Sen. Orrin Hatch’s picture of a dog sitting atop a pony – one he summoned in a congressional hearing to demonstrate his disdain for a Democratic bill to cut oil subsidies – quickly made the rounds on news shows and blogs Thursday.
Asked on Thursday whom the dog and horse were supposed to represent, Hatch had answered, “I think we both know. I know who the horse's ass is, I'll put it that way.” When asked on Friday morning to "elaborate" on that response, the Utah Republican admitted, “I have to behave myself better than that.”
“I'm metaphorical with all the Democrats,” he said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “This was a dog-and-pony show.”
Hatch argued that Democrats’ targeting of oil companies is not only ineffective fiscally, it’s morally wrong.
“Everything they talked about yesterday would not bring gas down at the pump,” he said. “It's just an attack on the politically unpopular industry. It was a selective taxation attack. That's my point. And that's wrong.”
Hatch said lawmakers should not make politically motivated and “selective tax decisions, but look at the whole picture and see what should be done.”
“Maybe there should be changes, but it ought to be done so it's equal to everybody,” Hatch said. “For instance, almost the same tax benefits go to casinos and gambling. Should we take that away? That's not going to be taken away because there are people in the Senate who don't want that to happen. I think we should look at these things in a fair way and not make a circus out of it like I think the Democrats tried to do yesterday.”
Asked by MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell if his problem with "selective" tax hikes means he supports raising taxes on more industries, Hatch said that would make more sense, even as he repeated the GOP call for spending cuts over tax hikes.
“Well, you would certainly consider it more if it was across the board and was decent, Andrea,” he said. “I don't think adding taxes is what we need. We need to cut spending.”
Hatch also took a swipe at the Obama administration, which he said doesn’t “know what [it’s] doing.”