This weekend, Orrin Hatch was forced into a primary race for his Senate seat in Utah when he failed to gain 60% of the convention votes he needed in order to secure the nomination. Many conservatives in Utah, especially among the Tea Party, see Hatch as having served too long - a total of six terms. He first assumed office in 1977, and is the longest-serving Senator in Utah history. Tea Party groups are rallying around Dan Liljenquist, a candidate that Glenn has also expressed support for - although not endorsed. On radio this morning, Glenn invited FreedomWorks' Matt Kibbe (a sponsor of The Glenn Beck Program) on to the show to discuss the upset.
Rush Transcript Below:
GLENN: Two years ago Freedom Works and Tea Party activists in Utah defeated Robert Bennett, an 18‑year incumbent on the floor of the state convention delegates chanted TARP, TARP, TARP because of his support for $700 billion in financial bailouts. This year Hatch's challenger Dan Liljenquist can ‑‑ I mean, I kind of hope that he doesn't win just because I don't want to say his name over and over.
STU: Change your name to Smith.
GLENN: Yeah. Rallied activists on the convention floor saying, "No senator is too big to fail." Matt Kibbe ‑‑ this was not supposed to happen. Matt Kibbe is from Freedom Works. He's on the phone with us now. Matt, Matt?
KIBBE: Yes. Yes, I am here, I am here.
GLENN: This was not supposed to happen. Orrin Hatch hasn't faced a primary in 36 years.
KIBBE: And he is a little steamed about it, too.
GLENN: I'm guessing he is. He hates your guts.
KIBBE: Yeah, I don't think he likes me too much, but I think he really resents the fact that so many citizens in Utah are literally holding him accountable for his record and the old rules of saying one thing back home and doing something else in Washington D.C. just don't apply anymore for Orrin Hatch.
GLENN: So what happened? First of all, you know ‑‑ don't ‑‑ don't wound a bear. You don't want to ever wound a bear because then they come back and eat you.
GLENN: Are you sure that Dan can win against Orrin Hatch? Because Orrin already doesn't like the Tea Party movement. He already has said that ‑‑ what was the phrase last week? That it is the ‑‑ he despises them?
KIBBE: We're radical libertarians, he despises us, and you don't come mess with me without getting punched in the mouth.
GLENN: That's an amazing statement.
KIBBE: That sounds like a threat.
GLENN: Yeah, it does. It does. I think he's targeting you.
GLENN: It's an amazing statement from Orrin Hatch. But now you've wounded him and he's going to ‑‑ I mean, he's got a ton of money. He's got the system behind him because he's been in place for 36 years. He hasn't faced a primary for 36 years and now he has to face Dan who, I mean, really, how much money does Dan have in comparison and what machinery does Dan have?
KIBBE: Well, what he has is ‑‑ and understand the numbers going into this convention. Orrin Hatch spent over $6 million trying to solicit the votes of 4,000 convention goers, and he picked on Freedom Works for America a lot because we've spent $670,000. So he almost outspent the pro reform groups by 10:1 and still failed to come up with the votes. I think what's changed in America today and certainly changed in Utah is that all this money coming from Washington D.C. to support the reelection of Orrin Hatch will be trumped by those activists on the ground who are willing to do the work, are willing to act on principle, and we have until June 26 to build the name recognition and understanding of what Dan Liljenquist stands for, and I think that's a big opportunity for us. It's not a long shot. It's a 50/50 proposition. If we do our work, we will win.
GLENN: Okay. I think we need to decide what his name is because now you just said Liljenquist and I think it's Liljenquist.
STU: It's not Liljenquist. There's definitely no J like that's actually pronounced. It's a silent J.
GLENN: It is. I think I heard somebody this weekend call him Lil‑jen‑quist.
STU: It's not Lil‑jen‑quist, is it, Matt? No way.
STU: We had him on the ‑‑
GLENN: That's a stupid name.
STU: We had him on the air. He didn't say Lil‑jen‑quist. Why would you ‑‑
KIBBE: I'm pretty sure it's Lillian‑quist.
GLENN: He didn't say Lillian‑quist, either.
STU: I don't know what he said. I'm ‑‑
GLENN: Let's just call him Dan. Dan for Senate. Dan for Senate, Dan L.
KIBBE: Let's call him Dan.
GLENN: Dan. Dan's my guy. How's that?
STU: The thing I like about this is now, I think, you know, with all the money that's been spent on this race, it all is going to ‑‑ it all comes down now to the actual people making the decision. They now have the opportunity that it's not going to be done by the Insiders, right?
GLENN: Well, not necessarily. This is one of the dirtiest fights. I mean, tell me if you think I'm wrong here, Matt. This is a dirty, dirty fight and I mean, I can't believe it, that it's coming from Utah, but it is. It's nasty.
KIBBE: It is, this is the nastiest fight I've ever been in. I've actually never seen a U.S. senator behave the way that Orrin Hatch has behaved. And to be honest with you, that's not how Utahans prefer their elected officials to behave.
GLENN: Well, he is saying now ‑‑ let's be fair to Orrin. What he said when he came out, he said ‑‑ I couldn't believe he said this was, I'm the underdog.
KIBBE: Well, that's great spin, right?
STU: I don't even think it's a good effort at spin. The guy's been there in power for a million years. How can he possibly be the underdog?
