Michigan Democratic Party — February 5, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Pete Hoekstra airs offensive, racist ad during Super Bowl XLVI – UPDATED


Who thought THAT was a good idea?

[NOTE: I have posted updates to this ongoing story HERE.]

Twitter Pete” Hoekstra, the man who wasn’t even smart enough to buy his own domain during his run for Governor of Michigan, ran an ad during this year’s Super Bowl that was so blatantly racist and offensive to Asians that even GOP consultants are flinching.

The portrayal of a young Asian woman speaking broken English in a Super Bowl ad being run by U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra against Michigan incumbent Debbie Stabenow is bringing charges of racial insensitivity.

GOP consultant Nick De Leeuw flat-out scolded the Holland Republican for the ad.

“Stabenow has got to go. But shame on Pete Hoekstra for that appalling new advertisement,” De Leeuw wrote on his Facebook page Sunday morning. “Racism and xenophobia aren’t any way to get things done.”

Here’s the ad:

“Thank you, Michigan Senator Debbie Spenditnow. 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 Spenditnow.”

The video is available on Hoekstra’s website www.debbiespenditnow.com, a page festooned with Asian symbols, pots of tea, dragons and paper lanterns.

Understandably, commenting and thumbs up/thumbs down rating have been disabled on the ad’s YouTube page.

Asian-American candidate for Michigan’s 69th state House district Sam Singh, a Democrat, had this official comment on his Facebook page:

As an Asian American working to rebuild Michigan’s fragile economy, I was deeply disappointed in Pete Hoekstra’s Super Bowl ad. Instead of playing to racial stereotypes that divide us, we need leaders that understand Michigan’s role in the global economy. Michigan’s advance manufacturing base is expanding and jobs are coming back. We need to be attracting international investment and talent at the same time as stabilizing trade imbalances. Political ads like this hurt Michigan and don’t move our economy forward. Michigan deserves better.

Asian Pacific Islander American Vote – Michigan released the following statement:

Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote – Michigan is deeply disappointed by Pete Hoekstra’s “Debbie-spend-it-now” campaign ad, which plays on harmful stereotypes of Asians speaking broken English and has stereotypical Chinese music playing in the background. It is very disturbing that Mr. Hoekstra’s campaign chose to use harmful and negative stereotypes that intrinsically encourage anti-Asian sentiment.

From 2000 to 2010, the Asian American community grew at the largest rate (34.9%) of all racial groups and continues to be a major contributor to the economy in Michigan.

No elected official or candidate for office, regardless of political affiliation, should use stereotypical imagery or language. The use of these stereotypes is counter to the progress our country has made over past decades to encourage respect for all communities.

The Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) responded to the ad by creating the website hoekstrahoax.com.

When a politician is trying to tell people he’s the exact opposite of what he really is, that’s an all out hoax–and politician Pete Hoekstra is trying to perpetrate an incredible Hoax on the people of Michigan.

Who is Pete Hoekstra? It’s tough to say. Currently, he’s working at a Washington lobbying firm. Before that, he spent nearly two decades in Washington as a Congressman.

Now Hoekstra says he’s running for US Senate–and says he’s running as a “reformer.” The reality: Hoekstra’s running away from his long record of cozying up to America’s most powerful special interests. Hoekstra supported the Wall Street bailout, and actually voted against putting any limits on the bonuses bailed out executives could pay themselves with taxpayer money. Hoekstra even said that if elected to the Senate, he’ll repeal the Wall Street reforms passed after the financial crisis that hold Wall Street accountable and stop taxpayer bailouts. No wonder- Hoekstra is also on the board of directors at a bank, and his lobbying firm represents all sorts of loaded special interests.

Now, Hoekstra is shamelessly trying to tell you he’s a reformer. But, in reality, that’s the Hoekstra Hoax, and here at HoekstraHoax.com, you can check the facts yourself. Because no matter how Pete “Hoax-tra” tries to cover up the facts, his real record is all right HERE.

