The following is excerpted from the Deseret News. To read the full article, CLICK HERE

In terms of ideology, Orrin Hatch and Ted Kennedy couldn’t have been more different.

“One of the reasons I ran for the Senate was to fight Ted Kennedy,” Hatch once said of Kennedy, “who embodied everything I felt was wrong with Washington.”

But through the 1980s and 1990s, the two men became the yin and yang, the oddest couple of American politics — the disheveled, überliberal, hard-partying, superrich libertine Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, and the abstemious, buttoned-up, conservative church-bishop-from-a-poor-family Orrin Hatch.

And sometimes, they shaped American history together.

In fact, if greatness is measured by achievement, Hatch was the greatest United States senator of the past half century. This is not a partisan or an ideological opinion; it is a judgment based on empirical fact.

According to scholars at the nonpartisan Center for Effective Lawmaking, a research institution hosted jointly by the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University, Hatch is the number one “most effective” senator of all Republicans and Democrats from 1973 (the year the center’s data begins) to 2019, when measured by the center’s “Cumulative Legislative Effectiveness” score that adds up legislative effectiveness across a member’s entire time in Congress. The number two spot in the ranking? None other than Kennedy, Democrat from Massachusetts.

“We did not agree on much, and more often than not, I was trying to derail whatever big government scheme he had just concocted,” recalled Hatch in 2009. “And, in those years that Republicans held the majority in the Senate, when it came to getting some of our ideas passed into law, he was not just a stone in the road, he was a boulder. Disagreements over policy, however, were never personal with Ted. I recall a debate over increasing the minimum wage. Ted had launched into one of his patented histrionic speeches, the kind where he flailed his arms and got red in the face, spewing all sorts of red meat liberal rhetoric. When he finished, he stepped over to the minority side of the Senate chamber, put his arm around my shoulder, and said with a laugh and a grin, ‘How was that, Orrin?’”

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