Lies, damn lies. Take your pick.
The racist ad by Senatorial candidate Pete Hoekstra was not just racist. It is based on a complete lie.
Here’s what is said in his ad by a woman who is clearly faking her Asian accent in what Hoekstra is calling “satire”:
“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.”
Here’s the thing: WE DO NOT BORROW “MORE AND MORE” FROM CHINA. Period. That, my friends, is a lie. It’s a race-baiting, fear-mongering lie.
When Hoekstra’s point collides with fact, he calls in the help of a large font: he describes China as “the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury securities”—which is true—but then describes China’s holdings as increasing from 9.6 per cent in 2002 to twenty-six per cent in 2010. A voter might blanch at the idea of a foreign country holding over a quarter of U.S. Treasury debt, except that it’s not true. The twenty-six per cent is China’s holdings among foreign holders, not overall debt, and “the overall share of treasury [debt] held by foreign entities declined in the past couple of years,” Shih told me. (“One thing that Americans have to realize is that China may be a net lender internationally, but the Chinese government and state-owned enterprises borrow a huge amount of money domestically,” Shih added. “The racist caricature of those thrifty Chinese who take advantage of debt-loving Americans is widely off the mark because China is one of the most indebted countries in the world.”)
Get that? Let’s repeat it together:
The overall share of treasury debt held by foreign entities declined in the past couple of years.
In other words, for your very slow, Hoekstra-misled, Limbaugh-addled friends who think otherwise, under the guidance of President Obama, we are now borrowing LESS from China (and from foreign countries, in general, in fact) than we did under his predecessor, George W. Bush.
One other thing: Under the Obama administration, our relationship with China is decidedly improved.
From James Fallows’ recent article “Obama Explained” in the The Atlantic, he highlights one of President Obama’s major achievements as “putting U.S. relations with China on a better footing than in many years, a task that has to be among the very most important for any president of the early 21st century.”
As Obama began his term, official China was growing smug and prideful. The triumphant Beijing Olympics were just behind it; the American financial collapse symbolized the decline of a superpower and the world’s reliance on its new paymasters, the Chinese. [...]
even as Obama was politely listening to lectures about China’s new superiority, members of his administration were executing an elaborate pincer movement to reestablish American influence, real and perceived, among the growing economies of Asia. In practically every formal statement by U.S. officials, from President Obama to Secretaries Clinton, Geithner, and Gates, U.S. representatives hammered home a single message. The message was that America welcomed rather than feared China’s continued rise. This was directed at a widespread Chinese suspicion: that America would try to thwart China’s continued development because it viewed any increase in Chinese influence as a flat-out loss for the United States. [...]
Two years after Obama’s “humiliating” visit to Shanghai and Beijing, U.S. relations with China were a mix of cooperation and tension, as they had been through the post-Nixon years. But American relations with most other nations in the region were better than since before the Iraq War. In a visit to Australia late in 2011, Obama startled the Chinese leadership but won compliments elsewhere with the announcement of a new permanent U.S. Marine presence in Darwin, on Australia’s northern coast.
The strategy was Sun Tzu–like in its patient pursuit of an objective: reestablishing American hard and soft power while presenting a smiling “We welcome your rise!” face to the Chinese. “It was as decisive a diplomatic victory as anyone is likely to see,” Walter Russell Mead, of Bard College, often a critic of the administration, wrote about the announcement of the Australian base. “In the field of foreign policy, this was a coming of age of the Obama administration and it was conceived and executed about as flawlessly as these things ever can be.”
Meanwhile, on Pete Hoekstra’s odious website, if you dig into the html code, the woman in the ad is identified as “yellowgirl”.
The contrast in class and credibility is striking.