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Tilting at Windmills

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December 26, 2009

PETE HOEKSTRA, SHAMELESS BUFFOON.... Speculation about terrorist plots based on limited information is a fool's game. We know very little about Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab's attempts on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 yesterday, though there are some pretty obvious questions about how he got materials on board, how dangerous they were, and what his associations may be.

Responsible federal officials will wait to get a more detailed picture before popping off in the media, making reckless accusations. Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R) of Michigan, inexplicably the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, has not yet been briefed on yesterday's incident, but that hasn't stopped him from trying to exploit the Abdulmutallab matter to score some cheap partisan points.

"It's not surprising," U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, a Holland Republican, said of the alleged terrorist attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight in Detroit. ... "People have got to start connecting the dots here and maybe this is the thing that will connect the dots for the Obama administration," Hoekstra said.

It's not even clear what that means, exactly, though Hoekstra was apparently offended that an Obama administration official described the incident as an "attempted" terrorist attack when, as far as Hoekstra is concerned, "it was a terrorist attack."

How such a world-class buffoon became the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee remains an open question, though it continues to be something of an embarrassment for the Republican caucus.

There are a couple of angles to this to keep in mind. First, Hoekstra would like people to believe the Obama administration isn't taking the terrorist threat seriously enough. The evidence to the contrary -- a.k.a. "reality" -- is overwhelming.

Second, when it comes to national security issues, Hoekstra has one of the more transparently ridiculous track records of any member of Congress in recent memory. We are, after all, talking about a partisan clown who held a press conference in 2006 to announce, "We have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."

And third, yesterday's pettiness probably has something to do with Hoekstra's gubernatorial campaign -- he needs to impress the GOP base to win his primary, and he likely assumes cheap shots at the president in light of attempted terrorism is the way to get a bump in the polls.

One can hope the opposite will occur. Even Republican primary voters should be disgusted by Hoekstra's shameless hackery on this.

Steve Benen 8:50 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (54)

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Comments

As a resident of MIchigan, I completely agree with your assessment of Pete Hoekstra. I'm not sure if I want him to win the Republican nomination or not. We don't have a strong candidate on the Dem side and we may need to run against an extremist in order to win. However, our economy is in the crapper and Democratic governor Granholm is wrongfully getting a lot of the blame. Even though it wasn't her fault, the Dems may not be able to overcome the voter's desire to lash out at the party in power. It's going to take a lot of work to retain the governor's office.

Posted by: MarvyT on December 26, 2009 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

Let's see, the guy tried to bring down an airliner as it approached Detroit. He failed miserably. The only person hurt was the would be suicide bomber. Sounds like an attempted act of terrorism to me, thank God Abdulmutallab is incompetent.

Hoekstra's a fool.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 26, 2009 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK
it continues to be something of an embarrassment for the Republican caucus.
You can only be embarrassed if you can feel shame. Clearly the modern Republican Party can feel no shame. Ergo, they cannot be embarrassed.

Which is one reason -- perhaps the major reason -- that the American experiment is circling the drain...

Posted by: Bernard Gilroy on December 26, 2009 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

The Dutch and Nigerians need to be worried because it was their airports and their security that were breached. The US can help coordinate, but the last I checked, the Dutch and Nigerians control their own security at their own airports.

Posted by: bakho on December 26, 2009 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

Please remember if we get to drinking and insist that you stay until Easter , we're just joking . If our failure to become embarrassed inconveniences anyone , please make use of the egress .
For heavens sake , the republicans are our last best buttress against the devil Bolsheviks .

Posted by: FRP on December 26, 2009 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

One wonders if Rep. Hoekstra was a member of the 101st Airborne in a former life. He certainly has a long record of jumping to conclusions. . .

Posted by: DAY on December 26, 2009 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

To paraphrase a former president -- "OK, Pete, you've exposed you're an ass. Now go back to the office."

Posted by: Greg Worley on December 26, 2009 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder how one would go about officially changing the name of the "House Intelligence Committee" to the "House 'Intelligence' Committee."

Posted by: tommy on December 26, 2009 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

If Hoekstra wishes to lower the bar on what constitutes a 'terrorist attack', he should be allowed to do so. I get tired of the assertion that there were no terrorist attacks against Americans during the remainder of the Bush administration. If an unsuccessful attempt counts as the real thing, then the 'war on terror' did not prevent new attacks, as conservatives like to point out.

Posted by: Daniel Kim on December 26, 2009 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

An open question? Does the Minority really get to pick whoever the hell they want to be ranking MM on Committees? Must we put up with that?

Posted by: neil b on December 26, 2009 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

"Even Republican primary voters should be disgusted by Hoekstra's shameless hackery on this."

