Regular readers know that I like politicians, as a group, and that includes hack pols. So it isn't just knee-jerk contrarianism at work when I say: c'mon, Steven Benen and Matt Yglesias, give Orrin Hatch a break.
The story, if you've missed it...It seems that Hatch went on the radio and (horrors) inveighed against The Washington Establishment on behalf of the little folks such as, well, himself. Now, Yglesias and Benen found that ridiculous (something about how Hatch has been in the Senate since Bobby -- not Barry -- Bobby Bonds was only on his second team, which for you non-baseball fans is also known as since Hector was a pup). And, of course, it is. But so what? That's what politicians do. In fact, Richard Fenno's discussion of Members of Congress who run for re-election by running against Congress predates Hatch's Senate career.
Benen's second point, I think, is also on the weak side. He thinks it's unfair of Hatch to bash the current administration, when after all it was Republicans in the previous decade, Hatch included, who botched everything up so much. Well, yes...but again, what else is Hatch going to say? Voters may choose to buy it or not, but it's hardly unreasonable of someone in the out-party to blame the in-party for all manner of troubles. That's how it works.
I do think that Hatch acts the partisan hack pretty often -- but I like the ability to do that in a politician. Surely, he's no more so than Bob Dole or Ted Kennedy, and both of them were (in my opinion, I guess I should say) first-rate Senators. Now, Hatch is a bit too sanctimonious for my tastes, but on the whole I think he's been a fairly serious Senator over the years. At least when the cameras are looking the other way. He just saw the junior (ha!) Senator from his state get trounced. Seems to me he's exactly correct to do a little rabble-rousing, and what he said was about as harmless as it gets. I suppose it's also part of the game that liberals will give him grief for it, but in my view there are plenty of pols handling the current tides within the GOP a lot less reasonably, and they're the ones who deserve the snark.