After a campaign marked by scrutiny and criticism, Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra got a painful scorching Thursday when Stephen Colbert dedicated a segment of "The Colbert Report" to criticizing his recent support of a repeal of the 17th Amendment.
Hoekstra, who is running against incumbent Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), said repealing the 17th amendment, which allows individuals to elect senators, would be "positive" and the current system has led to an "erosion of states' rights." Colbert took on Hoekstra and two other GOP senate candidates for their support of the appeal, which would effectively take away the public's right to vote for or against them.
"[They] want to go back to the good old days when senators were appointed by state legislators," he explains in the video, above.
"It's a process the Senate's own website says was marked by deadlocks, intimidation and bribery. In other words, exactly as it is now, minus all that stupid voting. I mean, after all, why should I have to vote for my senator? I already voted for my state senator. He knows what I like. Let him order for me, it makes me feel pampered."
Michigan Democrats circulated the Colbert video after condemning Hoekstra's stance on the 17th Amendment earlier last week. Highlighting Hoekstra's flops in video format has worked well for the Democrats. After Hoekstra released a negative ad during the Super Bowl that was condemned as racially insensitive, the Stabenow campaign launched a fundraising effort that raked in record donations.
Hoekstra doesn't appear to be afraid of Stabenow's attacks, and Friday challenged his opponent to six public debates. A spokesman for Stabenow told the Oakland Press they look forward to a debate.
Hoekstra beat his opponents in the Republican primary earlier this month and will face off against Stabenow in November. In the Colbert segment, the comedian seemed to dissuade his viewers from voting for Hoekstra and his peers.
"These candidates are being refreshingly honest when they say that voters cannot be trusted to choose their senator," he said. "And if we elect them, we'll prove them right."