A Google search during the Superbowl showed a link to the MDP site as the top search result, a paid ad by MDP.

On his Facebook page, Hoekstra said, “Democrats trying to make this an issue of race demonstrates their total ignorance of job creation policies.”

Actually, I would say Democrats making an issue of this are showing they have far more class than Pete Hoekstra could ever hope to have. Hoekstra’s spokesperson is calling the ad satirical. This means they are satirizing an entire race of people. and they are so self-unaware that they don’t even recognize how offensive that is.

Nice Job, Pete. While the auto companies are running pro-Michigan/pro-Detroit ads to help Michigan’s image around the country, you’re running an offensive, xenophobic, racist ad that gives our state a black eye.

For shame.

By the way, Pete, this is how it should be done:

If you’d like to join me in making a contribution to Senator Debbie Stabenow’s Senate reelection campaign, you can do so at www.stabenowforsenate.com/fightback.


Michigan-based civil rights leader Reverend Charles Williams II is holding a press conference tomorrow, demanding an apology from Pete Hoekstra:

Civil Rights leader Rev. Charles Williams II, calls for immediate apology from Pete Hoekstra to Asian Community for racist ad making fun of Asians.

What: Press Conference

King Solomon Baptist Church
Rhema International Church
Greater Mt. Tabor Baptist Church
National Action Network Michigan
National Council for Community Empowerment

When: Monday, February 6th [email protected], 10:30a.m.

Where: 6100 14th Street Detroit, MI

Detroit- 2/6/12 – Republican candidate for U.S Senate Pete Hoekstra endorsed and appeared in a new campaign commercial launched during the Super Bowl last night. The add featured a young woman speaking in broken English in Asian accent. Eclectablog featured the video on www.eclectablog.com.

GOP consultant Nick De Leeuw said:

“Stabenow has got to go. But shame on Pete Hoekstra for that appalling new advertisement,” De Leeuw wrote on his Facebook page Sunday morning. “Racism and xenophobia aren’t any way to get things done.”

Rev. Charles Williams II said: “If Pete Hoekstra does not see any wrong in this commercial, he doesn’t deserve to be in the race. The Asian woman speaking in this video would be no different than him having a black person speaking in slave dialect. He needs to apologize now!”

Rev. Maurice L. Rudds said, “The politics of racial division is alive and well in hoekstra’s campaign. What’s next? A commercial mocking African American hip hoppers.”

The coalition of leaders are calling on a formal apology from Pete Hoekstra and urge him to pull down the add immediately.

Rev. Charles Williams is the pastor of the Historic King Solomon Baptist church, and state director of Rev. Al Sharptons National Action Network. Rev. Maurice L. Rudds is the pastor of Greater Mt. Tabor Baptist church, and president of National Council for Community Empowerment, Michigan Chapter.

For more information contact 313-303-8002

  • majii

    Hoekstra can take those likes on his FB page and stuff them where the sun doesn’t shine on his anatomy.  I disliked him when he was a member of Congress the first time, still don’t like him, and can’t see how anyone would think he’d be a good senator for MI or any state.  He’s a typical far right pol–lies and hypocrisy are the star characters in his bid for political office.

  • Guest

    I’m getting persecuted because of something I said about the Chinese.
    Now I know what Tiananmen Square protesters felt like.

  • cryingliberty

    This ad is so blatantly offensive I’m surprised that anyone with any sense let it run. However, at the same time, his First Amendment rights give him the license to say what he wishes.

    At the same time, it also gives us license to verbally roast him like a Thanksgiving turkey. And he deserves it for putting out something as outlandishly offensive as this.

    One has to think – did ANYONE involved with this ad at ANY POINT think that maybe, just maybe, they were making something not only incredibly offensive, but tasteless, tactless, and utterly disgusting?

    Maybe, just maybe, a challenger in Hoekstra’s district can use this incredibly stupid move to oust him – he needed to be gone a long, LONG time ago.

    • aielman

      What’s offensive about it?

