But it may not be a name that will aid him in his 2016 re-election.
Lee is turning out to be a quotable public servant, one that is increasingly made fun of in various media outlets.
He was lambasted this past week on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and in a number of publications for leading the GOP effort in the Senate in defeating a United Nations treaty on treatment of the disabled – a treaty that was based on the U.S.’s 20-year-old ADA laws.
But that’s only the latest Lee stuff.
You may recall that last year he threatened to hold up every presidential appointment because he didn’t believe President Barack Obama was properly following the “advise and consent” constitutional process concerning the U.S. Senate.
One may have thought that Lee – like so many of his colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats – may have moved to the middle a bit upon winning his seat in 2010.
But that’s not the case.
Lee seems to fit comfortably in a role of right wing spoiler, if not constitutional advocate and scholar.
In Utah, that may seem a safe political road.
But will it really be so come 2016?
There are already rumors around the Beehive State’s GOP circuit that Lee could be challenged by some well-funded, well-known Republican from his left.
That’s right, an incumbent GOP federal lawmaker actually challenged within the Utah Republican Party from the more moderate wing.
Is there a more moderate wing of the Utah GOP?
And some long-time Republicans – even a few younger reasonable conservatives – are looking at future big-time races with a little bit of drool on their lips.
Think on this: What if a youngster like Josh Romney, son of Mitt Romney and a Utah resident, decided to go after Lee?
Could he pull off what Lee did in the 2010 state GOP convention – and take out an incumbent?
Or, what if Utah’s primary ballot rules were changed by citizens in 2014 to allow an alternative route to the closed state GOP primary ballot?
Could some well-known and trusted former GOP governors, like Mike Leavitt and Jon Huntsman Jr., get on the ballot against Lee without having to face him in a state party convention?
Romney, Leavitt and Huntsman not only have a lot of personal money they could throw into such a race, but could raise millions of dollars in their campaigns.
Lee wouldn’t automatically have the financial advantage of the incumbency to count on. And there is precedence in Republicans taking out their own incumbents in their first Senate re-elections.
Many still remember that in 1980 Ronald Reagan swept several GOP U.S. Senate candidates into office with his “change America” victory.
But come 1986 most of those GOP freshmen were voted out of office in their first re-election.
I well remember sitting with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, on election night 1986 and Hatch bemoaning “the end of the Reagan Revolution” – as Republicans lost control of the Senate and the ability to force Reagan’s policies in Congress.
And look what happened in Utah in 2012 – where a conservative, highly attractive female GOP candidate had plenty of money to spend against U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, but still couldn’t take him out.
Matheson and his independent PAC supporters ran millions of dollars worth of TV and other media ads against Mia Love, painting her as an extremist.
Many Utahns thought being a right wing Republican couldn’t harm Love – or any other GOP candidate in this state these days.
But by all accounts they were wrong.
How many times did we see images of Love talking about doing away with the federal Department of Education, or drastically cutting the federal budget, and so on.
Matheson didn’t win by much in the new 4th Congressional District, just a few hundred votes. But he won.
And the likes of Josh Romney, Mike Leavitt and Jon Huntsman Jr. wouldn’t have to worry about being too moderate – like Matheson, a Democrat, did.
They would only have to paint themselves as “reasonable” Republicans to counter Lee’s far right agenda.
Any number of public opinion polls show that Utahns are backing away from the Tea Party – tired of the harsh rhetoric, willing to see compromise in Congress.
And if by 2016 the United States has some kind of control over its deficit and is working to minimize Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security obligations, the fiscal conservative/right wingers could lose one of their main arguing points – runaway federal spending – and be left with their moral issues.
In that case anti-abortion, pro-marriage advocates like Josh Romney and Mike Leavitt may find a foothold.
Even Jon Huntsman Jr., who still favors marriage between only a man and woman, but supports other gay rights issues, could find some support among GOP rank-and-file Utah voters.
As Love found out this year, one can be shoved into a right wing corner and not be able to fight your way out in a general election.
Lee may be fine with being made fun of by the “liberal” media today.
But six years of such ridicule may be an opportunity for intra-party opponents – and a hindrance for Lee – come 2016, especially if there is a route to the GOP primary ballot that doesn’t include going before the always-very-conservative state GOP delegates.