The Tea Party Allies’ “Chinese Professor” Ad (Video)

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Though it’s actually been on YouTube since last October, this tea-party-friendly ad by Citizens Against Government Waste, titled “Chinese Professor,” has been quite the cyber-cultural lodestone for a couple of weeks:

First, some observations.

1) Critics have alleged that the ad is racist. Is it? CAGW calls the ad “Chinese Professor.” But hey, I’ll let you judge.

2) More important, the ad’s argument exhibits all the logic of a purple-specked sea urchin trying to explain the relevance of Nash equilibria to international trade-regimes’ behavior with some tin foil, a stick of spearmint gum, and an egg noodle. Let’s think this one out: According to CGAW, Communist China…will take over the United States…after the latter has been weakened irreparably by…its universal health care coverage, stimulus spending, and “government takeovers of private industries.” So we will lose to the commies by being too…commie. Eh?

Somewhere in Tallahassee, Florida, my International Relations Theory 101 professor is having an aneurysm.

Now, to be fair, CAGW has been around a lot longer than the tea partiers—since 1984. And the group seems more interested in helping Big Business than Joe Average, considering how much money it’s raked in from the Tobacco Institute, Philip Morris, RJR Nabisco, ExxonMobil, and Merril Lynch, among others. (All-around fun-guy Republican and perennial presidential candidate Alan Keyes ran CAGW from 1989 to 1991.) And to hear the organization’s president, Tom Schatz, tell it, the ad was supposed to be about the US’s foreign debt, not Chinese people or political economy. “A 60-second ad cannot include all of the information needed to support its premise,” he wrote on CAGW’s blog last week. “The ad presents a possible, but preventable, future for the U.S.” He adds:

The ad is not about China or its economy or its political  system; or any nation other than the United States.  If France held the largest portion of foreign-owned U.S. debt, the ad would be in French…Again, it’s not about China, it’s about Washington’s long-standing failure to take the steps necessary to prevent a national catastrophe.  All of the bloviating and cursing and wishing for our immediate and painful demise won’t change anything; a more productive use of that energy would be to help prevent the “Chinese Professor” from being fact rather than fiction.

Okay, observations again: 

1) France? Really? Another great power that seems to be doing not so badly with universal health care and high taxes and spending? Dude.

2) It’s not about China. But if we don’t act, the Chinese takeover will be fact. Take that to your logic professor!

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate