Payne: It's Pete Spend-it-not vs. Debbie I-can-feel-global-warming-when-I-fly

Pete Hoekstra’s chief opponent, Clark Durant, attacked the ex-businessman from Holland as a professional pol who had spent years in Washington, on the campaign trail, and on K Street.

But the public eye has its advantages.

Hoekstra’s time in the Congressional limelight and a near-successful gubernatorial run in 2010 gave him overwhelming name recognition over the Cornerstone Schools’ CEO. Pete won going away, 54-34 percent (with 86 percent of the vote counted in Tuesday’s primary).

Based on Mark Brewer’s extraordinary attacks on Durant in recent days, it looks like Democrats got who they wanted. But with failing poll numbers, a vote for Obama’s Obamacare tax hike, and a vote against the job-creating Keystone Pipeline, Debbie “I Feel Global Warming When I Fly” Stabenow looks vulnerable no matter who is the challenger.

In his acceptance speech, Hoekstra wasted no time in jabbing at Debbie’s soft spot: Barack Obama.

“We can do a whole lot better,” he declared, linking Debbie to Obama’s disastrous “you didn’t build that” speech as well as playing marionette to Obama’s puppeteer in voting against the jobs-creating, gas price-deflating Keystone Pipeline. She’s the “Follower-in-Chief” said Hoekstra in coining a phrase sure to haunt Stabenow.

He also slammed Stabenow for her blind support of the Obamacare mandate, now defined as a tax by the Supreme Court. “The first people they hire is IRA agents, not health care providers,” he said.

As Obama goes, so goes Debbie.

And if Stabenow has Obama, then Hoekstra is determined to show Michigan that he is on board with Governor Snyder. “(Voters) have seen what Governor Snyder has done to deliver results,” added Pete. While trouncing Durant, Hoekstra also thanked him for making his campaign tougher. Indeed, Durant’s bulldog attacks on Durant’s head-scratching Super Bowl ad are sure to have toughened a Hoekstra campaign that lurched out of the starting blocks.

The Senate is a key piece of the Romney strategy to overturn Obamacare, which will not only bankrupt the U.S. Treasury over time, but will set back American health care for generations to come. For three years, Stabenow’s Senate has not only failed to pass a budget to thwart trillion-dollar deficits – but it has acted as a roadblock to every piece of reform legislation out of the Republican House.

Michigan is Ground Zero in the fight to take back the Senate. Pete vs. Debbie is on.


Henry Payne
Henry Payne is the auto critic for The Detroit News. A 25-year newspaper veteran, Payne is also a Pulitzer Prize-nominated cartoonist with United Feature Syndicate, a former columnist and editorial writer for The News, and a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and other publications. His auto reviews appear every Thursday in the Drive section.