Trying To Move Past Xenophobic Ad, Hoekstra Decides To Campaign With Herman Cain

Former Michigan congressman Pete Hoekstra, now campaigning for Senate against Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D), announced a state-wide bus tour yesterday dubbed Patriots For Pete, featuring former presidential candidate Herman Cain, who suspended his campaign after facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment. While Cain’s support is likely intended to rally the Republican base, it could backfire.

Hoekstra, of course, has been in the news recently thanks to a xenophobic campaign ad attacking Stabenow. That ad has been criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike, and the actress who appeared in it has apologized for her role. (The ad and its accompanying website have since been taken down.)

If Hoekstra is trying to move the discussion away from his controversial statements, he probably should have stayed away from a man who had these things to say about minorities during his campaign:

— On whether being gay is a choice: “Well, you show me the science that it’s not and I’ll be persuaded. Right now it’s my opinion against the opinions of others who feel differently.”


— On Americans banning mosques: “Yes. They have a right to do that. That’s not discriminating based upon religion.”

— On an (unconstitutional) loyalty oath for Muslims: “When you interview a person for a job, you look at their work record, you look at their resume, and then you have a one-on-one personal interview. During that personal interview, like in the business world and anywhere else, you are able to get a feeling for how committed that person is to the Constitution.”

— On sharia law and religious freedom: “We have a First Amendment. And I get upset when the Muslims in this country, some of them, try to force their Sharia law onto the rest of us.”

— On his border fence: “It’s going to be 20 feet high. It’s going to have barbed wire on the top. It’s going to be electrified. And there’s going to be a sign on the other side saying, ‘It will kill you — Warning.’”

Hoekstra has his own record to be concerned about, having courted controversy well before the now-infamous ad was released. Seeking support from others who make outlandish statements might not be helpful to his campaign.

Zachary Bernstein