In a partisan campaign of Super Bowl proportions, former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra is the Republican challenging Democratic incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow to represent Michigan in the U.S. Senate. Hoekstra is adamant that his initiatives are a vast improvement over his contender’s. In an interview with The Michigan Daily, he summarized five key items that form the focal point of his candidacy: achieving American energy independence, revising our tax code, privatizing our country’s health care industry, improving our educational system and balancing the budget.

Hoekstra’s goals mark a good starting point, but he failed to sufficiently explain the means by which he plans to achieve them in the Senate. Most troubling were his presumptuous statements about the current quality of the American health care system.

“America’s health care is imperfect, but imperfect as it is, it’s still the best health care system in the world, and I don’t want to put it in a position where it’s controlled by the federal government,” Hoekstra said.

While it’s true America has excellent health care, it’s by no means the “best health care system in the world,” even compared to some of our closest neighbors. Per-capita health care spending in the U.S. is nearly twice that of Canada’s and exceeds any other country in the world. In spite of the high expenditures, however, the World Health Organization ranked U.S. health care 37th worldwide, well below the other industrialized countries and some developing countries.

When asked whether he and his Republican cohorts had earned back their seats in government in the wake of the Bush administration’s missteps, Hoekstra pointed to the current administration as an example of a more recent failure.

This is a striking example of Hoekstra’s tendency to take the path of least resistance, harping on the shortcomings of his opponents rather than emphasizing his own campaign’s strengths. This was even more clearly observed in his widely panned, racially insensitive Super Bowl campaign advertisement, which criticized Debbie “Spenditnow” for her alleged support of moving jobs overseas.

Stabenow’s interview with the Daily focused more on her efforts to strike a compromise between parties. She has made a positive impact with her position as chairwoman on the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. She also underscored her role as a “champion of advanced manufacturing and new technologies,” a supporter of the national auto industry and a chief figure in a $23-billion reduction of wasteful spending in the agricultural industry.

Though her voting record lacks perfect consistency, Stabenow is the most qualified candidate for U.S. Senate not only for her abstention from extreme rhetoric, but also due to the firm precedent she’s set with a 12-year tenure as a senator. Vote Sen. Debbie Stabenow for U.S. Senate.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. John Dingell faces Cynthia Kallgren to continue his record-long service as congressman. Dingell’s 57-year career, the longest in House history, is studded with remarkable contributions, including his crucial role in uncovering numerous cases of political corruption and fraud. During a candidate forum at Weber’s Inn on Oct. 10, Dingell was able to cite numerous examples of political service, while Kallgren’s only managerial experience is derived from her role as a consultant for a company called Creative Memories. Dingell’s record speaks for itself — vote Rep. John Dingell for the U.S. House of Representatives.

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