Jumping into the John Tower debate Monday, a fired-up Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told Democrats they are looking more for Superman or Captain America than a mere human for defense secretary.
He said Democrats' concern about Tower's drinking and personal life shows an unusual "temporary fit of morality" for the Senate.Hatch said Democrats were looking for "a combination of Solomon, Cincinnatus and Horatio. And we probably ought to throw in Superman and Captain America as well."
He added that U.S. Grant would never have become a general nor Winston Churchill England's prime minister under the "moral perfection" criteria being used by the Senate to judge Tower.
Hatch paraphrased a quote about Grant that he said could apply to Tower: "He may have had his troubles with the bottle earlier in his life, but he seems to have imbibed no more than that of most officers."
Hatch added, "Abraham Lincoln was willing to judge a man by his actions, not by the rumors of his critics.
"One wonders what the committee majority would do if confronted with a Winston Churchill, who took great pride in his alcoholic consumption and was known to start each day with a scotch and soda. We can only assume that he too would fall victim to the committee's quest for moral perfection."
Hatch said, "Whether he and I share the same attitudes toward alcohol does not matter. The issue is whether Senator Tower is capable of being secretary of defense. To that I say yes."
Hatch said he has been surprised by the whole debate. He said, "I thought that after the manipulated mugging of Judge Robert Bork (an unsuccessful Supreme Court nominee), nothing else would leave me astonished. I was wrong. I certainly was unprepared for the sudden formation of the Senate Bed and Breath Check."