The year’s most offensive Super Bowl ad—and the competition was stiff—wasn’t seen in most of the country. It was from Michigan GOP Rep. Pete Hoekstra, who’s challenging Debbie Stabenow, an incumbent Democratic senator, in the fall. Or as the ad helpfully calls her, Debbie Spend-it-Now—”it” being “money,” which Hoekstra fears will all end up in the hands of smiling, cunning Chinese women.
In the ad, an apparently well-educated young Chinese woman rides her bike through a rural rice paddie (Heaven knows why), and recounts Stabenow’s support for raising the debt ceiling. Then she says, in perfectly broken English: “Debbie spend 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 spend-it-now.”
Stabenow’s campaign is calling it “nothing more than a hypocritical attempt at a Hollywood-style makeover because the fact is, Pete spends a lot.” But I think it’s fair to say it’s a lot more than just a Hollywood-style makeover; it’s a play to racist Chinese stereotypes—simulatenously backwards, cold and calculating, anti-American, and capable of communicating only in broken English. Big Trouble in Little China was more progressive than this.
Thankfully, our new favorite Tumblr, “Racist Political Ads,” is on the case.