Thursday, February 25, 2010
Darn Good Debate
The audience loved it. And rightly so. It had humor, dramatic difference were apparent, both guys demonstrated some passion, and no mud was slung and no hostages taken. In other words it was a darn good debate. Credit Mike Cox and Pete Hoekstra with putting on a good performance in front of a bunch of independent insurance agents over in Grand Rapids the other day. It did not start out to be a mano a mano meeting, but it turned out that way when Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard and Ann Arbor Rick "The Nerd" Snyder both bailed out. So for the first time the media got a peak at the two front-runners in the GOP primary. They both would go after state government employees to squeeze them for more concessions starting with a scheduled 3% negotiated pay raise for unionized workers. Kill it, the A.G. Cox and West Michigan Congressman Hoekstra said. Then Hoekstea added, I'll see your three percent cut and raise it by another 5-7% for a grand total of a ten percent cut in the take home pay of state civil servants. Cox says he's already seeking a 5% rollback for those in his office and he would extend that to everyone else if he was elected. But then the sharp contrasts emerged. The federal bail out for the banks. 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. Race to the Top to help failing school districts. Hoekstra would have vetoed the thing. Cox would have signed it. "Race to the Top. Hell no," Hoekstra delivered the sound bite of the debate bringing instant applause from the audience. He is loathed to let the feds dictate education policy to the state. Cox sees thousands of failing school kids in Detroit and elsewhere and he believes the RTTT is a way to unfail them. Sure he was for local control, but this federal program he likes. The audience actually saw some clear distinctions between the two. That's what good debates do which those gawd awful TV political commercials won't do.