Good thing for Pete Hoekstra, I guess they allow race-baiting political attack ads during the Super Bowl

    The following ad, paid for by Pete Hoekstra’s Senate campaign, apparently aired during tonight’s Super Bowl.

    Here’s what the Asian woman in the ad said, in case you missed it:

    “Debbie spends so much American money, you borrow more and more, from us. Your economy get very weak, ours get very good. We take your jobs. Thank you Debbie Spenditnow.”

    Really… a woman riding a bicycle though a rice paddy, speaking in pigeon Engrish of her love for Debbie Stabenow? Is that the kind of thing that works with the voters of Michigan? I know the anti-Asian stuff resonates with the men and women of the Tea Party, who are fearful to the point of incontinence, but surely they’re not a majority in this state, are they?

    As for Hoekstra, I think that maybe someone should remind him of what happened to Vincent Chin in Detroit not too long ago?

    And, while we’re on the subject of racist violence at the hands of insecure white males, I suspect it’s not just a coincidence that the young woman portrayed in the ad isn’t wearing a suit, standing in the middle of a thriving city, but in a rice paddy, wearing a conical hat. The imagery is clearly that of Vietnam. This isn’t about the Chinese getting our good, high-skilled, high-paying jobs. This is about tapping into the residual feelings of the Vietnam war. This is about race-baiting pure and simple. And it’s disgusting.

    update: Word is that this ad was the brainchild of Fred Davis, the guy behind Rick Snyder’s “One Tough Nerd” campaign.

    update: There’s a big online component to the campaign. You can see the website, which is every bit as despicable as the television spot, here. I’m also noticing a lot of ad placements around the web, like the one seen to the right, trying to capitalize on the national media coverage.

    update: I didn’t think I’d ever hear myself saying this, but I’m going to make a donation to Stabenow’s campaign. I know that she voted for the Military Commissions Act, and a number of other pieces of legislation that I’m still pissed about, and that I said that I’d never support her, but I can’t sit by and watch while Hoekstra takes her seat in this fashion. I know it’s not likely, but I think it would be great if this backfired on Hoekstra, and Stabenow got million of dollars in contributions, like Planned Parenthood did a few days ago, when it was announced that the right-wing Komen Foundation was withdrawing financial support for their activities… If you want to join me it contributing a few dollars, just click here.

    update: From Politico:

    …While the total flight is $140,000, only about $75,000 is being spent Sunday — and it’s being sprinkled over six Michigan markets, according to a source tracking the spot’s placement.

    It runs during the pre-game show in Grand Rapids and already ran during the morning news in Detroit, so many in those two biggest population hubs are likely not to catch it. It only runs once during the game in four smaller markets.

    The Superbowl hit is followed by a $63,000 cable buy that runs two weeks.

    Hoekstra’s the front-runner in his GOP primary and ended the year with $1.5 million on hand. But he lags Sen. Debbie Stabenow in by $4.4 million — the third largest disparity among the cycle’s most competitive Senate races…

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      39 Comments

      1. Bob
        Posted February 6, 2012 at 12:52 am | Permalink

        I don’t really buy the argument that shitty ads are reason enough to reward Stabenow with my vote. Democrat’s who behave like her are even more distasteful than Republican’s like Hoekstra. I would like to see her out so that a real Dem would be running against Hoekstra, even if it’s next time. If it were Governor or President you sort of have to hold your nose and vote, but I’m not sure about elections at her level. You have to draw the line somewhere, don’t you?

      2. anonymous
        Posted February 6, 2012 at 12:59 am | Permalink

        Clearly this ad doesn’t cross the line, like that gay dating site ad did last year.

        http://money.cnn.com/2010/01/29/news/companies/mancrunch_ad_super_bowl/

      3. dr
        Posted February 6, 2012 at 5:44 am | Permalink

        Hoekstra’s spokesman, explaining that the obvious racism in the ad is really not racist, “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.”

        Me likee the spin.

