Former Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra tells Newsmax that President Obama needs to offer “bold initiatives” in his Thursday night speech or he will be “wasting his time.”
The Michigan Republican also blasts Teamster Union President James Hoffa’s recent maligning of the tea party, and says that while the United States is absolutely safer than on Sept. 11, 2001, the nation is “not yet safe” from the threat of another terrorist attack.
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Hoekstra was first elected to the House in 1992, and was the ranking Republican on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He declined to run for re-election in 2010 and mounted an unsuccessful campaign for Michigan governor.
He is currently seeking the GOP nomination to run against Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2012, and says he offers a “clear contrast” to the two-term incumbent.
Hoekstra is also on the board of LIGNET.com, a new Washington-based global intelligence and forecasting website.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Hoekstra was asked if he believes the jobs plan President Obama is set to reveal on Thursday may fix what is ailing the dismal economy.
“If the president lays out on Thursday night what he laid out in Detroit on Labor Day, there’s really no need for him to go to the House of Representatives and address Congress and the American people,” Hoekstra says.
“On Labor Day he delivered a bitter, partisan speech that will not bring Congress or the American people together behind a plan for economic stimulus. The proposals he laid out are really the proposals that failed. It’s time to move on. These things aren’t working.
“If the president doesn’t propose bold initiatives that put job creation in the private sector rather than in government, he may be wasting his time on Thursday night.
“If the president really is going to be positive on Thursday, I would suggest that he makes three statements. If he doesn’t and we don’t get them done in the next 16 months, I’ll start working on them the day I come to the Senate.
“Number one, open up energy exploration in America. Oil drilling. Gas exploration. It will create tens of thousands of jobs in the United States and wean us away from energy supplies from the Middle East.
“The second thing is, get rid of burdensome rules and regulations that are stifling job creation, business development, and business investment. The president continues to complain about the trillions of dollars that businesses are sitting on that could be used for investment. The reason that they’re sitting on it is because we’ve made it difficult if not impossible for them to invest in the United States.
“The third thing is, repeal Obamacare, repeal Dodd-Frank (the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a financial regulatory measure Obama signed into law in July 2010.)
“These two bills have done massive damage to job creation and the economy.
“Obamacare has created a tremendous amount of uncertainty about the cost and the ramifications and how we will deliver healthcare in the future. Dodd-Frank is making lending expensive.
“Those three steps would be a way to start and they wouldn’t cost the American taxpayers a dime.”
Teamster Union President James Hoffa maligned tea party members as “sons of bitches” as he introduced President Obama at a Labor Day rally in Detroit, and the White House has said the president won’t apologize for Hoffa.
Hoekstra says he’s alarmed by such hateful talk.
“This kind of rhetoric has no place in American politics,” he declares.
“The litany of people who are trying to engage the tea party and Republicans in a street fight goes on and on. Let’s not get dragged into the street fight that they want to pull us into.
“We need to be talking about solutions to the problems and the issues that face America. The reason that the president and other individuals are engaged in this rhetoric is they don’t want us talking about the failed policies of this president in regard to jobs, the economy and the deficit.”
With America set to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hoekstra was asked if the nation is safer now than in 2001.
“Absolutely we’re safer,” he responds.
“We’re on offense. That’s a good place to be. The intelligence community is more effective in terms of getting the intelligence that we need to stop potential terrorist attacks.
“So I think yes, we’re safer. But as Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense said, are we safe? No. The terrorists are still planning and trying to put in place the pieces that will enable them to attack America again.
“We need to stay on offense. We need to continue many of the successful policies we’ve had in place over the last nine or ten years. Then we will be safe, but we are still not yet safe.”
Hoekstra says the banning of clergy members from the official 9/11 ceremonies in New York is an example of “political correctness gone amok.”
As for Libya in the post-Moammar Gadhafi era, Hoekstra says: “Once the president decided to go in he very much limited our role, so our influence now with the Transitional Council is minimal.”
Obama should by pushing to get American teams on the ground in Libya to immediately secure the weapons that the former regime had in place, including surface-to-air missiles and weapons of mass destruction materials, and to do everything we can to promote democracy there, Hoekstra says.
“I’m very worried that there are terrorist elements, al-Qaida elements that are part of this Transitional Council and are going to try to hijack this movement toward democracy and install an Islamic state.”
Hoekstra tells Newsmax why he has decided to run for the Senate: “I’m running because much like in 1992 when I first ran for Congress, I’m frustrated with what’s going on in Washington. This needs to change. While I was in Congress I fought the system, and more importantly I beat the system, and I want to do it again.
“What you’re going to see is a clear contrast between Debbie Stabenow and Pete Hoekstra. She votes for stimulus. She votes for Obamacare. She votes for Dodd-Frank. I vote against all those types of things. I vote against no child left behind. I’m in favor of states’ rights, the 10th amendment. She is for Washington. It’s going to be a great study in contrasts.”
If elected, Hoekstra says his priorities will be to start the economy moving again, get government out of the way, and assure that we take care of our national security.
Noting that Michigan has been suffering double-digit unemployment, he adds: “It’s because of the policies of President Obama and Stabenow that America now faces economic stagnation.”
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