      So she is speaking in broken English. She’s supposed to be in China and thanking the US for boosting her economy. You expect her to speak perfect English? I’ve been to China. Got some news for you…they don’t speak perfect English…even in Hong Kong, let alone on the mainland.

      Ok…I’ll buy it’s a cheap shot ad…and you can argue that the content isn’t true. But what makes it offensive? What is in any way racist about it?

      Hypersensitive Political Correctness is offensive. This ad is just dumb.

      • DrStrangelove

        How about the fact that it’s fear-mongering and xenophobic, and creating a negative stereotype full of caricatures of Asian people? This is an American girl speaking unaccented English with a few words thrown out to make it seem broken. Also, it starts with a gong. A GONG.

        Why is the ad depicting a poor peasant woman in rice paddies who’s supposedly stealing all those jobs? It’s somebody’s stereotype of Asian people. Why is she gloating over the economic decline of the US? This is purely meant to demonize an entire group.

        Guess what? The people in China who work those jobs just want to make a living, just like you. Big corporations send those jobs overseas because it’s cheaper. The Chinese government does very little to enforce regulations for wages and working conditions for many of these workers.Ok, this is like having to explain a joke. Not worth it. If you don’t get why it’s offensive, I don’t know what to say. As an Asian-American, I was very offended by this ad. And I’m not that sensitive a guy! Just ask my wife.And quit your whining about PC this and that. I’m sick and tired of people playing the PC card as cover for blatant racism.

  • aielman

    On the other hand…the Clint Eastwood ad was brilliant. Doesn’t address the issues of union pension destruction perpetuated by all of the big 3, but it sure made you feel good about being an American.

  • bitterenvy

    Hoekstra is just one more out-of-touch politician. He has the nerve to call Dems ignorant of job creation policies yet where did this bozo go to get his ad made? NOT Michigan. Just like Tricky Snyder whose first JOB-hire upon his election was an out-of-stater, Hoekstra takes the ad JOB out of state. 

    They can say what they want about Debbie Stabenow but she is very clearly FOR Michigan and its people. Can’t say the same about GiveThisJobToCaliforniaHoekstra or HireTheGuyFromUtahSnyder.


    Take a page from the President. If you can’t use facts to deny an ad against you, scream racism.

  • The racial offense is further compounded by the insult to Michigan schools in Politico from one of Hoekstra’s campaign staff:
    “You have a Chinese girl speaking English – I want to hit on the education system, essentially. The fact that a Chinese girl is speaking English is a testament to how they can compete with us, when an American boy of the same age speaking Mandarin is absolutely insane, or unthinkable right now,” Hoekstra spokesperson Paul Ciaramitaro told POLITICO. “It exhibits another way in which China is competing with us globally.”

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0212/72466.html#ixzz1lclKNHKoThe district I retired from has been teaching Mandarin starting at preschool for over six years.  Those kids are more fluent in Mandarin in elementary school than the girl who appeared from her accent to be fluent in English, but “faking” poor grammer.

  • For personal responsibility

    I don’t see anything racist about it.  I see a PC issue, but I don’t believe that the PC police reflect the majority view.  Conyers, Debbie & Levin are all cut from the same cloth.  The you people are too dumb so I will decide for you fabric…………   Maybe they do know their constituents????

  • Ben

    Are you at all surprised this Republican (or any others) are bvlatant racists. They act like racism is just part of growing up on America. Maybe he was with Perry on that hunting trip at ..I won;t even say it. If you are not a rich white guy you have no business being a Republican

  • ChrisE84

    When China buys US debt, money goes to the US, not the other way. If the money is spent to repair the economy and to create jobs, it should be an issue when China has to be repaid. And don’t forget that the much larger share of debt is held by investors in the US.

    If the Republicans can point to any policies, that send jobs to China, they should do so. But they know that if they point to safe work environments and wages, they get in trouble with the voter. Their problem is that every solution to the problem they like are not be easy to sell to independents.

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