      4. Glen S.
        Posted February 6, 2012 at 6:18 am | Permalink

        As recently as September, Governor Snyder led a high-profile trade delegation to China in hopes of securing new economic investment in Michigan.

        Snyder has also said repeatedly that he thinks attracting educated, skilled immigrants to Michigan will play a key role in revitalizing our state’s economy.

        If there are still any real journalists around, I would love to see one of them pin Snyder down and ask him point-blank whether he thinks:

        A.) Is Hoekstra’s ad (and website) racist?

        B.) Does Hoekstra’s ad (and website) represent the mainstream of the Michigan Republican Party?

        C.) Do ads like this help, or hurt, Michigan’s reputation as a place that is welcoming of new business investment, and new residents?

      5. Glen S.
        Posted February 6, 2012 at 6:39 am | Permalink

        As a side note — when I see things like this, I always wonder: How do actors who take on such blatantly racist/sexist/offensive roles in TV shows and commercials feel about it?

        I don’t begrudge any young, struggling actor for pursuing paid work, and I realize that most accomplished actors have had played parts they’re perhaps not so proud of … but really, did it never occur to this young woman how much she was being exploited?

      6. Posted February 6, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

        This is bad. Really bad.

        The worst part is, it will work.

        Why do I live in this shit hole?

      7. Thom Elliott
        Posted February 6, 2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        Hey Larson! You just don’t seem concered about chingchong-dingdong takin our JOBS! You know; good jobs like working 17 hours a day putting the tiny componants together of Ipads inside a dark facility that you also live in for pennies on the dollar until you “retire” (to retire in this context means running screaming off a building face first, or your hands lose function from severe nerve damage and you become a begger). I too want to work in a place with cheerful bunting up everywhere reminding me that I cherish my family, or that suicide is bad for productivity. Those Chinese children are takin jobs from our American children, how are they going to develop a good work ethic with all these truely stupid child labor laws?

      8. Edward
        Posted February 6, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        Hoekstra doesn’t have the money that Stabenow has. This is a gamble. They had to go all in, and produce an ad that people would talk about. Snyder did the same thing with his ‘one tough nerd’ spot. The irony here is that Hoekstra would love nothing more than to turn Michigan into a little China, with nearly non-existent environmental and child labor laws. It’s pure Ayn Rand.

        I’m embarrassed to be from Michigan today.

      9. Posted February 6, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        Every day, I increasingly regret ever buying property in this state. What a mistake.

        Otherwise, I’d be making plans to exit as soon as humanly possible.

        Fuck Michigan.

      10. Anonymous Mike
        Posted February 6, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        An interesting point from the Stabenow campaign: “This negative attack couldn’t be more hypocritical. Hoekstra wants to blame others for the nation’s debt, even though he voted for the Wall Street bailout which Debbie opposed, for trillions more in deficit spending, and now works for D.C. insiders at a Washington lobbying firm.”

      11. Meta
        Posted February 6, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        From Politico:

        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.”

        Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0212/72466.html#ixzz1lbsUv7dy

      12. Chairman Meow
        Posted February 6, 2012 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        Off with his fucking head.

      13. Mr. X
        Posted February 6, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        From a friend on Facebook:

        As someone who grew up in Holland, Michigan, and went to school with this guy’s kids, and has friends who are family friends with the Hoekstra’s, this is just… I don’t know. He used to be this mild-mannered harmless guy mostly known for campaigning via bicycle. Ever since he has started running for higher office it keeps getting worse.

      14. Mr. X
        Posted February 6, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        And, what’s worse, I bet the Asian girl in this ad is using one of those Agenda 21 socialist bike lanes.

      15. Mr. X
        Posted February 6, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        From another FB friend:

        I’m going to use this ad shot in California to tell you how much I want to keep jobs local.

        Makes perfect sense to me, ah-yup.

      16. Mr. X
        Posted February 6, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        It looks like some Republicans think that Hoekstra went too far with this “One Tough Racist” ad too. The following comes from the Detroit News:

        GOP consultant Nick De Leeuw flat-out scolded the Holland Republican for the ad.

