For most members of Congress or any other campaigning politico, a Web domain bearing the candidate's name is essential.
So when Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) started making unpleasant noises about the attempted bombing of a Christmas day flight into Detroit, it seemed only logical to turn to his Web domain for further information. Only, PeteHoekstra.com was unregistered. It was only a short amount of time before the Congressman's rise as a media antagonist attracted Web-savvy detractors.
Today's PeteHoekstra.com is the proud e-home to a site dedicated to attacking the Congressman, who is in the midst of a planned run for governor of Michigan.
"We are taking Pete Hoekstra to task because we are from Michigan and see him as a glaring example of everything wrong with politics," the anonymous Web activists declare. "He truly is 'dangerous, polarizing, and bad for Michigan.' The state needs the optimism that a fresh perspective brings. And Michigan needs someone who can help all Michiganders, not just 'Red' ones. Ultimately, his divisive style would be worse than where we are today….and things are obviously pretty bad!"
The activists take Hoekstra to task for attempting to raise funds by hyping the foiled attack on Northwest Airlines. Other posts focus on media critical of Hoekstra, or comments made by high-profile individuals taking the Congressman to task.
"Mr. Hoekstra’s staff aren’t the only ones to drop the ball on this whole internet 'thingy,'" explained John Romano, writing for the Yes, But However blog. "Below are the results of cursory research into prominent Democrats who don’t own or use their own domain name."
Henry Waxman – henrywaxman.com is owned by a “squatter”. The homepage is filled with generic ads.
Max Baucus – maxbaucus.com is a “link” site to “all that is Montana.” The website is also filled with ads and not affiliated with Senator Baucus.
Robert Byrd – robertbyrd.com is a one page website with the text “Hi. Welcome to the web page of Robert Byrd, PR guy, recovering journalist and one of seven living native Atlantans. If you’re looking for the distinguished senator from West Virginia, click the link over there on the left.”
Dian(n)e Feinstein – The website dianefeinstein.com (wrong spelling of Dianne) begins with “In my opinion Senator Dianne Feinstein does not believe you have a right to defend yourself against rapists, muggers and criminals.” Diannefeinstein.com is also not owned by Ms. Feinstein and is populated with generic links.
Jim Webb – jimwebb.com is full of ads for things like “Brokers License Exam Prep” and “Luxury Living Near Tahoe.” The site is not owned by Senator Webb. Webb is included because he is a new Senator whose staff should have taken care of this at the outset of his Senatorial campaign.
ABC affiliate station WZZM 13 in Michigan contacted Hoekstra's office for comment. "It's part of what certain campaigns do nowadays," Hoekstra claimed without speculating who might be behind the political attack. "I've got confidence that the voting public will see through that stuff."
"We are not affiliated with any specific organization or opponent, we are not party-line Democrats or Republicans, rather we're concerned Michigan residents who want best for our state. We can, and must, do better than Pete Hoesktra as our next Governor," the site's owners told Huffington Post writer Sam Stein. "The domain PeteHoekstra.com has been available forever. Mind you, Hoekstra first won his seat in November '92 -- before Al Gore even invented the Internet! : ) So he's had plenty of time to reserve this domain."
Hoekstra's campaign Web site is hoekstraforgovernor.com.
This video is from WZZM 13 in Michigan, broadcast Jan. 4, 2010.