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My View: Senator Hatch, the master magician

By Selaina Broderick

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 9 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

Orrin Hatch is a master magician. He was everywhere, and then he vanished out of sight.

Orrin Hatch won his seventh term as Utah senator with an indefatigable campaign equipped with billboards lining I-15 stating "It's Utah's Time To Lead," and political ads clouding our commercial breaks foretelling the imminent closure of Hill Air Force Base without Hatch's protection and seniority in the Senate.

During debates and speeches he promised his influence and hard-fought relationships forged through years of promoting bipartisanship on Capitol Hill would guarantee him leadership within the Senate Finance Committee. He sealed the deal with Utah voters by committing to fiscal and entitlement reforms, halting all federal tax increases and vowing to propose a balanced budget. He put on a grand show, and 65 percent of Utah voters approved the six-year extension of his Senate career.

It wasn't until after the 2012 election that Hatch showed his real talent: His exceptional ability to disappear.

Hatch vowed to protect Hill Air Force Base and the jobs it creates, yet he was nowhere to be seen during the recent cut of 10.3 percent in Air Force Base funding. He made no comment in November when 9,000 Air Force jobs were cut to adjust to military spending cuts. How can such a prominent senator who sits on 14 committees (including the Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth Committee, and the Joint Committee on Taxation) seemingly disappear after such a robust campaign geared at proving his ability to take the Senate by the horns? Where was the senator when we needed his seniority muscles flexed to protect jobs at Hill Air Force Base and to cut back federal taxes and spending?

In an online video posted in July, he promised to stop "Taxmageddon" but has not made any additional effort to do so after being elected. Certainly a senator with his level of seniority and name recognition could easily grasp the attention of the media and the Senate body to guide the American fiscal conversation and make impacting suggestions.

The senator boasts of an uncanny ability to engage in bipartisan compromises, yet he was in the middle of his great disappearing act and refrained from any participation regarding the fiscal cliff deal save voting it through. The lack of a response to the now-you-see-me-now-you-don't trick from the 65 percent who elected Hatch back into office is astounding and unacceptable.

After investing more than 36 years into the senator, Utahns deserve results and real leadership during the pivotal new era of spending cuts that hurt Utah jobs and spending increases that yield no revenue. Where are the Utahns who voted in Hatch on toothless promises? Perhaps they have disappeared just as the senator has.

Selaina Broderick is a resident of Bountiful.

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