Cynical Synapse

Wed, 24 Feb 2010

Is Pete Hoekstra Governor Material?

Filed under: Behavior, Congress, Government, Michigan, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 8:42 am

Pete Hoekstra at a town hall

A friend of a friend recently had the opportunity to attend a town hall meeting held by Michigan gubernatorial candidate Pete Hoekstra (R), currently a US representative. Here are the friend’s thoughts from that meeting.

This morning, I had the opportunity (after a Holland town hall meeting of sorts) to speak to Pete Hoekstra, who hopes to run for governor of Michigan soon. After thinking about our conversation and pondering throughout the day, I thought it would probably be valuable to share our conversation, along with some of my thoughts, with my Facebook friends … so we can all be more informed voters.

Towards the end of the meeting, a young man passed out flyers down each row to everyone in the room titled “The Truth About Pete”. Among the issues raised in this pamphlet was one issue that particularly draws my ire toward Hoekstra and our friend “Old Vern”. I hearken back to the TARP passed under Bush ($700 billion) for which, I believe, every congressman in our state voted except McCotter and one other. I made many phone calls to Ehlers against the passage of TARP, and I was not alone.

After the town hall, myself and a friend and eventually a small group of people gathered around Mr. Hoekstra and asked him first about the flyer, which he discounted as mostly half truths and distortions, then asked him more specifically about his stance on TARP. I asked him specifically if he subscribed to the economics of Keynes (Adam Maynard). His reply was that at the time of TARP, Washington was coming down hard and really pressuring the congressmen to vote for this bill and that hindsight is 20/20. He let us know that he surely would not have utilized the TARP in the fashion that it has been used but he does not look back on it as a mistake. He went on to explain the importance of town hall meetings, such as the one we attended, and the symbiosis with the people that now exists, allowing the people to help guide their congressman’s vote on such issues.

His answer was that of a practiced politician and I keep kicking myself for things I could/should have said, but here are my two thoughts.

  1. His explanation that the pressure from Washington regarding the TARP and the scaremongering that was going on played a factor in his decision makes me question the strength of his character in the face of adversity. It is ironic that Barbara Day, one of the speakers at the meeting, spoke that day of how the duty of our politicians is not to get direction from Washington but to protect the people from Washington. I came away feeling Hoekstra falls short of this duty.
  2. I also mistrust his explanation of symbiosis with the people. When the $700B TARP was being hurried to a vote, there was no absence of the people’s voice. When I called “Old Vern” preceding this vote, his staffers let me know that I was one among many to call regarding that bill and the mass of callers was against TARP. The lack of symbiosis with the people during TARP only existed because our congressmen brazenly turned their back on their constituents and bailed out the banks.

Needless to say, I have serious doubts that Mr. Hoekstra will get my vote for governor and I am glad that I did not sign the form seeking to put him on the ballot.

Pete Hoekstra

After the Christmas Day attempt to blow up Northwest flight 253, Hoekstra used the terrorist incident for fundraising. Another indicator of the type of politician Hoekstra is came from the Wall Street bailout. On Monday, 29 Sep 2008, he voted againts the $700 billion bill. After the Senate added another $100 billion in pork, Hoekstra changed his mind and voted for the bailout that Friday. I don’t know how he benefited; I wonder why he decided a more expensive bill was better than the one he voted against early in the same week.

The Republican leader of the House Intelligence Committee has compromised US intelligence on several occasions. While touring Iraq, Hoekstra broadcast the secret itinerary on Twitter. In an op-ed piece he wrote, Hoekstra included classifed information. And after MAJ Hasan went on his terrorist rampage, killing 14, at Fort Hood, Hoekstra compromised a sensitive intelligence program just for the sake of criticizing the Obama administration.

Hoesktra says he’s a national security expert, but that’s obviously not the case. He also says he’ll be an effective leader for Michigan. How does he define that? The kind that takes advantage of situations for personal or politcal gain? Or the kind that’s easily bought for the right vote? Just sayin…

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