You know - you are talking about people that think Palin would make a good president. Hoekstra is acting "conservativy" or something - and he loves Jesus! What else do you think they want is a candidate?

Posted by: Mark-NC on December 26, 2009 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Southwest Michigan, the same part of the state that gave us Amway, David Broder and Eric Price. But we are grateful for their farcical gubernatorial candidates, like Amway heir Rich DeVos, whose comic campaign ("I want it--give it to me!") so lightened the last electoral cycle. One Shot Pete looks to brighten the next, though I'm afraid that his "I'm a-scared" theeme will not survive the GOP primary.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on December 26, 2009 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

so why are Rep. King and Hoekstra the only folks quoted by name in the AP report. why does AP and other news organization continue to quote these fools despite their demonstrated record of incompetence? just because they're willing to talk doesn't make them quotable, or are journalists just hard-up for filler these days?

Posted by: larrybob on December 26, 2009 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Hoekstra knows, like all Republican politicians, that the key to maintaining power and advancing an unpopular agenda in America is getting fearful, ignorant people to the polls.

Posted by: DelCapslock on December 26, 2009 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Next time someone burns their thighs on an airplane, they get to declare that they perpetrated and act of terrorism. Makes perfect sense.

Posted by: BH on December 26, 2009 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

You're right, just because a Muslim tries to set off explosives on an airplane doesn't mean he's a terrorist or anything! How could Hoekstra engage in such illogical thinking? What a fool!

Posted by: eponymous on December 26, 2009 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

How such a world-class buffoon became the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee remains an open question, though it continues to be something of an embarrassment for the Republican caucus...

Even Republican primary voters should be disgusted by Hoekstra's shameless hackery on this.

HAHAHAHAHA. You are funny. The GOP *lives* for that nonsense!

Posted by: EssJay on December 26, 2009 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Its time to remember once again under who's watch 9/11 happened.

Posted by: Saint Zak on December 26, 2009 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Getting people to welcome fear into their daily routine may blunt the desired effect . I remember when I was scared of being late to work . Once I became a master of timepieces , fear became more manageable . There is a reason that Halloween is only once a year , and it isn't because of any scary dental chocolate lobby .
The fear campaign needs to focus on real horror to reinvigorate its activist roots . I suggest a look at past catastrophes and compare them with things that look remotely similar . Then we can all have a better understanding of what to fear .
For starters how about , Katrina , The Patriot Act , Repeal of Glass-Steagall , DMCA , Iran contra , Watergate , Taft-Hartley Act , Espionage Act of 1917 , Dred Scot

Posted by: FRP on December 26, 2009 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Southwest Michigan, the same part of the state that gave us Amway, David Broder...

What is Broder's connection to Michigan?

Broder (according to Wikipedia) was born, educated and worked as a young reporter in Illinois.

Posted by: EssJay on December 26, 2009 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Gee I don't know, the passenger's did not know all the facts, and as our esteem leader has said, may have acted stupidly. Time for another beer summit. People wake up they want us dead, gone, exterminated, out of the way. Why can you not understand the pure hate they have for us, and life style?

Posted by: Rock on December 26, 2009 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Hoekstra's media kit should have contained great praise for our fellow Americans who thwarted the attempted act of terror! To lay blame at the feet of the Administration for a flight that originated on one continent and then had a stop over on yet another continent before entering our airspace is a bit foolish to say the least.

Pete Hoekstra is an inane fool, politicizing everything that walks! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on December 26, 2009 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

This is not an embarrassment for the Obama administration, it is another example of FAILED POLICIES OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION. The no-fly list is a complete joke. This guy, despite being on law enforcement/intelligence lists, was not on the no-fly list. Secondly, DURING THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION, he was granted an open one-year visa to attend a seminar!

Really? We hand out one-year visas for seminars?

What happened to all this inter-agency coordination that was going to be vastly improved by the Patriot Act (tm)?

DHS has been a failure from the start and should be dismantled.

Posted by: karen marie on December 26, 2009 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Yo, Rock! Like that sensation of piss running down your leg as you cower in fear? There are not enough terrorists to carry out your dread terror of "dead, gone, exterminated, out of the way" unless we surrender. Hell, I would venture to say there are more armed and dangerous gang-bangers in LA than islamist terrorists world-wide. But idiots like you drank the Bush's Kool-Aid and took leave of your senses and are convinced they have all our names in a big book and cross them off, one by one as they kill the infidels. Dumbass.

