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Seven Things You Didn’t Learn About Pete Hoekstra on Sunday

July 12, 2010

The Grand Rapids Press is using its Profile feature on Sundays to write about each of Michigan’s gubernatorial candidates. If there were a Pulitzer Prize for trivial information reporting, this series might just nail that award. This past Sunday’s article was about Pete Hoekstra. Here’s a brief recap of what it did and didn’t cover:

1. We learn that Hoekstra gives an interview on Fox News and “never breaks a sweat.” But the Press doesn’t mention he was sweating plenty after he Twittered away confidential information during a visit to Iraq, potentially endangering his entire travel party. The supreme irony here is that Pete is the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee.

2. The article describes Hoekstra’s marriage to his high school sweetheart, but doesn’t mention his other cozy, long-term relationship: with the military-industrial complex. The top 20 contributors to Hoekstra’s congressional campaigns include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon—makers of items like guided missiles, phantom jets, and attack drones.

3. The Press covers the fact that Hoekstra is an immigrant—born in the Netherlands—but doesn’t mention his rabid anti-immigration stance. He’s voted for things like a fence along the Mexican border, deporting undocumented immigrants who go to emergency rooms for treatment, plus he wants to make English the official language of the United States. Hoekstra recently attacked the launch of a Supreme Court case to try to overturn SB 1070, Arizona’s racist anti-immigration law.

4. In the Press article, Hoekstra says that the highlight of his years in Congress has been doing feel-good things for Michigan, like getting federal funds for cherry and asparagus farmers. The Press doesn’t mention that Hoekstra’s interests are rarely related to compassionate, social-oriented legislation. For example, in 2007, he voted to provide $100 billion to fund the war in Iraq and increase the military presence in Afghanistan. That same year, he voted against expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance program at a cost of $12 billion a year for five years.

5. The Press article never alludes to Hoekstra’s recent TV ad that states, “We are going to have a tax code that works for the taxpayer and not for special interests and not for lobbyists,” and that he actually manages to say that with a straight face. Nor does it tie into the fact that Pete voted for, among other things, sending $850 billion of taxpayer money to Wall Street during the October 2008 bailout—proving that truth in advertising can be just a three-word phrase.

6. The Press reporter included an adorable description of the Hoekstra family making  olle bollen, a Dutch type of a doughnut, on New Year’s Day. It somehow missed mentioning Pete’s other holiday activity last year: the release of a fund-raising letter capitalizing on the attempted Christmas terrorist attack in Detroit. “My promise to you, as your governor, my first duty and most solemn responsibility is to keep Michigan safe!” Hoekstra swore. The fact that the attack had been thwarted before anything happened was apparently beside the point.

7. The article notes that Hoekstra developed his political philosophy working at Herman Miller, but outside of stating that he’s a conservative, there are no details. Here are a few:

Hoekstra is vehemently against a woman’s right to choose; same-sex marriage; amnesty and citizenship for undocumented immigrants; ending the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan; and universal health care.

He is strongly in favor of prayer in schools and school voucher programs; privatizing Social Security; expanding the military; keeping coal and oil as our major energy sources; and the death penalty.

These are just a few pertinent facts that went missing in last Sunday’s coverage. But they help prove that if you want to be informed about elections in West Michigan, the Grand Rapids Press is hardly your go-to resource. Use reputable research sites, like Open Secrets, and independent journalism sites, like this one and others such as The Michigan Messenger, to seek more substance for an informed voting decision.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. Dale permalink
    July 13, 2010 12:24 pm

    just read the article and it makes me want to vote for Pete even more. I’m glad someone can stand up to Obama and his socialism policies. This website is junk. Where do we draw the line here people?

    I’m voting for Pete and making sure all my friends do too. Thanks for the information, I’m glad to see someone who isn’t a pawn to Oama

  2. Jeff Smith permalink*
    July 13, 2010 1:52 pm

    Dale, it seems that you are slightly confused about a few things. If you define any of the Obama policies as socialistic I suggest you might want to read Marx first, since there isn’t anything socialistic about the current administration.

    Second, if you are referring to the health care legislation, it was more of a boost for the private health care industry and insurance companies. A social health care system would be what Canada has.

    Third, if you have read much of the content on this website you will see that we are highly critical of the Obama administration and its policies. We have written critically about the health care legislation, the Wall Street bailout (which Hoekstra voted for), the administrations role in the BP oil disaster and his escalation of the US occupation of Afghanistan.

    If you are going to take time to respond to posting please have well thought out statements instead of soundbite remarks.

  3. Patricia Wilson permalink
    July 13, 2010 4:16 pm

    How could any thinking person be in favor of this man runnning the state of Michigan? He is such a lightweight. When I see him speak it reminds me of sonnyboy bush. That whole tweeting fiasco was proof enough that he does not have the depth of intelligence it takes to get my vote. But then bush and palin are proof positive that intelligence is not what the republican party is selling.

