In 2014, several prominent Republicans in the House and Senate are going to be challenged by people more conservative than the incumbents in area where a more conservative person can still win. Leading up to these challenges, conservatives must beware of the Hatch Effect.
In 2012, many conservatives in print, radio, and television came out quickly and endorsed Orrin Hatch against Dan Liljenquist. Hatch had been a conservative warrior for a long time, he sounded conservative, and we'd need him in the fight against amnesty. He made the rounds on television, radio, and had references in various op-ed columns. Outside groups went to work for Orrin Hatch.
Those who fretted that Hatch might return to the ways of Ted Kennedy's best friend on the right were drowned out by a near unified conservative front — one that did not include RedState.
In a debate against Dan Liljenquist, Hatch hit all the right notes on immigration.
[W]e won't be able to solve these problems until we secure the borders, and we have to do that. Every other large nation in the world knows how to secure their borders, why can't we secure ours? And second, we can no longer grant amnesty. I fought against the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli bill because they granted amnesty to 3 million people. They should have to get in line like anybody else if they want to come into this country and do it legally.
Orrin Hatch got re-elected and became an integral part to helping the Gang of 8 shape its immigration plans and run interference against conservatives. The shift back to what too few were warning about happened quickly.
Let Orrin Hatch be a lesson to you, conservatives. This year, some long time Republican Senators are going to get primary challengers. There will be large megaphones declaring just how conservative those Senators are. There will be people trotted out to remind you that for decades these have been the men we relied on to save us from big government.
They will ignore some of their public votes. They will ignore much of their back room deals. They will ignore No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, TARP, the General Motors bailout, the now $17 trillion in national debt that the Republicans and Democrats together helped grow. They will ignore spending measures and continuing resolutions and back room deals and failed promises.
There are no indispensable men in Washington, but over the next year many of the very men responsible for the mess the GOP finds itself in are going to trot out op-ed columnists, talk radio hosts, and TV pundits to tell you that they are, in fact, indispensable to the fight for freedom.
There are no indispensable men and unless conservatives are wiling to take the scalps of a few of their so called "heroes" who've grown in office, the fight for freedom will continue to be undermined once these men have another six year term under their belt.
Beware the Hatch effect. Your bias should be toward credible primary challengers.