It seemed like such a good idea at the time

13 Feb

I’m sure it did, Pete.

Republican Pete Hoekstra is running for Senate in Michigan. He ran this ad on Superbowl Sunday to make his point about incumbent Debbie Stabenow’s fiscal irresponsibility:

… and I guess to make his own point about xenophobia? (Btw, if you missed Friday’s post, it makes for an interesting prologue to today’s.)

When criticized for the ad’s anti-Asian and anti-Asian-American portrayal, Hoekstra claimed the only “insensitivity” was regarding “the spending philosophy of Stabenow and Democratic President Barack Obama” (


Clearly Hoekstra isn’t alone, with some media wondering, “Is Pete Hoekstra’s ad racist?”  (

Hmm, is it?


And while Hoekstra has some in-party supporters–fellow Republican Glenn Clark called it a “great ad”–I’m pleased to report that a national party consultant chooses instead to describe the ad as “really, really dumb.” I’m also heartened that this hasn’t been identified as “an Asian issue” for Asians and Asian-Americans to address alone.

Among a group of Detroit pastors who have called for the ad to be pulled, Reverend Charles Williams of King Solomon Baptist Church has spoken up, stating, “The Asian woman speaking in this video would be no different than him having a black person speaking in slave dialect.” Williams, whom I believe identifies as African-American, goes on to criticize Hoekstra for knowingly “using the whole politics of fear, and the whole politics of division.”

Even so, Hoekstra has refused to pull the ad. Local, economically linked anti-Asian violence (remember Vincent Chin’s murder in the 80’s?) notwithstanding, his campaign goes on.

Let’s hope the only person his decision hurts is him.

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