Governor Palin Shows Pragmatic Streak With Hatch Praise; Update: Mark Levin Weighs In

In her interview with Greta Van Susteren Thursday night, Governor Palin ruffled a few feathers in the conservative blogosphere by voicing spirited support for embattled Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). The six-term senator faces an anticipated Tea Party-led challenge next year.

Responding to Greta’s concern about a possible misguided and unfair Tea Party challenge of Hatch, Gov. Palin said:

“To your particular point about Senator Orrin Hatch, he is doing good in terms of trying to get a balanced budget and he has been for the last couple of decades. He has pushed hard for some fiscal reforms that we have got to see implemented. We need to be agreeing and embracing his idea and working with him to make sure that that happens instead of shooing him away and shooing him out of a tea party movement.”

On Friday, Senator Hatch thanked the Governor for her support:

“I am grateful for the support of Sarah Palin as I continue to lead this fight. Mrs. Palin is highly respected by Utahns and the national conservative movement and I appreciate her influence to create a united front in confronting the issue of our national debt. It is an honor to have Sarah Palin’s backing for the balanced budget amendment and I will continue to use my time in the Senate to see it passed.” h/t Cory McGruder

First off, isn’t it somewhat delightful that an “establishment” six-term GOP senator in the heart of Mitt Country is wild about Sarah Palin, and  enthused by her support? He even made a video about it. It bodes well for the future of the Tea Party movement, and the nation. I dream of the day when all the establishment veterans come running to Sarah and her supporters for our blessing (as she’s clobbering the GOP field, and  Obama in 2012, of course.)

Frankly, I don’t totally understand the Tea Party uproar over Hatch. I used to live in Utah. As a journalism student at Utah State University, I had the opportunity to  interview Senator Hatch and found him to be a gracious and conscientious public servant. I later attended church services with his niece in California and got to know her and her family. Lovely very conservative people. Granted, Hatch has served in the Senate since 1977 (a bit long for my tastes) but like John McCain, he counts himself as one of Reagan’s foot soldiers. As a former liberal, I certainly never saw Hatch as anything but a staunch conservative, notwithstanding his long-time friendship with Ted Kennedy, and notwithstanding charges against him now that he is the “antithesis of the Tea Party.”

Whatever the case, he’s certainly been a friend of the Tea Party lately. It should be noted that Hatch, now the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, led the Senate GOP push this year for a balanced budget amendment (for the 17th time in his career — if you can even fathom what that says about our stubbornly obese government) and was a co-sponsor of a Republican amendment to repeal the mandates in Obamacare. He also earned a perfect score in the American Conservative Union’s 2010 ratings, one of only 11 senators to do so. It’s hard to get more conservative than that, if you ask me.

Who knows if Governor Palin will wind up endorsing Hatch in his re-election bid. She didn’t expressly support his re-election. But she has bucked the Tea Party with her independent streak before, endorsing the following individuals over their Tea Party GOP rivals:

Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)

It’s my honor to endorse a Granite State “mama grizzly” who has broken barriers, fought off and locked up criminals, and battled all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the rights of New Hampshire parents – and won! … I spent time campaigning in New Hampshire in 2008, and I know that the good people there are a lot like Alaskans. In both of our states, we like to get to know the people running for office, look them in the eye, and judge their character.

Carly Fiorina (California Senate race)

Carly is the Commonsense Conservative that California needs and our country could sure use in these trying times. Most importantly, she’s running for the right reasons. … Please consider that Carly is the conservative who has the potential to beat California’s liberal senator, Barbara Boxer, in November. I’m a huge proponent of contested primaries, so I’m glad to see the contest in California’s GOP. …

Governor Terry Branstad (R-Iowa)

Iowa, your great state’s motto is “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.” That motto will be well served by voting for Terry Branstad for governor next Tuesday! Please join me in supporting Governor Branstad’s campaign.

Governor Palin supports the Tea Party wholeheartedly, but picks her battles wisely, a sure means of uniting the broadest possible conservative coalition, for the fight ahead.

Update by Doug: The Great One, Mark Levin, backs Governor Palin’s supportive words for Orrin Hatch while discussing his opponent’s decidedly “thin record” and lack of “conservative credentials”:

Now, I have endorsed Hatch.  His opponent, Jason Chaffetz, has an extremely thin record.  Prior to serving the last 31 months in the House, he served as Jon Huntsman’s state-wide campaign director and then his chief-of-staff.  When I endorsed Hatch, Chaffetz called me to try to convince me to reverse course.  But after I spoke to him, he could not point to any evidence of his conservative credentials apart from his votes in Congress.  Prior to that, I can find no conservative movement or Tea Party credentials.  And I told him so.  I think Chaffetz has been a very solid member of Congress.  I support him for re-election.  He has earned it.  But beyond his 31 months in the House, his record is very recent, and I am not prepared to support his potential primary candidacy over Hatch.  Despite some of Hatch’s votes, his overall record is very solid, and he was a crucial senator throughout the Reagan years.  And if we are to measure the last 31 months, thereby comparing Hatch with Chaffetz head to head, Hatch has been every bit as solid as Chaffetz. Moreover, Hatch has been a leader on the balanced budget issue for decades, while Chaffetz was working on the Dukakis campaign in college.  So, yes, I have some disagreements with parts of Hatch’s record, but overall, it is a good conservative record.  He is no Dick Lugar, et al.

Back to the point, however.  I have no idea who Leon H. Wolf is, nor do I care, but he posts on RedState, a website I respect.  People are free to advocate for whomever they wish.  But Wolf’s post is pathetic.  If advocates for other candidates, perhaps Rick Perry in this case, think that by trashing solid conservatives like Palin will score points, as Karl Rove is now trashing Perry, it will not work.  I saw Palin at Tea Party event after Tea Party event.  I saw her breaking her back to help defeat liberal Democrats and RINOs in the last election.  I don’t know where Leon was, or if it mattered.  But we all know she is detested by the GOP establishment.

Incidentally, Leon, I will compare my conservative credentials and activities to yours any day of the week — from Reagan to Landmark Legal Foundation to Tea Party to whatever.

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