The appeal came during Palin's appearance on the Greta Van Susteren show on Thursday August 18th. In response to Greta’s concern about a possible Tea Party challenge of Hatch, Palin said:
“To your particular point about Senator Orrin Hatch, he is doing good in terms of trying to get a balanced budget and he has been for the last couple of decades. He has pushed hard for some fiscal reforms that we have got to see implemented. We need to be agreeing and embracing his idea and working with him to make sure that that happens instead of shooing him away and shooing him out of a tea party movement.”
Here's the segment:
Naturally, Senator Hatch was quite appreciative, saying "I am grateful for the support of Sarah Palin as I continue to lead this fight. Mrs. Palin is highly respected by Utahns and the national conservative movement and I appreciate her influence to create a united front in confronting the issue of our national debt. It is an honor to have Sarah Palin's backing for the balanced budget amendment and I will continue to use my time in the Senate to see it passed."
A former Utah resident also jumped on the Hatch bandwagon. On Conservatives4Palin, Nicole Coulter, who was a journalism student at Utah State University, stated that she once interviewed Senator Hatch and found him to be a gracious and conscientious public servant. She never saw Hatch as anything but a staunch conservative, notwithstanding his long-time friendship with Ted Kennedy. Regarding the Tea Party, Coulter writes:
Whatever the case, he’s certainly been a friend of the Tea Party lately. It should be noted that Hatch, now the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, led the Senate GOP push this year for a balanced budget amendment (for the 17th time in his career — if you can even fathom what that says about our stubbornly obese government) and was a co-sponsor of a Republican amendment to repeal the mandates in Obamacare. He also earned a perfect score in the American Conservative Union’s 2010 ratings, one of only 11 senators to do so. It’s hard to get more conservative than that, if you ask me.
Bob Bennett had a pretty good score with the American Conservative Union, too, but it didn't save him. Hatch is not in as much trouble at this point as Bob Bennett was in 2009, but he's being challenged by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who's a proven conservative. And Hatch may not be able to overcome the perception that he's simply been in the U.S. Senate too long.
Michelle Malkin is not too happy about it, either, noting that Orrin Hatch is the antithesis of the Tea Party spirit. She cites the following examples (her syntax, not mine):
-- He slobbered over corruptocrat Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd.
-- He co-sponsored the $6 billion national service boondoggle and dedicated it to his good friend Teddy Kennedy, with whom he also joined hands to create the ever-expanding SCHIP entitlement.
-- He supported tax cheat Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner from day one, lavished praise on Joe Biden’s balls, and embraced and defended Attorney General Eric Holder’s nomination because, he said, “I like Barack Obama and I want to help him if I can.”
-- He was an original sponsor of the open-borders DREAM Act illegal alien student bailout and voted for the massive TARP bailout.
-- And there’s much, much more from his support for Fannie/Freddie bailouts to farm subsidies and beyond.
While Malkin's syntax is a bit strong, her point remains valid -- he has taken the other side too many times to be considered reliable.
On the other hand, at least Sarah Palin did not come out and formally endorse Orrin Hatch's re-election campaign. Sarah Palin is still well-regarded in Utah despite the fact that Mitt Romney "owns" the state, but some people are disappointed in her support of Hatch.