        “Stabenow has got to go. But shame on Pete Hoekstra for that appalling new advertisement,” De Leeuw wrote on his Facebook page Sunday morning. “Racism and xenophobia aren’t any way to get things done.”

        A media consultant who has advised Democrats also thought it could prove problematic.

        “Some Asian-Americans may be offended by the stereotype that is portrayed in the spot,” said Robert Kolt, who teaches advertising part-time at Michigan State University and had previewed a number of Sunday’s Super Bowl ads. “Pete seems like a nice guy in the ad, but I think he is wasting a lot of money now. … It’s just not Super Bowl-worthy. It’s not cute, it’s not funny and it’s not memorable.”

        Hoekstra campaign spokesman Paul Ciaramitaro said the ad is meant to be satirical. Hoekstra’s Facebook page, which by early evening was getting a barrage of criticism on the ad, snapped back that those “trying to make this an issue of race demonstrates their total ignorance of job creation policies.” On YouTube, the ratings buttons on the ad were disabled after it aired.

        http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120205/POLITICS02/202050349/Hoekstra-Super-Bowl-ad-raises-sensitivity-question?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE

      17. K2
        Posted February 6, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        New research confirms that Republicans are more motivated by fear.

        An expanding body of research suggests that Republicans and Democrats differ on some fundamental level in how they respond to positive and negative stimuli. A new study, published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, adds even more evidence to the theory that these two groups quite literally see the world differently.

        Researchers at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln showed people a series of photos — some endearing, some disgusting — and then measured their physiological and cognitive reactions. Conservatives, in keeping with past literature, reacted more strongly to the negative images, and liberals strongly to the positive ones.

        The photos were plucked from the International Affective Picture System, a database containing hundreds of images that have been rated by a broad audience on dimensions such as how positive or negative, threatening or fearful they appear to people. The researchers presented some of the images to subjects and measured the response of liberals and conservatives using skin conductance, which captures the same physiological reaction you might have when your palms go suddenly sweaty in a stressful situation.

        They then presented subjects — now outfitted with eye-tracking equipment — with collages of four photos, one in each quadrant of a computer screen. The images were shown in positive and negative combinations, for example: a gruesome car accident, puppies, kittens and chocolate cake.

        “I figured because conservatives reacted more strongly to negative things, they’d be more likely to avoid them,” said Mike Dodd, an assistant professor of psychology and the study’s lead author. “That ended up not being the case. They ended up locking onto them quicker and taking more time on them, which makes sense from a policy perspective. Oftentimes they end up confronting things that they think of as threats.”

        In this experiment, the results are all relative. Liberals spent a good amount of time gawking at the car wrecks, too. Our evolution as human beings has programmed all of us to pay heightened attention to threatening or frightening stimuli. But conservatives were drawn to the negative images almost twice as fast as the liberals were. And they fixated there longer, too. This suggests that there exists not only a physiological difference, but also a cognitive one in how political partisans react to such pictures.

        http://www.alternet.org/story/153974/are_conservatives_more_fearful_than_liberals?akid=8219.108790.Ic2mGV&rd=1&t=8

      18. K2
        Posted February 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        But, the ad can’t be racist…..

        Asked about the woman in the ad, Hoekstra said that “her parents are 100 percent Chinese.”

        Next, he’ll say that she was instructed to say the phrases correctly, but that she chose to use broken English.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/06/pete-hoekstra-ad-china-michigan_n_1256912.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

      19. Star Child
        Posted February 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        Is anyone really surprised by this? Look back at the last year….

      20. Star Child
        Posted February 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        Wow, that Hoekstra website is pretty bad…. all it was missing is a white guy dressed like Charlie Chan.

      21. Posted February 6, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        I’m with Star Child. They should have gone for it–had her bow at the camera and say “Fank you verymuch”, show us her foot bindings, maybe even do some Memoirs of a Geisha shit.