    Regarding Dale and his reference to Obama’s socialist policies. I only wish Obama was fighting for more socialist policies. The liberals in the democratic party are dissatisfied with him because he had a perfect opportunity to make meaningful change to include more socialism within our capitalistic system and did not. He will have a hard time getting re-elected in 2012 because of it. The democrats always seem to drop the ball when they get it. They are too timid and centrist.

    I’ve always appreciated your work here Jeff. What we see printed in the GR Press is so slanted that I don’t even read it anymore. Your insights are refreshing and helpful.

  4. Socal permalink
    July 13, 2010 5:10 pm

    An opportunity to create “more socialism” was missed by Obama? He never had that opportunity, and even if he did, that would be a disastrous move.

    Socialism does not mean increased liberty or equality, it means the development of a centralized state capitalist bureaucracy that stifles radical alternatives. The history of state socialism–social democracy, communism, etc–is one of complete and total failure. The left in the United States really needs to get over the idea that socialism is a meaningful alternative to the current system.

  5. Dale permalink
    July 13, 2010 5:40 pm

    “I only wish Obama was fighting for more socialist policies.”

    Please explain the benefit of this. People lose their identity, we celebrate mediocracy. Obama fails to recognize legitimate threats. Since when did we become a nation of cowards?

    More government means less for the individual. Everyone wakes up and puts their pants on one leg at a time. We don’t need gov’t controlling who the winners and losers are.

    I was in Chicago when Obama won and it was ridiculous the cult like following he had. Brain washed into believing without seeing. I honestly have no idea how someone can be happy with what he is doing to this country.

  6. Patricia Wilson permalink
    July 13, 2010 6:22 pm

    A democracy is a blending of socialism and capitalism. All programs designed to protect the public can be defined as socialism. Why do so many have a fear of this word?

    “We would lose our identity if we had more socialistic programs for Americans”. What? How about losing our identity with the loss of our jobs, our homes, our 401Ks and our health insurance as the middle class sinks into poverty and oblivion?

    Obama did have one opportunity to fight for more socialist policies and that was putting a single payer health care system on the table so that its merits could be fully discussed, compared and contrasted with other plans. He didn’t do it and missed his one opportunity.

    We don’t need less government. What we need is an effective, working, less corrupt government that exists for the benefit of the people instead of a government that exists for the benefit of politicians, corporations and banks.

    Take a look at the oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico and tell me that we need less government regulation; that we can trust the free market to ever do the right things. All the market exists to do is make a profit.

    A healthy democracy is a blending of socialism and capitalism where neither one is out of balance like we see today it is today in the US.

  7. Socal permalink
    July 13, 2010 8:24 pm

    First of all, I am what could be described as a “leftwing” critic of socialism, so my opposition should not be lumped in with that of Dale above. He’s clearly coming from a rightwing position.

    Taking the comment above, I believe it is presenting a misunderstanding of what the term “socialism” means. The single-payer healthcare legislation that many sought is not an example of a socialist policy. While many socialists might support such legislation and indeed a socialist society (if one were to exist) might include universal healthcare, the policy as presented in the United States had more in common with social democratic policies than socialist ones.

    When someone writes:

    “A democracy is a blending of socialism and capitalism. All programs designed to protect the public can be defined as socialism.”

    …it sadly shows a misunderstanding of the word “socialism.” Socialism refers to a specific form of political governance, not a collection of programs designed to “protect the public.” While some programs in a hypothetical socialist society might “protect the public,” the term refers to a specific theory of governance.

    Moreover, I think the comment above fails to capture the fact that many socialists would see themselves as fundamentally opposed to capitalism and indeed the theory tends to be (to simplify) completely opposed to capitalism.

    That said, there have been those societies that have fused socialist and capitalist policies–under the term “social democracy”–but by and large those societies have not delivered on the socialist promise of a world built on equality and liberation. There may be more social welfare programs, but the theory has not gotten folks any closer to casting aside capitalism once and for all.

    Unfortunately for advocates of socialism (and those living in socialist societies), that theory–and practice–has been a disaster everywhere. Socialist societies–and many socialist organizations–have tended to be incredibly authoritarian, going all the way back to the days of Karl Marx. The so-called socialist experiments–Russia, China, Cuba, etc–have by and large simply been capitalist systems in which the state controls everything. Attempting to defend their records–as many socialists do–is an exercise in futility.

    Similarly, government by its very nature exists to protect the interests of the ruling class–the bankers, the politicians, the corporations, the landowners, etc. That function is the essence of government.

  8. Patricia Wilson permalink
    July 13, 2010 8:40 pm

    Beam me up Scottie!

  9. moon mist permalink
    July 14, 2010 12:42 pm

    “I’ve always appreciated your work here Jeff. What we see printed in the GR Press is so slanted that I don’t even read it anymore. Your insights are refreshing and helpful.”

    Credit should go where credit is due: “kswheeler” wrote this blog post, not Jeff.

  10. July 14, 2010 7:37 pm

    Socialism IS a radical alternative to capitalism. Past attempts to institute systems under the guise of socialism have been authoritarian, carried out from the top down (and thus not really socialist). There’s no reason we can’t strive for socialism from below–and there’s no reason to think socialism from below is not a viable, radical, liberatory alternative to capitalism.

