I’ve received several emails — particularly from folks who checked out my personal blog, benpadnos.com — calling to question my “Libertarianism”. In this post, I’ll give you a little background on my own philosophies, as these drive the positions on PeteHoekstra.com.
I like President Obama. I like his communication style and what he stands for – aspiration, optimism, human potential, the underdog — maybe in a way other generations were inspired by JFK or Barry Goldwater.
I don’t agree with all of his positions.
I do not particularly care for the styles of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. (In fact, I’m happy to see Reid facing a very tough re-election campaign in my neighboring state, Nevada.)
I am not a Democrat — I don’t like Labor Unions. Or the environmentalist fanatics. Or the fact that “trial lawyers” are huge bankrollers of the Democratic Party.
As a matter of fact, I was a Registered Republican until Sarah Palin became the VP nomination. I did not feel she was qualified for the job in a way say, Mitt Romney, was and I thought it showed poor judgment on McCain’s part, particularly as he was 72+ with a history of cancer. Historically, about 1 in 5 VPs have had to step in. (You might like her personally, and agree with many of her positions, but that doesn’t mean she’s prepared to be on call for the role of President of the United States, which is the VP’s job.)
I voted for Bob Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000.
I do think the GWB administration set the country (and world) back decades with its dangerous diplomacy style and lest we forget they spent $1 trillion fighting the wrong country. Are you happy with the escalating situations in Iran, Afghanistan, and North Korea? I’m not. All of those problems emerged on Bush’s watch. Oh, and so did September 11, if we’re keeping score.
So if you think it’s just a coincidence that the state of the world was in far worse shape as Bush was leaving than when he came in, I don’t think you’re being truly honest with yourself.
BUT just because I’m not comfortable with the direction the Republican Party has evolved over the years, it doesn’t make me a “socialist” (or a “Liberal”, or even a Democrat for that matter).
This is what politicians and rabid conservative talk-radio people do to forward their agenda. They go extreme. “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.”
I’m calling out the Republican Party on areas where they deserved to be called out on. For example, did you realize that in the decade that just ended, middle-income households were earning less at the decade’s end, adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999? This is the first decline in income over a decade since World War II.
Last year, Newt Gingrich said “If the Republicans can’t break out of being the right wing party of big government, then I think you would see a third party movement in 2012.”
The fact that there are more people in the US that have a positive feeling about the “Tea Party” movement than the “Republican Party” tells you something.
Ultimately, government has to play a very basic role in our lives. However, I believe in more of an “opt-in” type of situation where because this is the greatest country in the world opening up more opportunities for wealth and freedom than any other nation on the planet, the “have nots” have access to basic human needs, and the “haves” help cover these costs. And I believe that not only is that “nice”, it’s also self-serving for the “haves”.
The “haves” will basically be fine no matter what economic climate. But these same folks will do even better when everyone’s doing OK because there will be more money to go around!
The “have nots” may still need some help during properous times, but they particularly need a hand in tough times like these.
For those who disagree, I urge you to think through your “government is the problem” mentality (as Ronald Reagan is famously known as saying) and consider that there will always be an active government – think about defense, infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.), education, public safety (fire & police departments, etc.), sanitation, and various other areas.
I believe health care falls into this category, too, because if there are solely profit motives for health-care companies, why would they ever want to insure anyone who could lose them money, including women in prime baby-years such as my wife? (As an entrepreneur, I have to buy a personal policy for my family. We had a very difficult time insuring Ellen because she had a very minor pre-existing condition. The State of California has a policy that basically forced Blue Cross to accept her. If not for that, they wouldn’t have taken her, and we’d be a statistic!)
What’s CRITICALLY IMPORTANT, is that we have good people in government positions. People who want to have an open, honest debate about the issues and want to work through issues and problems in a reasonable, collaborative, bi-partisan banner. I want to see people who’ve effectively run a previous organization, preferably a business, because that’s the best way to have fiscal disclipline.
Pete Hoekstra has been in Congress for nearly 18 years – far more than he promised to serve – so we are very clear on his partisan record and polarizing style. And we’ve seen what’s happened with government spending “on his watch”.
And that’s why I started this blog.
Michigan can, and must, do better than Hoekstra for its next Governor.