        (that’s pure sarcasm, btw…I read this post today after school and then took a nap. I truly thought I had dreamed this whole debacle but I came back and here it is. I think I’m awake, anyway).

      22. Posted February 6, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Geisha’s are Japanese–and they are so yesterday’s enemy. A number of Michigan politicians have run against the Chinese in recent history. Benero most recently. I think Granholm also did a little China bashing —so in that regard it is bi-partisan. But racism as an electoral motivating tool has rich bi-partisan history.

      23. Posted February 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        Wobblie, I know…I was being uber-sarcastic. :) :) (was going to put in a love-you-long-time reference too)

      24. Posted February 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        The worst part is that this actress is obviously American.

      25. Anonymous Mike
        Posted February 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Given her trouble with English, I doubt she’ll work again.

      26. alan2102
        Posted February 7, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        Bob: “I don’t really buy the argument that shitty ads are reason enough to reward Stabenow with my vote. Democrat’s who behave like her are even more distasteful than Republican’s like Hoekstra. I would like to see her out so that a real Dem would be running against Hoekstra, even if it’s next time. If it were Governor or President you sort of have to hold your nose and vote, but I’m not sure about elections at her level. You have to draw the line somewhere, don’t you?”

        Great post, thanks. No, of course it is no reason to reward Stabenow. A real dem? Pleasant dream, but those have not been seen in a generation. Draw the line somewhere? Not if you’re a DP sellout. Heck, they can be Nazis, and you STILL vote for ‘em, so long as they’re in the DP.

      27. kjc
        Posted February 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        “Heck, they can be Nazis, and you STILL vote for ‘em, so long as they’re in the DP.”

        wow that’s bad. (ever wish you’d ended a paragraph before it got really dumb?)

      28. alan2102
        Posted February 7, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        Peter Larson: “Why do I live in this shit hole?” … “Fuck Michigan”

        That’s what capital said, many years ago. “Who cares about this shithole? Too many upity unions, too many benefits to pay, to high-upkeep. Let’s blow this joint!” And so they started to do, though the full process takes a half-century or more. But they did not stop with just Detroit or Michigan; Detroit and Michigan, and other rustbelt cities/states, were the first to go, but the entire West is being abandoned by capital; see:
        http://markmaynard.com/2012/01/whats-really-likely-to-happen-if-the-ypsi-income-tax-doesnt-pass/#comment-373668

        So, if you’re smart and young, and without scruples and sentimental attachments, you’ll blow this joint, same as them — right along WITH them. Follow the money, and make yourself useful to the monied oligarchy. Start teaching yourself Mandarin Chinese, and court the (in your case) public health institutions of China. God knows they’ve got plenty of public health problems yet to solve.

        The legendary investor Jim Rogers said that in the year 1800 the place to be was Britain; in 1900, the U.S.; and in 2000, China. He moved his family there, and his daughters are being tutored in Chinese.

        Alternatively, you could stay here and go down with the rest of us. It does not have to suck, really, were we to exercise our better imaginative and charitable natures, and stop being idiots.

      29. alan2102
        Posted February 7, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

        kjc: If you don’t know by now that many of our “leaders” are the approximate moral equivalent of Nazis, then you’re pretty damned ignorant.

      30. Bob
        Posted February 7, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        alan2102, I can’t even follow your train of thought.

      31. Jackie
        Posted February 7, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        …”takes *her* seat in this fashion”

        Absurd. This is the reason we have such a terrible political climate in this country. Even though you KNOW Stabenow is terrible you’d rather have her stay because she’s a Democrat (if we’re being honest here) and it’s “her” seat, it being Michigan and all, instead of have some turnover for someone who at least has a LESS than 100% chance of being terrible (i.e., uncertainty is on the side of the non-incumbent). By which I mean, even if this tasteless ad definitely shoots for some low-hanging intellectual fruit, if Pete Hoekstra had a 99% chance of being bad for American citizens, it would still be a gamble worth taking versus Stabenow who we know by now is 100% terrible. The fact that most politicians have ZERO fear of losing their seats no matter how they vote or what legislation they support is why America, and specifically, Michigan, has been flung swiftly into the shitter. You may think you’re not adding to the problem because you’re offering criticism, but come ON. Both sides of the aisle are fucking us over equally as hard. The least you can do is put the fear of god into those politicians and replace them every term.

