Associated Press
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah

Many conservatives in Utah respond to Sen. Orrin Hatch's latest makeover by smiling and shaking their heads ever so slightly, as they would to a misbehaving child. The difference in Hatch's case is that his misbehaviors have real consequences for the people of Utah; consequently, the voters have finally reached the limits of tolerance.

Having recognized that he pushed Utahns too far with his Washington-first, Utah-last behaviors, Hatch has undergone a conservative transformation. This is more commonly called a "deathbed conversion," a last-ditch effort to fake a change of heart.

Principles are not to be worn as fashion statements. Just as former Sen. Bob Bennett, Hatch has spent his terms ignoring Utah values and voters while he has aligned himself with Washington insiders and power brokers.

Two years ago, a critical mass of Utah conservatives finally had enough of being ignored for five of every six years by a Washington-insider senator who was embarrassed to admit the name of his home state.

Loren Minert

Salt Lake City