Sunday, February 05, 2012


Vile ex-congressman and corporate lobbyist Pete Hoekstra has decided that the way to beat Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow in this year's Michigan Senate race is to run a racist ad on Michigan TV during the Super Bowl broadcast:

The advertisement, which will run in Michigan during the Super Bowl and afterward, features an Asian female with a conical straw hat riding a bike through a rice paddy field.

"Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good [sic]," the actress says, in broken English.

"Thank you Michigan Senator Debbie 'Spend-it-now'. Debbie spend so much American money [sic]," the actress says, without a Chinese accent. "You borrow more and more, from us... we take your jobs. Thank you Debbie 'Spend-it-now.'"

See it below or at (a Hoekstra for Senate page full of scare headlines in faux-Chinese lettering).

Really, what's the difference between that ad and this one?

I'm sorry there isn't a larger Asian-American community in Michigan to raise hell about this -- people of Asian descent make up 2.4% of Michigan's population, which is half the national average, though why any decent person of any ethnic background should fail to be outraged by this, I don't know. Of course, Hoekstra has to win a Republican primary first, so decent people are in short supply in the electorate that will vote on him next.

This ought to be Hoekstra's "macaca moment" -- although George Allen, who had the original macaca moment, nearly won the 2006 Senate election in Virginia and is a strong contender for the seat this year. (Nothing ever permanently disqualifies a Republican.)

One irony: Hoekstra, in the ad, says he wants to be thought of as "Pete Spend-It-Not" -- but he's airing this ad during the TV coverage of the Super Bowl at the exorbitant cost of $150,000, which means he's eating up 10% of his campaign's cash on hand just to run one ad briefly ten months before the election. Way to show your fiscal prudence, Pete.


And yes, this is a shameless attempt to defend the ad:

The Hoekstra campaign called the advertisement "satirical" and explained the broken English in the video as a reflection of China’s increasingly competitive education system.

"You have a Chinese girl speaking English -- I want to hit on the education system, essentially. The fact that a Chinese girl is speaking English is a testament to how they can compete with us, when an American boy of the same age speaking Mandarin is absolutely insane, or unthinkable right now," Hoekstra spokesperson Paul Ciaramitaro told POLITICO. "It exhibits another way in which China is competing with us globally."

Well, 60,000 American students were learning Mandarin in 2007-2008, so it's not "unthinkable," even though that's a very low number. But why am I arguing? That's a transparently phony explanation for what this ad is about. (Though it does suggest that Hoekstra and his spokesperson think teaching a foreign language to students is some sort of educational miracle that only a turbocharged superpower could accomplish -- though they're Americans, so I suppose you can't blame them for feeling that way.)


Danp said...

The more offensive part of this ad is that Hoekstra is posing as pro-US labor, while suggesting that Dem spending policies are the cause of trade imbalance.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Danp.

If your problem with this ad is you want to make yet another liberal let's-change-the-subject accusation of racism (and by now it's just getting to be a joke) then that goes far to illustrate that Democrats will do nothing to help American workers.

Danp is right that free - and "fair"! - trade is killing America.

The problem with this ad is it's breathtaking hypcrisy from the party most enamored of free trade, the conservatives and the Republicans.

But anyone can see why liberals and Democrats never call them on it.

The Democrats and the liberals who support them never stop crying crocodile tears for American labor.

But they totally refuse to abandon the bipartisan consensus on trade that is dragging Americans down like cement overshoes in the East river.

c u n d gulag said...

I'm surprised Pete "Hock a Loogie" didn't say that money is Stanenow and the Democrats "chink" in their armor.

What a horrible human being.

And what was that young woman thinking?
I was an actor, and I would NEVER do an ad that I didn't agree with. I don't care about the money. A role, or part, is different, because there's the context of the play/movie/TV show. But then, again, if I didn't agree with the context, I wouldn't take the part.

It's one think to play the racist Sheriff in "In The Heat Of The Night." Or a racist in a move trying to make a point that racism is bad.
It's another one to a part in a commercial that mocks, or demonizes your race.
But, the world is full of fools and greedy people.

Ten Bears said...

All white dogs look alike to me.

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows the Republicans are poised to be the party of rigorous foreign-language education. It squares so well with everything they believe.

BH said...

There's some sour reassurance in this for me - one more item of evidence that the crackers aren't all bunched up around me in Tx. There seem to be plenty to go around.

A Conservative Teacher said...

The Chinese exchange student in my class said that it is common for many of the lesser educated (for example, a bicycle riding girl in the rice paddies) to speak the way that the girl did in the video.

So it wasn't racist- unless you think that all Chinese people speak perfect English? Do you really think that just because she was Chinese she should speak perfect English, and that if she doesn't, she's somehow not right? That would be racist.

Steve M. said...

Oh, yes, ACT, you're so right -- and I'm sure if this were an ad for a Democrat and a conservative were portrayed as a toothless barefoot rural yokel you'd say exactly the same thing: "Well, aren't some conservatives toothless barefoot rural yokels? Wouldn't it be racist to suggest that all conservatives are urbane and sophisticated?"

Uncle Mike said...

Well, the Chinese students in my Algebra class were horrified at the commercial.

Steve, be careful: as ConTeach reminded us, pointing out racism is the REAL racism nowadays.


Steve M. said...

Oh crap, I always forget that (smacks forehead).

Ten Bears said...

Damn, and I was trying to be racist.

Roger said...

"You have a Chinese girl speaking English -- I want to hit on the education system, essentially...."

It has nothing to do with the fact that the commercial's target viewers don't speak Mandarian and can't read English subtitles, or that the "rice paddy" was the back 40 of some Michigan Militia member's failed farm turned meth lab.