Rick Snyder’s Support Plummets After Signing Right To Work Law

In 2010 it was clear that Republicans would dominate the off-year elections due to the state of the economy and the national pro-Republican wave. Rick Snyder won the Republican nomination due to a combination of more conservative Republicans splitting the far right wing vote and Democrats crossing over to back Snyder as the lesser evil. By positioning himself as a moderate, Snyder had a good chance at getting re-elected in 2014. The problem with a moderate Republican governor is that he is still a Republican, and therefore will not veto extreme acts from the Republican legislature as regularly as a Democrat would. Signing the right to work legislation which the Republican legislature rammed through has cost Snyder a tremendous amount of support. From Public Policy Polling:

Snyder’s popularity plummets

Just last month when we took a first look at the 2014 landscape we talked about how much Rick Snyder had improved his popularity during his second year in office and how he led a generic Democrat for reelection by 6 points, even as Barack Obama won the state comfortably.

Last week he threw all that out the window.

We now find Snyder as one of the most unpopular Governors in the country. Only 38% of voters approve of him to 56% who disapprove. There are only 2 other sitting Governors we’ve polled on who have a worse net approval rating than Snyder’s -18. He’s dropped a net 28 points from our last poll on him, the weekend before the election, when he was at a +10 spread (47/37).

There’s not much doubt that it’s the right to work law and his embrace of other actions by the Republican legislature that are driving this precipitous drop in Snyder’s popularity. Only 41% of voters in the state support the right to work legislation, while 51% are opposed to it. If voters got to decide the issue directly only 40% of them say they would vote to keep the law enacted, while 49% would vote to overturn it. This comes on the heels of voters overturning Snyder’s signature emergency managers law last month. The simple reality is that Michigan voters like unions- 52% have a favorable opinion of them to only 33% with a negative one.

Snyder trails every Democrat we tested against him in a hypothetical match up. He’s down 49/38 to 2010 opponent Virg Bernero, 47/39 to Congressman Gary Peters, 46/38 to State Senator Gretchen Whitmer, and 44/39 to former Congressman Mark Schauer. The Bernero numbers are what’s most striking there. Snyder defeated Bernero by 18 points in 2010, so Bernero’s 11 point advantage represents a 29 point reversal. The Democrats all lead Snyder despite having very little name recognition- only 44% of voters are familiar with Bernero, 36% with Peters, 28% with Schauer, and 27% with Whitmer.

The Republicans in the legislature are even more unpopular than Snyder after their spate of last minute legislation…

Besides objection to the right to work legislation, many Michigan voters are also upset with the manner in which the legislation was pushed through.

Despite Snyder’s mistake in signing the right to work legislation, he is still far preferable to the other Republican choices who were available in 2010 such as Tea Party supporter Pete Hoekstra. At least Snyder will occasionally veto the most extreme Republican-passed legislation. Besides the right to work legislation which received national attention, the Michigan legislature has also pushed through other far right wing legislation.  After the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Snyder reconsidered a bill passed by the legislature to allow concealed weapons in schools and vetoed it. We know that many more extreme Republicans would have praised the idea with a warped view that having more guns in school would make children safer. While less likely, hopefully he will also veto legislation intended to reduce access to abortions.

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Pete Hoekstra Now Pandering To Birthers

My lunatic former Congressman is at it again. Pete Hoekstra, who has already been pandering to the Tea Party, is now going after the support of the Birthers. The Detroit Free Press reports:

At a tea party gathering in Lapeer earlier this month, U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra said he’d like to create a federal office in Washington that would verify that presidential candidates meet the minimum requirements to hold the office.

“This is not brain surgery. It should be an FBI person, maybe a CIA person,” said Hoekstra, a former Republican congressman from Holland, during the meeting in response to a question from the audience about Obama’s citizenship. “If you want to run for president, you’ve got to go with the proper documentation and get it certified that you meet the qualifications to be the President of the United States.”

Hoekstra also said that the issue became moot when U.S. Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican candidate for president, declined to make it an issue during the campaign.

“I’d love to give you an answer and say I’m going to fight it and beat it and win it. But it wasn’t fought in 2008 and we lost,” he said.

Democrats jumped on the comments as being out of touch and out of the mainstream.

“You can’t get much further outside the mainstream than calling for the creation of a birther office staffed by the CIA and FBI,” said state Democratic Party chairman Mark Brewer. “Our leaders should be focused on creating jobs, not on creating a new federal bureaucracy to comb through birth certificates.”

