For Orrin Hatch, what goes around comes around.
Salon.com says it's ironic that Hatch is getting a challenge from the right-wing of his party this year because, when he first ran for senate in 1976, he essentially played the same role that Dan Liljenquist is playing right now - as an unknown "true believer" fighting against the Republican establishment.
Hatch was a 42-year-old Pittsburgh-born lawyer in Salt Lake City when he decided, just a day before the filing deadline, to seek his party’s Senate nomination. The initial response, from those who even noticed, was laughter. Party leaders were solidly behind Jack Carlson, a rising star who had served in the Nixon and Ford administrations, and he was assumed to have a lock on the nomination.
The Republican Party of ‘76 was defined by a broad and ultimately unsustainable ideological base. A civil war was erupting between a more moderate and pragmatic old guard and a deeply ideological conservative wing. Nationally, the clash was symbolized by that year’s marathon battle between Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. Hatch ran as a Reagan Republican, took a hard line on social issues, and railed relentlessly against the federal government. When his campaign against Ford was over, Reagan himself came to the state to campaign with Hatch, who crushed Carlson in the September primary, then won comfortably in November over Frank “Ted” Moss, a three-term liberal Democrat whose luck finally ran out.
In essence, Hatch was one of the faces of that era’s Tea Party. As a freshman senator, he ignored tradition and played a loud and leading role in the chamber. He was among the most vocal opponents of the Panama Canal treaty and almost single-handedly killed a bill championed by the Carter administration and organized labor that would have made it easier to form unions. Newsweek quoted a Democratic aide who called Hatch “extremely dangerous” for his legislative savvy.