        And for chrissakes, don’t donate to the woman!!! Take that money and spend it locally or pay some college kid to bake you a cake or something that will actually contribute something positive to someone somewhere!

      32. alan2102
        Posted February 7, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        Bob: you’ll have to be more specific if you want a reply.

        Jackie: you’re talking altogether too much sense.

      33. Lynne
        Posted February 8, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        What has Stabenow done that would make her a worse choice than Hoekstra? This ad has convinced me to vote for her that is for sure.

      34. anonymous
        Posted February 8, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        Other people are finally starting to mention Vincent Chin.

        http://reyes-chow.com/2012/02/remembering-vincent-chin-pete-hoekstra-and-being-asian-in-america/

      35. Posted February 8, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

        I bet Hoekstra views Chin’s murder as welcome, hoping that Asians will “self-deport” from Michigan.

      36. Meta
        Posted February 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Hoekstra is now scrubbing the internet of all signs of this ad. The following is from TPM-

        It looks like Pete Hoekstra doesn’t even want supporters to know he once defended his highly controversial Super Bowl ad, let alone paid a fortune to run it.

        Hoekstra, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Michigan, has scrubbed all mention of the ad featuring an actress portraying a Chinese woman speaking in broken English from his campaign Facebook page and YouTube account. Back on Feb 5, when the ad ran during the Michigan broadcast of the Super Bowl, Hoekstra posted it in both places. Then as the controversy kicked up, he used his YouTube account to post clips of him vehemently defending the spot on Fox News.

        Now the ad is gone from his Facebook page (as captured in this screenshot, which shows all entries from Feb. removed) as well as his YouTube account. More interestingly, Hoekstra’s defense of the ad has also been scrubbed from YouTube (as this screenshot shows).

        Hoekstra’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment from TPM Tuesday.
        >/blockquote>
        http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entries/hoekstra-scrubs-sites-of-racially-charged-ads

      37. Meta
        Posted April 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        Hoekstra also thinks it’s a “nuisance” when women ask to make the same amount as their male counterparts.

        http://eclectablog.com/2012/04/pete-hoekstra-to-women-i-dont-want-your-vote-says-lilly-ledbetter-act-shouldnt-be-the-law.html

      38. Meta
        Posted September 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        Hoekstra is trailing by 9% and just launched a pathetic new anti-Stabenow campaign.

        http://eclectablog.com/2012/09/trailing-9-in-polls-hoekstra-launches-yet-another-lame-attack-against-stabenow.html

      39. ODE
        Posted March 17, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        Any chance we might see Pete come out and run for Levin’s seat?

      5 Trackbacks

      1. [...] Lawrence O’Donnell called out the “100% Chinese” actress who appears in that incredibly racist anti-Debbie Stabenow ad of Pete Hoekstra’s that we’ve been discussing. After asking his audience to help identify the actress, [...]

      2. [...] a witch.”Controversial Racist Pete Hoekstra Ad – watch more funny videos Speaking of the offensive Hoekstra ad that set this whole thing in motion, if you haven’t yet, you might want to check out our last thread on the subject. There are [...]

      3. [...] interests could do a better job of picking our senatorsBy Mark | August 20, 2012Our favorite race-baiting senate candidate, Pete Hoekstra, is in the national news again. This time it’s for comments [...]

      4. [...] from his money.How about some animated pop-ups of that Chinese woman in the rice paddy hat from Hoekstra’s last ad campaign? Wouldn’t it be cool if, every time you were half way through an article, she’d jump [...]

      5. [...] and against the likes of “mentally unbalanced” Tea Party-favorite Kerry Bentivolio, the race-baiting Pete Hoekstra, and the global warming denying serial liar Mitt Romney, I haven’t really said [...]

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