Monday, March 01, 2010

Hoekstra on the Bailout

One of the chief impediments for conservatives considering supporting Congressman Pete Hoekstra for Governor this year is his vote in 2008 for the bank bailout. Hoekstra's conduct was particularly troubling, as he voted against the bill initially.

After the bill lost in the House, it was modified (made worse) and was passed after the executive branch applied more pressure to Congress. (Several members of Congress have stated that Hank Paulsen, then-Treasuy Secretary and former Goldman Sachs CEO threatened that martial law would be declared if the bill didn't pass.)

Hoekstra voted for the bill the second time.

Since then, we have seen that the bailout was used to funnel billions to politically connected firms such as Goldman Sachs and to coerce banks that didn't even want money to accept government control.

So what does Hoekstra say in retrospect? He addressed the question in a recent debate.

Darn Good Debate

But then the sharp contrasts emerged.
The federal bail out for the banks.
Cox would have voted no.
Hoekstra voted yes saying he had no choice because "no one knew what would happen" if we did nothing. "It saved the financial system," argues.
Cox who did not have to vote said the bail out was wrong regardless of what the consequences might have been.
Hoekstra was also asked about the bailout at a recent Tea Party event.

Unfortunately, this video cuts off Hoekstra's answer about a quarter of the way through. The video was produced by Ben Padnos, who has ties to Rick Snyder's campaign.

Jack Hoogendyk summarizes Hoekstra's answer thus:

One of the questions he was asked was whether he regretted his decision to vote for the bailout. His complete answer, paraphrased, was that he could defend it based on what he knew at the time and how essential he felt it was, but that looking back from where we are today and how the money was misused, he regrets it.
Hit and Run, Below-the-Belt Politics

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