Connecting Orrin Hatch to New Bedford

Orrin Hatch died last Saturday at the age of 88. I am happy to remember the longest-serving Republican U.S. Senator and former President Pro Tempore as a singer-songwriter and poet rather than a political icon for more than four years. decades.

I’m very happy to have had a friendship with him on the radio that barely covered controversial politics, like his influential recommendation of Ruth Bader Ginsberg to President Bill Clinton – which Clinton hadn’t considered before – and how he played a big role in confirming Supreme Court Appointed Clarence Thomas.

Our relationship centered not on Orrin Hatch, U.S. Senator from Utah, but rather on Orrin Hatch, an accomplished pianist, violinist, and organ player. He was a frequent guest on my syndicated morning show at the Shawmut Diner in New Bedford. He called the dinner show his “favorite jukebox” because we played a multitude of songs he composed and recorded on about 12 albums.

The late senator also enjoyed this corner of the country, especially Hyannisport. Despite their political differences, Hatch was a longtime close friend of fellow Senator Ted Kennedy, speaking at his memorial service and publicly suggesting Kennedy’s widow as Kennedy’s replacement in the Senate. He wrote “Souls Along the Way”, a love song and sentimental ode, honoring Ted and Victoria Reggie Kennedy at the start of their marriage and it was also part of the film’s soundtrack. Ocean 12.

On a Memorial Day holiday, he was with me and we talked about his “Heal Our Land” and Janice Kapp Perry, a patriotic anthem that years later, in 2005, was performed at the grand opening of George W. Bush. Hatch also wrote the song “8 Days of Hanukkah” which is really catchy! His “The Answer Is Not in Washington” laments “the people who break the rules that keep our country free and disregard the many things that make our country great,” Hatch wrote.

There’s another interesting twist to the unlikely friendship with Kennedy that he shared with our listeners: When Hatch first came to Washington in 1977, he wanted to upset Kennedy’s apple cart and hobble Kennedy from all directions. any way possible, because the newly elected senator saw Kennedy as the epitome of all things shamefully liberal – and he was going to arrest him.

I hope Hatch’s death doesn’t mark the end of an era where friendship trumps partisan differences.

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