SQUARE PEG by Orrin Hatch


Confessions of a Citizen Senator
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A member of America’s most exclusive club offers an earnest view from a career of public service.

In the only elective post he ever held, Sen. Hatch (R-Utah) has attended to the citizens of the Beehive State and the nation for a quarter century. He entered the heady world of contested power upon being convinced that America was headed in the wrong direction: toward the left. He maintains that conviction. But, despite initial mentoring from the famously closed mind of old Senator Eastland, he also knows in his heart—and says so here—that there’s more than one side to significant questions of public policy. Hatch’s text is more reasoned and surely less bombastic than some readers might expect. With some candor, his apologia pro curriculum vitae explains his admiration for Ronald Reagan, his part in arming Afghanistan’s mujahideen, and his relations with philosophical opposite Ted Kennedy and other Kings of the Hill. He defends seemingly feckless Clarence Thomas and describes the nominations of Judges Bork (failed) and Rehnquist (better) without comment regarding Republican applications of litmus in other cases. Hatch, a sincere defender of the unborn, has concluded after studious deliberation that stem cell research is a good thing. That’s independence, not political expedience. That’s also the attitude that prompted his ill-fated campaign for the Oval Office. The experience generates some good-humored advice on running for the presidency, and he explains some other blunders, as well. This is about how laws are handcrafted. Don’t look for revelations of a personal nature beyond confessions of pleasure in songwriting and happiness with faith and family.

As well as sincere fidelity to the right wing, this introduction to the political arts is characterized by straightforwardness and considerable wit. No ghostwriter indicated.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-465-02867-5
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Basic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2002