Some time around 10am Eastern time on Sunday, Republican US Senate candidate, Pete Hoekstra, posted the following comment on his Facebook wall: “Check out our new ad and like or share if you’re ready to hold Debbie Spend-it-NOW accountable for her reckless spending.” He linked to a YouTube page with the television ad, which ran later in the day on NBC stations across Michigan — it aired in the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo markets in Super Bowl pre-game coverage and during the game in the Traverse City, Flint, Lansing and Marquette media markets, the campaign told Kathy Barks Hoffman of the Associated Press.
The ad is unquestionably racially-insensitive. With stereotypically Asian-sounding music playing in the background, an Asian woman rides a bike through a rice paddy field, looks into the camera and says with a heavy accent, “Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good. … Debbie spend so much American money. … You borrow more and more, from us… we take your jobs. Thank you Debbie ‘Spend-it-now.’”
According to Hoffman, GOP consultant Nick De Leeuw scolded Hoekstra, writing on his Facebook page, ” Stabenow has got to go. But shame on Pete Hoekstra for that appalling new advertisement. Racism and xenophobia aren’t any way to get things done.”
As the day went on and word spread of the controversial ad, Hoekstra supporters and detractors flocked to Facebook to share their thoughts. As the negative comments mounted, I noticed some of them disappearing, including my own comment with a link to our post, “Hoekstra Running Racially-Charged Super Bowl Ad.“
The backlash was gaining steam. They deleted scores and scores of negative comments, which were coming in at a rate of 3 or 4 to every 1 supportive one.
Was fear-mongering Pete Hoeksta, whose ad denounced Stabenow for helping make China stronger, invoking a core tactic of the Chinese government, censorship?
For a long time now, I’ve been saying Pete Hoekstra lacks the judgement to hold serious public office, and I’ve said his partisan, polarizing style is ineffective. His approval of this distasteful Super Bowl ad is more proof of both his poor judgement. And his tone deafness with respect to racial or cultural sensitivities is appalling given Pete’s 18 years of service in the United States House of Representatives.
Today was the icing on the cake.
1) Pete Hoekstra spent a small fortune, $75,000, to run a television commercial trying to convince Michigan voters he’s Pete “Spend it NOT.”
2) The ad was offensive, and one that plays to people’s worst instincts: racism, xenophobia, etc. It ends with nice-guy Pete, smiling as he sits by the fire and says, “I’m Pete Spend-it-NOT Hoekstra, and I approve this message.”
3) As the backlash gained momentum, Hoekstra’s team began censoring negative comments, much like you’d see the Chinese government do.
It’ll be interesting to see if we get an apology out of Hoekstra. I have a suspicion tomorrow will be a very interesting day…