The Hoekstra campaign said this afternoon that Hoekstra believes that President Obama is a U.S. citizen.

In the past Hoekstra has done things such as claiming (along with Rick Santorum) that WMD was found in Iraq long after even the Bush administration conceded it did not exist, divulge military secrets on Twitter, use scare tactics when there was talk of moving prisoners from Guantanamo, play politics with the attempted terrorist attack on a flight coming into Detroit in 2009, and running a blatantly racist ad during the Superbowl.

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Actress In Hoekstra Ad Apologizes

Lisa Chan, the actress who appeared in Pete Hoekstra’s racist Superbowl ad, has apologized for her role on Facebook:

“I am deeply sorry for any pain that the character I portrayed brought to my communities. As a recent college grad who has spent time working to improve communities and empower those without a voice, this role is not in any way representative of who I am. It was absolutely a mistake on my part and one that, over time, I hope can be forgiven. I feel horrible about my participation and I am determined to resolve my actions.”Lisa Chan

CEO/ President, The Strive
Vice President, Sparxo Inc.

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News Not As Gloomy For Democrats As Media Describes

If this year follows historical trends for an off-year election, the Republicans should pick up at least 25 to 30 house seats. Beyond the usual advantage for the party out of power in such off-year elections, the Democrats have to defend many House seats which have traditionally been in Republican hands. Repeating the victories of the last two election cycles will be difficult in some of these areas without Obama on the ballot and with Bush gone. Despite this, recent news has sometimes been overly pessimistic for the Democrats.

There has been a lot of talk about Democrats retiring, which can be taken both as a sign of pessimism and as another obstacle to holding onto some districts. Chris Cillizzia shows that the situation is not as bad as much of the media has described:

While much of the focus for the last month (or so) has been on Democrats’ retirement problems — set off by a quartet of announcements in swing and Republican-leaning districts over the last month — a broad look at the open seat playing field suggests more parity in terms of the two parties’ opportunities and vulnerabilities than conventional wisdom suggests.

Republicans currently carry 14 open seats while Democrats have 10. Each side has three seats won by the other party’s presidential candidate in 2008; for Democrats, that’s Louisiana’s 3rd district and Tennessee’s 6th and 8th districts while for Republicans it’s Delaware’s at-large seat, Illinois’ 10th district and Pennsylvania’s 6th district…

All told, Republicans are defending nine open seats that McCain either lost or won with less than 60 percent of the vote in 2008 while Democrats are on defense in seven seats lost by Obama or won with less than 60 percent…

What a close examination of the current open seat landscape reveals, however, is that the talk of a doomsday scenario for House Democrats simply hasn’t materialized yet. Are they likely headed to double-digit losses come November? Yes. But, talk of a switch in House control is, at least at this point, premature.

Republican Open Seats (14)
Delaware’s at-large (Obama 62 percent)
California’s 19th (McCain 52 percent)
Florida’s 12th (McCain 50 percent)
Georgia’s 9th (McCain 75 percent)
Illinois’ 10th (Obama 61 percent)
Kansas’ 1st (McCain 69 percent)
Kansas’ 4th (McCain 58 percent)
Michigan’s 2nd (McCain 51 percent)
Missouri’s 7th (McCain 63 percent)
Oklahoma’s 5th (McCain 59 percent)
Pennsylvania’s 6th (Obama 58 percent)
South Carolina’s 1st (McCain 56 percent)
South Carolina’s 3rd (McCain 64 percent)
Tennessee’s 3rd (McCain 62 percent)

Democratic Open Seats (10)
Alabama’s 7th (Obama 74 percent)
Florida’s 17th (Obama 87 percent)
Hawaii’s 1st (Obama 70 percent)
Kansas’ 3rd (Obama 51 percent)
Louisiana’s 3rd (McCain 61 percent)
New Hampshire’s 2nd (Obama 56 percent)
Pennsylvania’s 7th (Obama 56 percent)
Tennessee’s 6th (McCain 62 percent)
Tennessee’s 8th (McCain 56 percent)
Washington’s 3rd (Obama 53 percent)

While I don’t know the specifics in most of these districts, don’t expect a Democrat to win  Pete Hoekstra’s seat in Western Michigan despite the 2008 presidential election results.