GLENN: Because he's up against people who want change. I don't know. Don't ask me to explain it. I don't know. But that's what he's ‑‑ that's what he's saying. He's saying now that, you know, now I'm the underdog. And, you know, generally people like Orrin Hatch, I mean, I ‑‑ you know, Orrin Hatch, you know, probably now wants to punch ‑‑ what did he say? Punch you in the face?
KIBBE: In the mouth.
GLENN: In the mouth. So he probably wants to punch me in the mouth now, too, and I don't want to punch him in the mouth, but, you know, people generally like Orrin Hatch because they think he's a nice guy who threatens to punch people in the mouth. But ‑‑
KIBBE: Well, what's so frustrating is you get these accusations of dirty campaign, campaigning and lying on our part and all we've done is we went through his voting record and published a fairly exhaustive analysis of every time we thought he violated the conservative principles that he claims to espouse, and it's quite a long book and there's quite a number of big issues that matter a lot to limited government free market types starting with the creation of SCHIP when he partnered with Ted Kennedy. And what was so remarkable about that, that was the year after Republicans defeated Bill Clinton at the polls in 1994, running against government healthcare. What did Orrin Hatch do? He decided to partner with Ted Kennedy on Hillary Clinton's Plan B which was children first. And that's not something that a small government conservative does. And you can't say that I'm for a balanced budget amendment but never actually take on the programs that you would have to cut to balance the budget. And not only not do that but then create new programs that grow beyond your wildest imagination.
GLENN: What do you ‑‑ I don't know if you paid attention at all what happened to Chris Stewart. Did you see this at all?
KIBBE: No, I didn't. I mean, I know ‑‑ I know there was a lot of game‑playing on the convention floor.
GLENN: Oh, yeah. I've never heard of anything like this. Maybe you do. I mean, you've been around politics more, about you they actually had to cut the mic of somebody. They actually, the GOP cut the mic of somebody when there were 11 competitors for this one race, Chris Stewart, one ‑‑ probably, I would say one of the five most honorable men I know and he's a straight arrow. He doesn't really want to serve. He's doing it because he feels it's time. You know, he feels like I have to serve and his wife doesn't want him to serve, but she also, you know, they're both, they made that decision on their knees. And they're like, no, really? Seriously? And so they're doing it, they are doing it like Washington did it: "Okay, well, I'll serve because somebody has got to go do the right thing." And there's eleven candidates that were running in this district. They wanted to have a, you know, a primary runoff. He needed to have 60% to not have the primary. So he would just be the candidate. And all of these candidates, the other ten started to collude together and did buttons ABC, anybody but Chris, they made a website that said that he was a liar about his service record that he was discharged on, you know, uncertain circumstances, which is all so easy to verify, said that he lied about his speed. You know, he set the around the world speed record in the stealth and they ‑‑ he said that they made ‑‑ he made that all up and everything else. Again, very easy to verify. All ‑‑ just smeared him over and over and over again. One guy, all nine of them start to speak and they are all tearing them apart. He gets up to speak and he says, "I don't know what I've ever done in my life that gives anybody the impression that any of this stuff would be true. The Republicans are supposed to be about truth; you figure it out." The next guy gets up, Milt Hanks, and he gets up and he says, "I just want you to know I'm running against Chris, but all the things that are being said here are all lies about Chris," and he starts pointing to the other candidate. This guy did this, this guy did this, this guy talked to me about this," and he rats them all out.
GLENN: It's a 20‑point swing and Chris wins. This guy, Hanks, should be commended for his courage. They had to escort him. They tried to cut his mic off, they had to escort him out with armed security to get him out of there. It was a melee from what I understand. It's crazy.
STU: When did Utah turn into Chicago 1934?
GLENN: I have no idea. I have no idea. But it's really, truly amazing, and I'd love to get your opinion, Matt. I think between "I'm going to punch you in the face," or mouth, and what's happening there. If this is happening in Utah, I can't imagine what else is happening, and you're going to see decent people who are standing and are not part of the system and don't want to be a part of the system, you're going to see them taken apart by anybody because you play ball or we'll destroy you. Is that accurate?
KIBBE: Absolutely. Well, that's accurate. And to be honest with you, that's happened to activists on the ground when they tried to participate within the Republican apparatus in state after state I hear this story. So Utah's not that different. And what it is, it's the pushback from the establishment that wants to stop the citizen takeover of our government to restore our freedoms, to restore our liberty. And it's a takeover because the shareholders are demanding accountability for management and it's becoming a hostile takeover because management is circling the wagons and saying we're going to do anything we can to stop you citizens from coming back and taking back your government.
GLENN: Matt, I appreciate, appreciate you. We'll talk again soon. I will tell you that Matt Kibbe at Freedom Works, guy that I totally respect, guy I think totally gets it, and I want to actually ‑‑ can you hang on an sec, Matt? Do you have time?
GLENN: Matt, are you there?
KIBBE: Yeah, I'm back.
GLENN: Okay. Now we've only got 30 seconds. You blew it, pal. I mean, this was it. This was your chance to be a star.
GLENN: That is one sexy tax plan. Let me just say that to you.
KIBBE: You know, I think the whole ethos of what we're trying to do is simple, low, fair and honest, treat everybody the same as everybody else. This so upsets the progressives who want to micromanage everybody's behavior through the tax code. About you that's not what it's for. Why would you ‑‑ why would you try to manipulate everybody's behavior? You should let people be free, fund the necessary functions of government and move on.
GLENN: They know better.