on legislation with Ted Kennedy. Too bad that some right-wingers have berated Enzi for just such bipartisan spirit. An now we have Enzi admitting this week that he's really not such a great bipartisan player with health care reform.

Oh for those golden days of Orrin Hatch and Ted Kennedy making music together. Of Republican Sen. Al Simpson of Wyoming and Democratic Sen. George Mitchell working together across the aisle.

All that's left now is the Kennedy clan to ask Sen. Hatch if he will recreate those halcyon days of yesteryear by voting for Pres. Obama's health care reform package, whatever (and whenever) it may be. A heartfelt eulogy is a fine thing. But his actions will speak louder than any words.

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