Many moons ago, my mother called me while watching the Iran-Contra hearings on TV. "You should see this," she reported. "Hatch is sounding reasonable." At times last night, I could have returned the call. At others, not so much.
Hatch continued to appeal -- try to, anyway -- to the Tea Party /Convention crowd, filling long answers with lots of commiseration about how "they" have ruined everything, "they" are in cahoots with mainsteam media ("Thank goodness for Fox News"), "they" are would-be socialists, etc. Rather patent pandering, I thought.
But I have to give him credit: He didn't kowtow on everything. He defended his TARP vote. He defended the DREAM Act and didn't use the term "illegals," as many questioners did (he said "persons who are here illegally as undocumented workers"). He suggested that reaching across the aisle can be appropriate. He praised adversaries before stating that he simply disagrees with them. He expressed regret that Bob Bennett is out.
In short, except for one yelling match that seemed a bit staged (but effective), he was civil. When the rather rabid crowd attempted to drown out a Democrat's question about health care, he pointed out that she has a right to express her views. He didn't point out the inconsistencies of demanding no more "charity" spending while simultaneously requesting better benefits under Medicare, more spending on Utah projects, etc.
Several questioners thanked Hatch for his service, but said it's time for him to go. And perhaps he sealed his fate when he disagreed with the owner of a transportation company who demanded dramatically that President Obama be impeached (to much hooting and hollering from the 'out-there' crowd). Then again, he did win some attendees over, and voters have short memories. Either way, it's great theater.