Republicans have tried to capitalize on Parker Griffith’s defection, but this means little as he was previously a conservative Democrat who fit in better with the GOP. It appears that things are not even going all that well for Griffith. His staff has walked out on him in protest over his change in party affiliation. Most of his political consultants already dropped him. Steve Benen and David Weigel have also noted how the Republicans are not exactly welcoming him as he faces challenges from the far right.

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Republican Double Standard In Politicizing Terror Attack

Republicans such as Pete Hoekstra have been trying to politicize Barack Obama’s reaction to the attempted bombing over Detroit on Christmas, even resorting to using this in a fund raising letter. One line of attack is that Obama did not respond quickly enough, showing a double standard as Republicans did not complain when George Bush took six days to respond in a comparable situation. Politico reviews the two attempted attacks:

This year’s attack came on Christmas. The attempt eight years ago took place on Dec. 22. Obama was on vacation in Hawaii when the suspect, Omar Abdulmutallab, allegedly used plastic explosives in his try to blow up the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight. Bush was at Camp David when Reid used similar plastic explosives to try to blow up his Paris-to-Miami flight, which diverted to Boston after the incident.

Like the Obama White House, the Bush White House told reporters the president had been briefed on the incident and was following it closely. While the Obama White House issued a background statement through a senior administration official calling the incident an “attempted terrorist attack” on the same day it took place, the early official statements from Bush aides did not make the same explicit statement.

Bush did not address reporters about the Reid episode until December 28, after he had traveled from Camp David to his ranch in Texas.

Democrats do not appear to have criticized Bush over the delay. Many were wary of publicly clashing with the commander in chief, who was getting lofty approval ratings after what appeared to be a successful military campaign in Afghanistan. The media also seemed to have little interest in pressing Bush about the bombing, or the fact that the incident had revealed a previously unknown vulnerability in airplane security — that shoes could be used to hide chemicals or explosive devices.

The article reviewed some of the Republican attacks but also notes that some members of the Bush administration have avoided such criticism:

On CNN’s “Larry King Live” on Monday night, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, who was a White House adviser at the time of Reid’s attempted bombing, brushed aside a question about whether Obama should have waited three days to speak out. “I’m going to leave that to the White House. I think he had Secretary Napolitano out there speaking,” Ridge said.

And over the weekend, former Bush pollster Matthew Dowd was asked if Obama was correct when, like Bush, he held off speaking at the outset. “Yes,” Dowd told Jake Tapper Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “Part of the problem here is that all the facts that you think are true at the beginning turn out not to be true as the days go on.”

Marc Ambinder has explained the wisdom of Obama’s approach:

Here’s the theory: a two-bit mook is sent by Al Qaeda to do a dastardly deed. He winds up neutering himself. Literally.
Authorities respond appropriately; the president (as this president is wont to to) presides over the federal response. His senior aides speak for him, letting reporters know that he’s videoconferencing regularly, that he’s ordering a review of terrorist watch lists, that he’s discoursing with his secretary of Homeland Security.
But an in-person Obama statement isn’t needed; Indeed, a message expressing command, control, outrage and anger might elevate the importance of the deed, would generate panic (because Obama usually DOESN’T talk about the specifics of cases like this, and so him deciding to do so would cue the American people to respond in a way that exacerbates the situation).
Obama of course will say something at some point. Had the terrorist blown up the plane, it’s safe to assume that Obama would no longer be in Hawaii. In either case, the public will need presidential fortification at some point. But Obama is willing to risk the accusation that he is “soft” on terrorism or is hovering above it all, or is just not to be bothered (his “head’s in the sand,” or “golfing comes first”) in order to advance what he believes is the proper collective response to a failed act of terrorism.
Let the authorities do their work. Don’t presume; don’t panic the country; don’t chest-thump, prejudge, interfere, politicize (in an international sense), don’t give Al Qaeda (or whomever) a symbolic victory; resist the urge to open the old playbook and run a familiar play.
In a sense, he is projecting his calm on the American people, just as his advisers are convinced that the Bush administration projected their panic and anger on the self-same public eight years ago.
It’s a tough and novel approach — and not at all (as they say in Britain) party political — because the standard political script would have the president and his attorney general appearing everywhere as soon as possible.
Steve Benen notes that the Republicans prefer not to respond like grown ups:

Republicans didn’t care for that approach, and preferred a collective display of pants-wetting. GOP voices and the media decided the strategy to deny terrorists a p.r. victory wasn’t good enough. This was a time for partisan grandstanding, not mature leadership.

Again, maybe Americans will find the president’s approach compelling. They should. But at this point, it seems pretty obvious that the president acting like a grown-up is going over the political world’s head.

There’s apparently an expectation that the president can — and probably should — exploit incidents for as much political gain as possible. So, for example, when U.S. forces, acting on the president’s orders, successfully took out Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, the ringleader of a Qaeda cell in Kenya and one of the most wanted Islamic militants in Africa, the president should appear before the cameras and explain, “Hey, look at me! I took out one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists!” When U.S. forces, acting on the president’s orders, killed Baitullah Mehsud, the terrorist leader of the Taliban movement Pakistan, Obama should assemble reporters to declare, “Booyah! Who’s da man?”

When the Obama administration took suspected terrorists Najibullah Zazi, Talib Islam, and Hosam Maher Husein Smadi into custody before they could launch their planned attacks, each and every instance requires its own press conference, in which the president can proclaim, “Republicans’ talk is cheap; I’m the one keeping Americans safe.”

The president, by all appearances, finds such shameless politicization of counter-terrorism offensive. And it is. But Republicans are running an aggressive misinformation scheme, and if it’s effective, the White House may need to reconsider whether the public rewards or punishes leaders who act like grown-ups.

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Pete Hoekstra Plays Politics With Detroit Terrorist Attack Despite Having Voted Against TSA Funding For Detection of Explosives

My Congressman is at it again. Pete Hoekstra, also a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor, sent out a fund raising letter in which he uses partisan attacks in response to the attempted bombing in Detroit last week to raise money. (A full copy of the letter is also available here).

I’ve already noted the absurdity of Hoekstra’s attacks considering that the Democrats have a better record in fighting terrorism than the Republicans. In this case, it was the Bush administration which gave the visa to the person who attempted the bombing, and it was the Bush administration which released those who planned the attack from Guantanamo to instead be placed in an art therapy rehab program.

Hoekstra’s argument in the fund raising letter makes even less sense considering that the governor has little to do with fighting terrorism. He also better be careful in distorting the records of Democrats as he does in his letter. Someone might ask him about his vote on June 24 against funding for the TSA, including funding for explosives detection systems and other aviation security measures. In addition to blocking funding for the TSA, a Republican is also responsible for blocking the appointment of a TSA chief.

These acts by Republicans may or may not have contributed to the latest attack, but Republicans such as Pete Hoekstra are in a very weak position to play politics with this as they have been doing. Even one of his Republican opponents, Rick Snyder, has spoken out against Hoekstra for playing politics here:

“It is extremely disappointing that the congressman would us a potentially tragic incident to raise money for his political campaign,” said Snyder spokesman Jake Suski. “In these troubling times, words can’t describe how sad it is to see an attempt to politically capitalize on a failed terrorist attack just three days after it happened.

Perhaps the fact that Hoekstra is trying this, despite such a weak hand, shows how he really lacks any meaningful arguments as to why anyone should vote for him for governor.

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Bush Administration Released Al Qaeda Leaders Who Plotted Detroit Attack To Art Therapy Rehabilitation Program

The knee jerk Republican response to the attempted terrorist attack in Detroit has been to try to play politics as they did after 9/11. ABC News reports that two al Qaeda leaders behind the attack were in US custody and released–by the Bush administration:

Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans.

American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an “art therapy rehabilitation program” and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.

Just imagine the Republican response if Barack Obama or Bill Clinton had released prisoners to enter an “art therapy rehabilitation program.” This sounds almost as silly as an American president sitting and reading a children’s book while the country is under attack.

Ben Smith quotes other arguments from Democrats responding to Republican attempts to place the blame on them:

As Republicans seek to put the blame for the widespread perception of ineptness at the Transportation Security Administration on the Obama administration, Democrats are arguing that Republican legislators bear part of the blame and that they’re politically vulnerable on the subject.

Perhaps the largest impediment to change at the agency: South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint has a hold on the appointment of a TSA chief, over his concern that the new administration could allow security screeners to unionize.

Republicans have cast votes against the key TSA funding measure that the 2010 appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security contained, which included funding for the TSA, including for explosives detection systems and other aviation security measures. In the June 24 vote in the House, leading Republicans including John Boehner, Pete Hoekstra, Mike Pence and Paul Ryan voted against the bill, amid a procedural dispute over the appropriations process, a Democrat points out. A full 108 Republicans voted against the conference version, including Boehner, Hoekstra, Pence, Michelle Bachmann, Marsha Blackburn, Darrell Issa and Joe Wilson.