Posted by: anonymous on December 26, 2009 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Anonymous>>> So glad you made it glaring clear that you need name calling and character assassination to make your point. However in response to your allegations that gang-bangers in L.A. outnumber Islamic Terrorist world wide is so patently false, and or uninformed as to be laughable. Check CIA fact book, or other reputable source and learn the truth. You do not know me and to make assumption about of my character only identifies you as a liberal hack familiar with Alinsky Rules for Radicals. Have a nice day, and hope you enjoyed a Merry Christmas.

Posted by: Rock on December 26, 2009 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

"People wake up they want us dead, gone, exterminated, out of the way. Why can you not understand the pure hate they have for us, and life style?"

Is that why they've invaded the US so many times, or incessantly meddled in our governmental affairs for the past 60 years? Perhaps they're just fed up with us interfering with their lives so we can have access to oil.

And, yes, they hate us for "life style." Rock is clearly every bit as intelligent as he is articulate...

Posted by: jjcomet on December 26, 2009 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

It was an actual, and not merely an attempted, act of terrorism because it caused Hoekstra to soil himself.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on December 26, 2009 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Rock, you'd have more of a point if the stench of stale urine didn't hang about your every post.

Posted by: Butch on December 26, 2009 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

The full comment was:

" The ranking Republican on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee says today's suspected terrorist incident at Detroit Metro Airport could provide further evidence of a Yemen-based branch of al-Qaida intent on an attack on American soil and believes the Obama administration needs to take more aggressive action to combat the threat.

Its not surprising, U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, a Holland Republican, said of the alleged terrorist attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight in Detroit.

A Nigerian who authorities said had told them he was ordered by al-Qaida to detonate an explosive was in custody. Reports linked the explosives to Yemen. People have got to start connecting the dots here and maybe this is the thing that will connect the dots for the Obama administration, said Hoekstra."

I think your editing of the quote changed the meaning. Hopefully folks will find this useful.

Posted by: voice of reason on December 26, 2009 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

[No one here is going to tell you to leave this country for Somalia, which would better suit your outlook, but you don't get to be an "America, fuck yeah!" idiot here on these threads and tell the regulars to get out of 'your' country. --Mod.]

Posted by: Rock on December 26, 2009 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Found this:

http://www.freep.com/article/20091225/NEWS15/91225025/Incident-should-be-a-signal-to-Obama-Hoekstra-says

Seems to be a good (politically neutral) summary for your consideration.

Posted by: voice of reason on December 26, 2009 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for not indulging in any name-calling to make your "point," Rock.

Posted by: mandil on December 26, 2009 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

AP and other news organization continue to quote these fools because of their demonstrated record of incompetence.

Fixed that for ya.

Posted by: Fleas correct the era on December 26, 2009 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

"Republican primary voters should be disgusted by Hoekstra's shameless hackery on this"

Republicans no longer seem capable of shame and disgust at their own members actions. I sure haven't seen any evidence of it lately.

Posted by: Drunk Pundit on December 26, 2009 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

What's really sad is that since 9/11 we have invented an massive agency and spent more than a trillion dollars to thwart:

1. A guy who tried to blow up his shoe.
2. Another guy who tried to detonate a "dirty bomb," except he didn't.
3. A group of guys who were going to assault a military base in New Jersey. Just w/o weapons and planning.
4. A guy who set his lap on fire.

All of this could have been avoided if a few folks had actually read their briefs and listened to their professionals.

Posted by: Winknandanod on December 26, 2009 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

It's important to remember how desperate Republicans are right now in their hopes that Americans won't remember George Bush's first year in office. Because George Bush and his Republican administration fell asleep at the wheel America was attacked.

President Obama and his administration have done a far superior job of protecting us from attacks and so we have gone through his first year without a September 11, 2001 tragedy. It's good for Democrats when Republicans talk about homeland security because it reminds the American people that it was a Republican President and his administration who failed to protect the American people.

Posted by: Duane on December 26, 2009 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Fool's game for sure. Your move.

Posted by: voirdire on December 26, 2009 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Do all conservatives have shitty grammar?

Posted by: Gonads on December 26, 2009 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Hoekstra isn't really wrong to call this a terrorist attack rather than an attempted one. The purpose of terrorism is to create fear. The bomb failed, but the attempt is still creating fear, particularly in Hoekstra. In that sense, the goal was achieved. Fortunately, the incident was less successful because Obama didn't freak out and and increase security to the point where air traffic ground to a halt. Had Obama overreacted, the fear created by even an unsuccessful bombing could have made the busy holiday travel season a nightmare. As a terrorist act, it could still have been very successful. Fortunately for us, Obama seems to have a sense of perspective.

