Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?
The Cox File
By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
Much has been said on this site (frequently on the front page) in strong support of Mike Cox, Michigan's current Attorney General and one of five Republican candidates for Governor. If one of those politically disengaged folks that I talked about in an earlier essay were to view this site, such an individual might conclude that Mr. Cox were the leading candidate on the GOP side of the ballot this primary season. A sound thought, perhaps, but also dead wrong; and a dangerous conclusion in any event.
We here in the Grand Rapids field offices have some "undercover operatives" in Dem-friendly organizations in our area (Central-West Michigan). According to what they're passing on to us, Michigan Democrat Party wants Cox as the GOP nominee. That's because they have a fairly thick dossier of dirt on our current AG . . . and they will use that file to full advantage in the general. In fact, Mike Cox is a potential Republican gubernatorial nominee that Brewer's crew is convinced that they can beat, because there are problems with the man some view as Michigan's answer to Rod Blagojevich that haven't surfaced much on RightMichigan.
Three days ago, an article ran on the M-Live network reporting that a witness had come forward and sworn out an affidavit to the effect that Attorney General Mike Cox had indeed attended Thugmaster K's Manoogian Mansion party in 2002, had in fact received at least one lap dance while there, and may have participated in an alleged coverup.
To be fair, the fact that the only on-the-record "witness" to the allegations is of questionable credibility (to say the very least) makes the basic story seem more like political theatrics than anything else. However, the Michigan Democrat Party is led by practitioners of the "Big Lie" . . . and they are good at it. Moreover, I have a handful of friends and contacts in the law enforcement and corrections network of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties, and many of them have told me very directly that the Manoogian incident is but the tip of a very much larger iceberg when it comes to the dirt that can be laid squarely at Cox's feet - fairly or unfairly. Mark Brewer's propaganda crew is demonstrably not beholden to the truth, and they have every intention of sliming Mike Cox into irrelevance beginning the morning after he wins the gubernatorial primary (should that actually happen).
However, it is not my intention to use this forum to write a hit piece against AG Cox . . . for several reasons. But what I am going to do is clear some of the smoke screen and peel back a few myths that are being told by Cox-friendly organizations about one of his primary opponents. In addition to Mike Cox's campaign staff, several of these organizations and individuals that have endorsed him have put out several misleading attacks (for lack of a better word) against Pete Hoekstra. I think what galls me the most about these attacks is that they range from disingenuousness to factual incorrectness, and even the occasional outright lie.
Several organizations, including Michigan Business United, Americans for Job Security, and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, have cherry-picked Congressman Hoekstra's voting record to paint him as someone who is other than pro-life, pro-gun owner, pro-taxpayer, pro-state sovereignty, pro-business, and even pro-family. So let's look at some of these falsehoods, shall we?
For my warm-up, let's discuss the Michigan Business United ad that accused Hoekstra of missing the vote that rammed ObamaCare down our throats, because he was at a campaign fundraiser. The truth of the matter is that the vote in question was a procedural matter (not the actual rule used to pass Health Care Deform), and that Pete was at a meeting of business leaders (of which he is one) at the Steelcase Headquarters in Grand Rapids.
Procedural votes happen all the time in Congress. If we were to truly hold U.S. Senators and Congressional Representatives to the principle that they should never miss a single vote, then they'd never leave their respective chambers . . . especially with the "leadership" in each of those chambers presently. Blaming a missed procedural vote for the passage of ObamaCare is like blaming Nebraska's Second Congressional District for the results of the 2008 Presidential Election. Parse the minutiae all you want (Nick already has), but even though the national tea party movement slowed down ObamaCare by nine months, the only thing capable of actually derailing BHO's legislative crown jewel would have been a Republican majority in either chamber of the U.S. Congress. Prove me wrong if you can.
Other organizations and individuals have berated Pete's voting record as one that has supported runaway government spending and federal government overreach. Mike Cox, and his supporters, can cherry-pick different bills all they want to in order to come up with "support" for the allegations that Congressman Hoekstra voted for one trillion dollars of new spending, spent American tax dollars bailing out fat-cat Wall Street bankers, and/or co-sponsored the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere." Factually, however, nothing could be further from the truth.
The bill that contained the "Bridge to Nowhere" was actually a bill to authorize the spending of Federal Highway Program funds in Michigan (using Michigan federal tax dollars) to improve Michigan's deteriorating highway infrastructure, and indirectly save thousands of jobs in the process. The entire Michigan congressional delegation voted with Pete in supporting this bill, and Pete (along with several others) voted to rescind the earmark for the "Bridge to Nowhere" . . . a fact that the Cox campaign conveniently overlooked. Additionally, the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association issued a press release requesting that Cox pull these ads, citing that they politicize a vote that the record shows was clearly in Michigan's best interest. (The Cox campaign refused the request.)
