President Obama appeared briefly in Holland, Michigan today for the groundbreaking ceremony for a new factory built by LG Chen, a Korean manufacturer. The factory will build batteries for GM's Volt. The $351 million plant is receiving $150 million from the stimulus bill passed last year. While giving his talk, President Obama diverted from his prepared text to say, "Some made the political calculation that it's better to obstruct than lend a hand. They said no to the tax cuts, they said no to small business loans, they said no to clean energy projects. It doesn't stop them from coming to ribbon cuttings -- but that's OK. " Obama had earlier acknowledged the presence of Pete Hoekstra, representative to Congress from the district that includes Holland.
Hoekstra's response was, "It demeans the office of the president. It's disappointing. It is unpresidential....This is my home district. These people are paying the taxes that he's handing out today. I'm here to respect the office of the president, and I don't think he reciprocated."
I agree that it was unpresidential. In a news report from a local tv station, Hoekstra referred to another small business owner who was expanding and hiring more people without government funding. Why isn't that owner getting any coverage.
In previous posts, I have commented on the fact that much of the stimulus was not actually stimulus spending. The Holland plant is an example. Yes, it will create jobs in an area that has unusually high unemployment. But, the batteries used in Volts are instead of other devices used in cars that are not battery operatred or hybrid. The reduced demand for those devices mean that some people are not working that would have been working but for the government grant to LG Chen.
In the past, I have often disagreed with President Obam but tended to respect him and wish hime well. The pettiness he showed today may make me reconsider.