Posted by: fostert on December 26, 2009 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen posts this:

"How such a world-class buffoon became the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee remains an open question, though it continues to be something of an embarrassment for the Republican caucus."


I don't think the Republicans have to worry about Hoekstra being "something of an embarrassment" as long as we have Speaker Pelosi on Meet the Press declaring that natural gas is not a fossil fuel and Majority leader Reid voting no before voting yes on his "landmark health reform bill" on the Senate floor.

Seems like there are plenty of Democrat "world class buffoons" to offset Hoekstra.

Posted by: manapp99 on December 26, 2009 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Its time to remember once again under who's watch 9/11 happened.
Posted by: Saint Zak

Clinton's, right?

It must have been. Bush 'kept us safe,' so it couldn't have been under his watch...

Posted by: VictorLaszlo on December 26, 2009 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

The US embassy gave this man unlimited access to the US on a visa in June 2008, that would be the Bush administration. Why is Peter King now coming on TV to talk about terrorists? Could it be that they are his chosen people after all did he not hold fundraisers for the IRA terrorists that were blowing British civilians and Northern Irish civilians to bits?

Posted by: JS on December 26, 2009 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

"Even Republican primary voters should be disgusted by Hoekstra's shameless hackery on this."

Are you kidding me? The voters in western and rural Michigan will eat it up.

Posted by: bluestatedon on December 26, 2009 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Rep Hoekstra MI D-2 is a jokester of the highest level.
For instance, Standish Max security prison in Michigan, that had been slated for shut down to save state money, was to be recipient of Guantanamo Detainee's, bringing federal funds and jobs to the area and the financially wracked state. Stoking the fear of terror attacks on the local residents as reprisals for the prison at the local "townhall meetings" where the community was supposedly able to voice their views; he brought his own shills from his (not local) district. Of course all the while in the prison are stored some pretty violent and potentially more dangerous individuals. So, no federal prison jobs and money; excellent work. State cuts funding to prison and jobs are lost. A start of a great and pro-economic-recovery governor campaign.
So now we have him latching onto anything that can get him greater notice, even better at the national level, involved foreigners, especially involving a terror plot, and even better if it happened in his home state. What a freaking jackal...

Posted by: presettier on December 26, 2009 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, you libs sure are wee wee'd up. As your president says let's not jump to any conclusions, but I think it's safe to say that it's good that at least one passenger on this flight did jump to a conclusion, and that was that someone was trying to blow up the the plane. And your right, it wasn't a terrorist attack. It was a attempted man cause disaster.

Posted by: grahampink on December 27, 2009 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

Near as I can tell from Benen's character assassination, ahem, assessment of Hoekstra's character, Hoekstra's matches that of the worst Democrats for idiocy.

Let's just call it a draw, OK?

Posted by: wrecktafire on December 27, 2009 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

O'Bama labeled the Niger guy a terrorist almost before his pants were extinguished. Hoekstra's comment was a news cycle late.

Posted by: russ on December 27, 2009 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

"Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R) of Michigan, inexplicably the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee"

The Republic-ists - always oxy-moronic.

Posted by: Marc on December 27, 2009 at 3:45 AM | PERMALINK

This incident ought to be laughed at for the ridiculous fiasco it was. After all, the man tried to blow up a plane, but only succeeded in setting his underwear on fire.

The message, "Al Qaeeda makes a fool of itself" is a useful one in the struggle against Al Qaeda. The message, "Scary terrorist narrowly thwarted" might serve certain domestic political agendas, but is helpful to Al Qaeda.

Posted by: rea on December 27, 2009 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK


Hmmm ... what party does Banery Frank, John Murtha and Charlie Rangel belong to .... oh yes ... the Democrats. THOSE guys are world class idiots.

Posted by: usr102 on December 27, 2009 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Benen is just a terrorist denier. When the congressman talks about connecting the dots, it's people like Benen who he is talking to. We now know it was a terrorist attack, it simply failed. Not because we did anything, but rather the terrorist failed. Benen is in favor of prosecuting our CIA and intelligence professionals. Talk about a buffoon!

Posted by: kcstock on December 27, 2009 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

I guess it's official: after years of Bush, the new president has finally got the US heading in a direction that al Qaeda dislikes.

Posted by: Stan Wright on December 27, 2009 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Noticed that a number of posts not agreeing with the author are being deleted. The great majority of remaining posts seem to be an echo chamber of liberal talking points.

Not sure why an independent would trust this site to be an objective source of news or opinion on important matters.

[apparently you haven't noticed the comments disagreeing with the author that remain in this thread. comments are deleted for abuse, racism, violent language, or thread spamming. if some are missing, that's why -- mod.]

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