BY TOM BUSSELBERG
BOUNTIFUL - Most members of Congress aligned with the TEA party movement are “sincere, dedicated Republicans.”
That’s the view of Sen. Orrin Hatch, who recently spoke with the Davis Clipper.
“When they expend their moneys and efforts against republicans, which some of them do, that’s generally not the true TEA party,” he said.
”When they do that, they’re just hurting their opportunity to put some restraints on this president. That’s where I find fault,” Utah’s senior senator said.
He believes more harm can come to the Republican Party, and to people’s wallets, when other groups ask for money - and then turn around and attack other republicans.
“They get a lot of people in the country who don’t have a lot of money, but who give $15, $20, $25, believing republicans aren't doing the job,” Hatch said.
He squarely laid the problem of “doing the job” on democrats, who he said will stop any efforts to move forward.
A top leader of the TEA Party Express recently thanked Hatch for “...carrying the ball in a lot of ways,” he said.
“We’re going after liberal democrats who have been hurting this country. We need every republican we can get to stop them from hurting the country,” Hatch said.
“To the extent the tea party will fight for free markets, lower taxes and less government, they are a great help to republicans and to the country,” Hatch said.
“But if all they do is attack what’s right, they’re making it nearly impossible to win on issues they believe in,” he said.
Conservative republicans and tea party people are largely the same when they’re interested in doing the right thing, Hatch said.
“In some states, only moderate to liberal republicans can get elected. But even that is better than liberal democrats,” he said.
At least moderate and liberal republicans believe in the constitution and the free market system, Hatch added.
Turning to the Middle East, he said he doesn’t expect problems there to settle down.
“I trust and believe in the Iranian people, but I have a heck of a time trusting their leaders. I don’t think they are trustworthy. On the other hand, I hope diplomacy works,” Hatch said of efforts to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
“Why do we need to allow them to have 10,000 centrifuges? Why do we allow them to keep their nuclear reactor going? Why do we allow them to continue to enhance their uranium?” he asked.
Allowing Iran to continue enriching uranium means “they’re a short time from having a bomb,” Hatch said.
“Once they do, everyone in the Middle East will have one,” he said.
Afghanistan’s leader, Hamid Karzai, “has a tough job,” Hatch said, recalling having dinner with him in Jordan some time ago.
“They have a lot of radials in Afghanistan. He has a very difficult job,” he said, adding that he believes Karzai doesn't sign onto agreements with the U.S. because the leader doesn’t think he can.
“It’s not simple for him. He knows he’s leaving (office). He naturally feels like he should not be making these decisions,” Hatch said.
But at the same time, Karzai is "putting his country at risk. We’ve lost a lot of lives protecting their lives. We ought to get more cooperation."