Analysts Say Hoekstra and Durant Share Same Ideology; Primary Has Been All About Pandering to Party’s Most Extreme Elements
LANSING – When the polls close this evening, Republicans will have nominated one of the most anti-middle class Senate candidates in Michigan history. Both Pete Hoekstra (who currently works at a D.C. lobbying firm) and Clark Durant (who is drawing his salary from a sham charity he founded) have spent the last year burnishing their far-right ideology by promising to support policies detrimental to Michigan families.
As columnist Kyle Melinn wrote last week, the race between Clark Durant and Pete Hoekstra has been focused more on pandering to the GOP’s most extreme elements rather than mounting a credible challenge to Sen. Debbie Stabenow. Tim Skubick agreed in his column Friday that Hoekstra and Durant are “peas in a pod” who share the same out-of-the-mainstream ideology.
The far-out-of-the-mainstream agenda embraced by both men, and backed up by the out-of-state special interest dollars of Charles and David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity Super PAC, reads like an anti-middle class hit list. Both candidates have repeatedly called for:
- Ending Medicare as we know it and privatizing Social Security,
- Tax plans that will raise taxes on working families while cutting taxes for millionaires,
- The elimination of federal student loans, and
- Continuing tax breaks for corporations that ship American jobs overseas.
In addition to having the support of out-of-state special interests, both Hoekstra and Durant have been endorsed by numerous Tea Party groups and Tea Party leaders.
Hoekstra has touted the support of Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Sharron Angle. Durant has touted the endorsements of the nationally known Tea Party Express and the far right-wing senator from Utah, Tea Party favorite Mike Lee.
More on Hoekstra and Durant’s very dangerous vision for middle-class families in Michigan:
#1: Privatize Medicare and Social Security
Pete Hoekstra has repeatedly supported plans like the Paul Ryan budget that would:
- End Medicare as we know it and let private insurance companies make health care decisions for seniors. [Wall Street Journal, 4/04/11; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 5/16/12]
- Raise the costs of health care for seniors by thousands of dollars. [St. Petersburg Times, 4/22/11]
#2: Cut Taxes for Michigan’s Very Rich; Raise Taxes on Michigan’s Middle Class
Both Pete Hoekstra and Clark Durant have pledged to raise taxes on Michigan’s middle-class families while cutting taxes for millionaires and billionaires.
- Pete Hoekstra supports Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan that would that would raise taxes for the average middle-class family by more than $4,000 a year while cutting taxes for millionaires in half. [The Hill, 2/16/12; Associated Press,10/18/11]
- Hoekstra also supports the so-called “Fair Tax” (i.e., eliminating the income tax altogether and creating a whopping 23 percent national sales tax) that would raise taxes on the bottom 80 percent of taxpayers by an average of $3,200 per year and give the richest 1 percent a $225,000 tax break each year. [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, September 2004]
- Clark Durant supports Sen. Mike Lee’s 25 percent sales tax, even more regressive and more devastating to the middle class than Hoekstra’s 23 percent “Fair Tax.” [Durant website, accessed 8/2/12]
#3: Protect Taxpayer Giveaways to Companies that Outsource Michigan Jobs
- Hoekstra has also voted on numerous occasions to protect tax breaks for companies that outsource. [Vote #324, 5/28/10; Vote #518, 8/10/10; Vote # 120, 5/01/02; Vote #4, 2/1/06; Vote #258, 6/17/04]
#4: Drive the Tea Party Social Agenda against Mainstream Michigan Values
- Pete Hoekstra Against Equal Pay for Equal Work for Women: Pete Hoekstra told a Tea Party crowd in Royal Oak that the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act “shouldn’t be the law” and called Equal Pay for women a “nuisance.” The Ledbetter Act ensures that women have the ability to fight wage discrimination in the workplace. [Grand Rapids News, 4/13/12]
- Pete Hoekstra and Clark Durant Making it Harder for Kids to Attend College: Both Hoekstra and Durant have called for the elimination of the Department of Education, a move that would eliminate Stafford Loans and Pell Grants. Pete Hoekstra even said he’s “tried to kill federalized student loans for eighteen years.”
○ 337,000 Michigan students rely on Pell grants. [Senate Dems, accessed 8/2/12]
○ The Hoekstra/Durant plan to end these programs would be extremely destructive to Michigan’s middle-class families. [Tea Party Rally, 9/3/11; MLive, 7/20/12; Huffington Post, 5/14/12; Detroit News, 6/30/12; National Women’s Law Center, accessed 8/2/12]
- Pete Hoekstra and Clark Durant Fight to Ban Women’s Access to Birth Control: Pete Hoekstra sponsored “personhood” legislation seven times while in Congress. His legislation would outlaw some forms of birth control. In 2012, Durant was endorsed by an organization that fought to deny women access to contraception – he supports their platform. [HR 881, co-sponsored on 2/4/09; HR 618, co-sponsored on 1/22/07; HR 552, co- sponsored on 2/2/05; HR 3069, co-sponsored on 5/5/04; HR 639, co-sponsored on 2/6/97; HR 641, co-sponsored on 2/6/97; HR 1625, co-sponsored on 1/3/96; Washington Post, 10/28/11; Washington Post, 7/25/12]
- Hoekstra proposed creating an Office of the Birther, run by a joint FBI-CIA panel, to verify the president’s citizenship. [Lapeer Tea Party meeting, 5/01/12]
- Hoekstra supported drilling for oil in the Great Lakes. [Detroit Free Press, 5/12/12]
- In 2011, Durant said he believed the wealth gap “should be wider.” [Grand Rapids News, 11/10/11]
- Durant compared the public school system and the fight for school choice to the fight of Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party against slavery. [Detroit Free Press, 12/08/11]