I note that among the leading Republicans who vote against the TSA funding measure was Pete Hoekstra, who was one of the first Republicans to try to play politics with this.

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Peter Hoekstra Continues To Play Politics With Failed Terrorist Attack

Yesterday I noted how my Congressman, Peter Hoekstra, extended his long track record of playing politics with terrorism by using this week’s attempt to blow up a plane in Detroit for political gain. Hoekstra, who is now a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor in Michigan, continued this again today on (of course) Fox:

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) said Sunday that it is fair to blame the Obama administration for the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight bound for Detroit on Christmas Day.

Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House Select Intelligence Committee said that the administration has not taken the threat of terrorist threats on the U.S. seriously.

Asked by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace if it is fair to blame the Obama administration for the attacks, the Michigan Republican replied “”Yeah, I think it really is.”

Hoekstra said that increased domestic threats have made themselves more evidence this year, with this attack and the Fort Hood shootings, but said that the Obama administration is trying to “downplay” the threat.

“The Obama administration came in and said we’re not going to use the word terrorism anymore, we’re going to call it man made disasters, trying to, I think, downplay the threat from terrorism,” he said. “In reality, it’s getting much more complex.”

So it is Obama’s fault that a  terrorist entered the country on a visa granted under former president George Bush while I have never seen Hoekstra criticize Bush for the multiple errors in judgment which contributed to the success of the 9/11 attack. As I noted in the earlier post:

The Clinton administration left the Bush administration warnings about al Qaeda. The Bush administration not only ignored these warnings but lied about receiving them. Then there was that CIA briefing entitled “Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.” just before the attack which George Bush ignored. As Al Gore discussed in The Assault on Reason, paying attention to this warning should have led to a review of the State Department/INS watch list which already contained the names of many of the 9/11 terrorists. Others could have also been identified before the attack as they were using the same addresses or frequent flier numbers. In 2006 Keith Olbermann also reviewed the many warnings which were ignored.

It is total fiction on Hoekstra’s part to claim either that the Obama administration is not taking terrorism seriously or that “The Obama administration came in and said we’re not going to use the word terrorism anymore.”  Barack Obama has spoken out several times about the need to respond to terrorism including his speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars back in 2007. Steve Benen recently noted that the Obama administration is not only taking action against terrorism, but has had significant successes. A report from ABC News last August quoted National Security Adviser, Gen. Jim Jones who cited other ways in which the Obama administration is having greater success against terrorism than the Bush administration.

Taking such liberties with the truth is hardly new for Hoekstra who has previously made discredited claims of finding WMD in Iraq. He has also tried to play politics with terrorism previously. After having written an op-ed condemning others for divulging military secrets, he himself was found to have divulged secrets on Twitter. He previously resorted to scare tactics which have been criticized by several former national security officials when there was talk of moving prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to a maximum security prison in Michigan.

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Peter Hoekstra Once Again Helps Al Qaeda Spread Terror For His Personal Political Gain

The dumbest thing  you can do in response to a terrorist attack is further the goal of the terrorists by spreading more fear. My Congressman, Pete Hoekstra, couldn’t resist doing this yet again in hopes of obtaining political gain following yesterday’s terror attempt in Detroit.

A Nigerian man claiming ties to al Qaeda attempted to set off an explosion on an international flight arriving in Detroit yesterday. He had a powder and a fluid strapped to his leg which he mixed in an attempt to create an explosion as the plane descended into Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The attempt failed with only a minimal explosion and the man was subdued.

In response to this attack there needs to be an investigation as to why someone who was already on terrorist watch lists not only managed to get aboard the plane but to do so with potentially explosive substances strapped to his leg. We need to find out if he was really acting under orders of al Qaeda and what other plans they might have. This highlights a security problem I have long feared–we are vulnerable to the weakest link in screening anywhere in the world as once someone gets past security at one airport they can travel internationally with far less scrutiny.

This is a time for reasoned evaluation of our security systems, not to attempt to instill further panic for political gain as Hoekstra has. Hoekstra is the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee and is a candidate for the 2010 Republican nomination for Governor. Presumably he thinks that he improves his prospect among Republicans by making cheap political points such as this:

“It’s not surprising,” U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, a Holland Republican, said of the alleged terrorist attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight in Detroit. A Nigerian who authorities said had told them he was ordered by al-Qaida to detonate an explosive was in custody. Reports linked the explosives to Yemen.

“People have got to start connecting the dots here and maybe this is the thing that will connect the dots for the Obama administration,” said Hoekstra.

Such conduct is hardly new from Hoekstra. He has previously made discredited claims of finding WMD in Iraq. After having written an op-ed condemning others for divulging military secrets, he himself was found to have divulged secrets on Twitter. He previously resorted to scare tactics which have been criticized by several former national security officials when there was talk of moving prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to a maximum security prison in Michigan.

Besides commenting before we have much information and unnecessarily spreading fear, Hoekstra’s message makes little sense in trying to blame a Democratic administration. It was the Republican Congress which blocked attempts to fight al Qaeda under Bill Clinton. Other Democrats such as John Kerry were warning about the threat of terrorism well before 9/11.

The Clinton administration even left the Bush administration warnings about al Qaeda. The Bush administration not only ignored these warnings but lied about receiving them. Then there was that CIA briefing entitled “Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.” just before the attack which George Bush ignored. As Al Gore discussed in The Assault on Reason, paying attention to this warning should have led to a review of the State Department/INS watch list which already contained the names of many of the 9/11 terrorists. Others could have also been identified before the attack as they were using the same addresses or frequent flier numbers. In 2006 Keith Olbermann also reviewed the many warnings which were ignored. Barack Obama has spoken out several times about the need to respond to terrorism including his speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars back in 2007.

Playing politics with terrorism has also been commonplace from Republicans. After 9/11 we had a time of national unity when people of both parties were willing to support George Bush in taking reasonable action to respond. Instead the Republicans took advantage of 9/11 both for partisan gain and to push through their pre-9/11 agenda, including attacking Iraq, which has only acted to weaken the country and increase the risk of terrorist attacks.

There are many people in Michigan, including myself, who have family members who will be returning home from vacations on international flights through Detroit.I hope that rather than helping him politically, many more Michigan voters are repulsed by Peter Hoekstra’s irresponsible attempts to spread fear and seek personal political gain at a time when we need a serious review of the problem. Pete Hoekstra has demonstrated yet again that he is not fit to be Governor.

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West Michigan Can Wind Up With Even Worse Than “Crazy Pete”

West Michigan is on the front lines of the culture wars, including the types of areas which banned the Harry Potter books for promoting witchcraft. For years the area has been represented in Congress by Pete Hoekstra (often known as Crazy Pete). Among the low lights of Hoekstra’s career have been discredited claims of finding WMD in Iraq, divulging secrets on Twitter, and resorting to scare tactics which have been criticized by several former national security officials. Hoekstra has become sufficiently crazy to now have potential for to seek higher office as a Republican and he has decided to give up his seat in hopes of becoming governor. If that prospect isn’t scary enough, a Republican who sounds even crazier than Crazy Pete has announced plans to run for his seat.

Jay Riemersma has announced plans to run for Hoekstra’s seat. Riemersma, a former tight end for the University of Michigan and the Buffalo Bills, should have stuck with sports rather than entering politics. He is one Michigan man I will never support. CNN’s Political Ticker summarizes his views:

Since retiring from professional sports, Riemersma has been working for the conservative Family Research Council and coaching high school football. In November 2008, he penned a letter to the editor in the Holland Sentinal entitled “How could Christians vote for Obama?”

In the article, he said that “faith should permeate every aspect of our lives” and said any Christian who chose to support Barack Obama’s presidential bid did so “from a lack of understanding.”

“Too many Christians shroud their God-given light with misguided intentions and uninformed choices,” Riemersma wrote. “Moving forward to the next election, I implore all Christians to base their vote not on a political party or a polished politician, but rather on Biblical principle.”

Former Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr, often considered the Democrat on Bo Schembechler’s staff, will be appearing at receptions for Riemersma in Holland and Grand Haven on Thursday. Apparently Carr is placing loyalty to team above principle.

Some Democrats have felt they have a chance to take Hoekstra’s seat once he steps down, noting that George Bush won 60 percent of the vote in 2004 in this Congressional district but John McCain won just 50.8 percent of the vote in 2008. I fear that Riemersma is just the type who might get out the vote in West Michigan and will likely do better than McCain, especially with Obama not on the ballot.

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