For a guy who brags about being a founding member of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress, it was fascinating to see Pete Hoekstra thumping his chest over adding $2.3 million to the federal debt.
But there he is, in an MLive video from February Progress Michigan unearthed. In the video, Hoekstra is caught preening before the Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce, in full peacock mode over putting pork in a federal highway spending bill ladled with $26.4 million in the kind of earmarks that have since been banned by Congress.
What roads, streets or freeways did those highway funds build or repair? Well, says Hoekstra, that’s the funny part. “We tore down a mall with highway funding,” he snickered, adding: “I don’t know how it’s working for the highway system.”
So a Muskegon developer got $2.3 millioin to tear down an old downtown mall through a giant federal earmark that was supposed to fix our crumbling roads, bridges and highways. That was in the pre-Tea Party world of 2005, but Pork Barrel Pete was still bragging about it in February, 2011. This is the same Pete Hoekstra who, during the default crisis last week, decried “unrestrained spending” by Congress and who claims to sip from the same ideological teacup as Michele Bachmann.
When Hoekstra was bragging last winter to the Muskegon chamber about his spending spree, he was cemented in place as a Washington, DC lobbyist. At the time, hypocrisy probably seemed like pretty safe territory for lobbyist Hoekstra.
But what about now when Hoekstra is kissing Tea Party butt again? Will he be Pork Barrel Pete or Tea Party Pete?
P.S. Playing on both sides of the political fence at the same time isn’t new for Hoekstra. You will recall that during his losing GOP primary campaign for governor in 2010, our hero turned up alongside President Obama with shovel in hand to break ground on a new advanced battery plant near Holland—a plant built, in part, with federal funding that Hoekstra bitterly opposed. Until it was time to mug for the cameras. See the video here.