One of the most well-known newspapers in Utah sarcastically named Republican Senator Orrin Hatch as “Utahn of the Year,” saying he earned the honor with his stunning “lack of integrity.”
In a scathing Salt Lake Tribune editorial that was posted on Christmas Day, the editorial board said the longtime GOP senator had an extraordinary year — but not for all the wrong reasons.
The editorial began by explaining that, traditionally, the award goes to “the Utahn who, over the past 12 months, has done the most. Has made the most news. Has had the biggest impact. For good or for ill.”
For Hatch, the paper filed him in the “Ill” column.
The selection of Hatch had “little to do with the fact that, after 42 years, he is the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history, that he has been a senator from Utah longer than three-fifths of the state’s population has been alive,” the paper stated.
“It has everything to do with recognizing: Hatch’s part in the dramatic dismantling of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. His role as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee in passing a major overhaul of the nation’s tax code. His utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power,” the piece explained. “Each of these actions stands to impact the lives of every Utahn, now and for years to come. Whether those Utahns approve or disapprove of those actions has little consequence in this specific recognition. Only the breadth and depth of their significance matters.”
The paper then urged Hatch to resign as Senator.
“Over the years, Hatch stared down a generation or two of highly qualified political leaders who were fully qualified to take his place, Hatch is now moving to run for another term — it would be his eighth — in the Senate. Once again, Hatch has moved to freeze the field to make it nigh unto impossible for any number of would-be senators to so much as mount a credible challenge. That’s not only not fair to all of those who were passed over. It is basically a theft from the Utah electorate,” the board observed. “It would be good for Utah if Hatch, having finally caught the Great White Whale of tax reform, were to call it a career. If he doesn’t, the voters should end it for him.”