Friday, February 10, 2012

Why Won't Pete Hoekstra Stand Behind His Words

When you choose to run an ad during the Superbowl attempting to blame a single U.S. Senator for the fact that we have a budget deficit, purport that it's because of the deficit that jobs are outsourced to China, you feature a Chinese woman with a stereotypical accent addressing the Senator with a childish distortion of her name, and "thanking" the Senator for sending jobs to China.... You have chosen to run an ad that is factually challenged, to say the least, ethnically insensitive, and evocative of the period in which outsourcing to Asia fueled sentiments that contributed to a particularly sorry episode of anti-Asian violence in your state. That's gutsy, right? Going "all in". Who cares about the facts, as long as you win, right?

But Pete Hoekstra, the politician who ran that ad as part of his primary campaign to challenge Sen. Debbie Stabenow, is backing away from it. At first, Pete seemed proud of his ad:
"We knew we were taking an aggressive approach on this, but we're in a time when people are fed up with the spending and we wanted to capture that frustration," Hoekstra said. "It hits Debbie smack-dab between the eyes on the area where she is most vulnerable."
After all, what politician isn't vulnerable to, you know, outright lies.

Hoekstra is now switching to a different ad that doesn't include his prevarications about China. Although Hoekstra won't admit it, it's implicit in his act of pulling the ad that he believes his campaign will be damaged if he continues to run it. Mark Brewer, chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, commented,
"Hoekstra is replacing this ad because he knows it is indefensible and untrue.... Hoekstra is trying to blame others for the country's debt, but even people in his own party are pointing out that he voted for the Wall Street bailout, giveaways to special interests and trillions more in deficit spending.
Hoekstra's opponent for the nomination, Clark Durant, has also criticized the ad,
"Congressman Pete Hoekstra claims to know a lot about China," the announcer says. "Does he know the Chinese word for hypocrisy?" Chinese characters come up on the screen, captioned "Hypocrisy."

"Hoekstra attacks Debbie Stabenow for excessive spending, but like Stabenow, Hoekstra voted to increase the debt ceiling and spending by trillions of dollars," the announcer says with a split screen of Stabenow and Hoekstra. "And Hoekstra voted for the Wall Street bailout."
It's more fair to say that spending and the deficit are a bipartisan issue, although it should be pointed out that the present deficit is largely a creature of George W. Bush's spendthrift policies. Clark apparently doesn't understand the difference between a trade deficit and a budget deficit or the impact of austerity measures during a recession. He apparently also wants us to believe thad had he served in Congress instead of Hoekstra he would have opposed Bush's spending policies. Yeah, right.

Come on, Pete - You went all in with your ad, so why don't you get right out there and defend it? Pulling the ad, switching the URL and trying to pretend that nothing happened?

Interestingly, the most noteworthy people who are actually responsible for outsourcing jobs from Michigan to nations such as China and India are Republican Party insiders. Maybe for his next ad Hoekstra can show Dick DeVos standing in front of a Chinese factory producing goods for Alticor / Amway, whining, "Debbie Stabenow made us open this factory. She made us. Her Svengali-like powers controlled our business decisions more than a decade before she was elected to the Senate!"

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