    Not to mention, internet lecturing on “what the Left needs to get over” is precisely what the Left DOESN’T need right now. You’re trying to quash a discussion about socialism before it even begins (let’s face it–the Left in this country is not really talking about genuine socialism or any other alternative to capitalism right now) in order to have a discussion about whatever alternative system you envision, instead of coming together with people to figure out how we can create a better world together, with anarchists, socialists, communists–even Tea Partiers.

  11. July 14, 2010 7:38 pm

    I’d echo the above comment — my hat is off to Kate Wheeler. Great post.

  12. Patricia Wilson permalink
    July 15, 2010 12:19 am

    I see that now. My mistake.

  13. Debra permalink
    July 15, 2010 8:54 pm

    Informative and incisive. Thanks for providing a forum for Kate Wheeler’s bright mind and distinctive voice.

  14. Kip Petzold permalink
    August 1, 2012 9:36 pm

    Go PETE!!

    Good article – if the goal was a parody so weird and extreme that they obviously want us to vote for Pete Hoekstra.

    Besides what they mentioned, there has been alot of abuse in Child Protective Services. That has become a self feeding beast – acting in its own interest with no regard for the children. Pete has opposed the STATE’S abuse of our most vulnerable children.

    The rules need to be re-written to favor counselling and to keep from needlessly distressing an abused child when the abuser does not live in the home or can be removed from the home.

    I’m saying this because of numerous cases I have observed – not because of any of our children.

    Besides that, we were trying to take care of a child, free of charge, while the mother was in jail – but the CPS people said that the rules were changed and the child had to be placed in state care. They seem to think the state has extra money they need to get rid of.

    Judges fear to stand up to the GOVT UNION WORKER LOBBY. People don’t vote for judges with the courage to stand up to GOVT UNION WORKERS who tyrannize our children and abuse them to feed themselves.

    So vote for Pete.
    And vote for judges who will rule in the interests of CHILDREN, not the bloated bureaucracies and their parasite GOVT UNION “Workers”

  15. Kip Petzold permalink
    August 1, 2012 9:49 pm

    Who would think a massive govt bureaucracy was socialist???

    Ludicrous!
    Who would think that treating the STATE as the answer to most problems and that PROFITS are evil means you’re socialist.

    Everyone knows socialists are very smart people who should be running our lives.
    Isn’t that OBVIOUS???

    Yes.
    They are much smarter than you are – and much smarter than Free Markets.

    But when it comes to Croney Capitalism – that’s a left wing specialty.
    Socialism fosters corruption and crony capitalism.
    GREED is the CHIEF MOTIVATION of the GOVT UNION PARASITES who fight to protect their fat bureaucracies and obscene unfunded pension plans.

    The GREEDY ruling class leftists will pardon criminals like Marc Rich.
    A conservative adminstration had to clean up after the DECADE OF GREED

    throwing the heads of Tyco, Worldcom, Global Crossings, Enron, and even Martha Stewart in JAIL for HARD TIME (up to 30 years)

    Who went to JAIL after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – the Democrat Backed ENRONs of the mortgage industry, destroyed our economy? Tell me! Who???

    Soros and the multi-billionaires who fund the phony left and their astroturf OWS clowns are the puppet masters for the “useful idiots” who spew their talking points like parrots – in spite of the obvious evidence that the phony left is in bed with super rich crony capitalist criminals.

    Pete’s the kind of guy these guys hate – because he’ll fight the beast – the ruling class tyrants who have spent our SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND on their cronies – to buy votes.

    It’s time to fight for guys who will end the tyranny of the corrupt super rich and their phony left wing machine.

    If you care for the poor – fight the RAPACIOUS GREEDY RULING CLASS.
    It is the poor, those on social security, the disabled, the young who will BE HURT FIRST and HURT THE WORST when the thieving left turns us into GREECE.

    Don’t just vote for Pete.
    Organize. Work hard for freedom and to end the corruption and tyranny.

  16. Kip Petzold permalink
    August 1, 2012 9:55 pm

    Hitler was a good example of a ‘Socialist”.

    Stalin.

    But the definition of socialism that our friends here are advocating is that we all care for each other – with flowers and butterflies gracing a serene landscape with no factories in sight.

    If that’s what you want, become a Christian. They are the only people I see out there caring for the poor (without being paid rapacious wages to do so). Maybe it’s just me.

    How many socialists do YOU see out there looking after the needy.
    Al Gore is more typical.

    He gave about $300 one year in charitable donations – TO HIS OWN CHARITIES!
    Leftists are notorious in their demand to be able to steal OPM (Other People’s Money) for their STATE SPONSORED, TOP DOWN, version of “charity”.

    Well, maybe if I listen to “Imagine” again. Because you HAVE to have a good imagination to think socialists are changing the world with kind, angelic hearts of love for their fellow man.

    Gump’s right:
    China:
    No possessions????
    No religion, too????

    Perfect!

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