During the time-frame in which Mike Cox cites Pete Hoekstra voting for increased federal spending, he conveniently fails to mention that the spending increase was as a result of military action in Afghanistan and Iraq and an increased terrorism threat on American soil - all of which still exist today. Pete voted in support of our troops to provide them with the weapons, equipment, and materiel needed to keep America safe. If Mike believes this to be wasteful spending, then is would seem that he is, by extension, opposed to providing our troops with what they need to successfully complete their mission. (And, as a Marine Corps veteran, Cox should know better.)
By the way, just to quell a rumor that I'm aware is already circulating, Pete voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (aka, the $862 billion "stimulus bill"). Feel free to look that one up.
In the fall of 2008, when America seemed on the verge of financial collapse, business owners across the state were telling Congressman Hoekstra that they could not get credit and would need to lay off workers. After conversing with President Bush, Pete made the tough decision to vote for the emergency economic rescue package in order to prevent further economic damage to Michigan workers and families. Since that time, Pete has been questioned at tea party rallies, meetings, and at town halls about that vote, and he has had the courage to admit that in making a tough call he may also have made a mistake.
Pete is not pleased with the way that this legislation was implemented, but Mike's campaign has chosen to ignore that the organizations representing the hard-working people of Michigan - such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers - supported Hoekstra's efforts to prevent catastrophic job losses in Michigan. Apparently, if one were to logically extend the train of thought presented in the attack ads, then Cox would have turned his back on those same Michigan workers in a time of crisis.
But the attacks that really get under my skin - and I mean really fire me up - are the ones that completely misrepresent key facts about a core element of Pete's economic plan . . . which also happens to be a favorite issue of mine.
Back in June, Americans for Job Security and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce began running ads on behalf of Mike Cox attacking Pete Hoekstra. What was disgusting to me (and a statewide organization of about 50,000 people) was that the ads used a misrepresentation of the Michigan FairTax Proposal as the core of their attack. While the MIFairTax wasn't specifically mentioned in the ads, the clear reference is to the proposal as Pete has been advocating it.
Granted, the MIFairTax does indeed increase the state sales tax, it also eliminates the state income tax and all state business taxes (specifically including the MBT and surcharge), thereby ultimately reducing taxes. For any organization to cite the MFTP as a policy advocating a tax increase is . . . yeah, I'll say it . . . a flat out lie. In fact, it's a lie so obvious that the Hoekstra campaign legal counsel was able to get the television ads pulled from some stations, simply by presenting the verifiable facts. (This was in conjunction with presenting the evidence regarding Pete's signing of the Americans for Tax Reform Pledge.)
Two items of hypocrisy here:
First, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce was one of the organizations that helped draft the Michigan Business Tax, the Granholm Service Tax, and the MBT Surcharge. They, of course, will not mention this, but the MFTA has the paper trail on file. As any good lobbying organization will do, the Michigan Chamber saw to it that the businesses and industries that they represent were minimally impacted by the MBT (and outright exempted from the service tax). But they will have no option to negotiate on the MFTP, and they may fear that ending the trade in tax favors will give them no reason to exist.
Secondly, at an Americans For Prosperity Summit in Clarkston back on May 1st, when Mike Cox was asked for his position on the MIFairTax, he responded, "I believe any consumption tax is obviously a much better way to go." So if this is his opinion, then why does he permit organizations to misrepresent a tax plan that he supports? At no point was Pete's support of the MFTP backing Cox into a corner on tax or economic policy. And nothing - absolutely nothing - compelled Cox or his supporters to misrepresent the FairTax as a tax increase.
I'll admit, in fairness, that Jason and I have had a few conversations about the service tax component of the MIFairTax, and I understand his position on it as the weak point of the plan. But throwing the baby out with the bathwater is never a good idea.
Oh, and while we're at it, let me point out that Pete Hoekstra is also supportive of making Michigan a Right-to-Work state, and believes that will go a long way toward making Michigan more business-attractive. But he is well aware that pushing that issue too hard in a state that has a rich labor union history is likely to devolve into a partisan shouting match in which nothing will get done. So what he'll do is focus on achievable labor reform that will pave the way for RTW.
Mike Cox's campaign and supporters seem to have developed the nasty habit of cherry-picking Pete's history, seeking out the narrowest of discrepancies in order to distort the record, and ignoring the larger factual picture as well as information that would destroy their case. (Let's face it; there's probably a very good reason that Pete gets a "Straight F" rating from just about every liberal-progressive organization in the state and the country.)
Don't get me wrong, Mike Cox is a fine guy, and has a well-deserved solid reputation as Michigan's Attorney General. But I'm less than impressed with his potential as Michigan's next governor, and I'm not the only one.
Cite whatever polling agency you want to, I'm personally a big fan of the Real Clear Politics' RCP Poll Average. And, according to their tracker, four things have been pretty consistently true in the Michigan Republican Governor Primary this year:
The Cox File | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden)
The Cox File | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden)