(NOTE: Updates posted at bottom, including more parodies as they’re posted and more crazy stuff from Pete Hoekstra as he says them).
This ad was shown during the Super Bowl, but only in Michigan, where former Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra is running to unseat Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow. The 30-second spot shows a pretty young Asian woman in what looks like Vietnam, riding a bicycle among rice paddies with a conical hat slung over her back, who stops and says to the camera, “Thank you Michigan senator Debbie Spend It Now,” for contributing to U.S. deficit spending and borrowing more and more money from China.
Yes, the ad shows Southeast Asia (a familiar sight to anyone with even a modicum of familiarity with world history of the past 40 years, and certainly Hoekstra) but it bashes China as a way to get at Stabenow. The woman in the ad never says “China” but it’s clear who the target is, as the woman speaks in her sort-of-broken English, after a gong (that’s not a cliche at all) starts off the spot:
“Debbie spent 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.”
The ad is so chockfull of racially-charged symbolism it’s disgusting as well as unintentionally comical (some Chinese are puzzled because they can see immediately the setting isn’t China).
It’s messed up and offensive on multiple levels, and not just because Hoekstra’s campaign chose to mash together westerner’s scant knowledge of Asia into one image: “Oh, relax, it’s all Oriental, right?” It plays on stereotypes of the “Hot Asian Babe,” Asians’ broken English, sense of superiority over outdated notions of third-world rice farming economies, and fear of China/Japan/Koreans/Viet Cong/the Asian flavor-of-the-year.
It’s also politically very dishonest.