Posted by: mulrickillion | February 8, 2012

Taking the “Grand” out of “Grand Old Party”

Watch Hoekstra’s ad on YouTube here.

Posted by So Well Read, Feb 2, 2012 —

Ah, Republicans . . . sometimes I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Two of today’s eye-rollers:

1. Amid all the manufactured controversy over Clint Eastwood’s ad for Chrysler (does anyone really believe that Karl Rove, the king of gutter politics, is “frankly, offended”?), another political Super Bowl ad has flown under the radar. Peter Hoekstra, the former Republican representative running for the Senate in Michigan, ran an attack ad against Sen. Debbie Stabenow that featured an Asian woman speaking, in broken English, about the American economy. In addition to playing to fears about the evil red Chinese threat, the ad tapped into conservative xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment. The woman says: “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.”

Ugly? Yes. Of course, Hoekstra denied that there was anything offensive about the ad, which the Times reports was produced by the same geniuses who came up with Carly Fiorina’s “demon sheep” spot in 2010. “There’s nothing racist in this ad,” he told the Detroit Free Press.

Racist undertones have defined this year’s campaign, from Newt Gingrich’s branding of Obama as a “food stamp president” to Rick Santorum’s opposition to giving black people “somebody else’s money,” but what’s interesting about the Hoekstra debacle is that some people saw more in the ad than run of the mill China-bashing. James Fallows at The Atlantic has an interesting take that I haven’t seen anywhere else. . . .

2. Given that Hollywood types generally lean left of center, the Republican party has historically had little luck attracting star power to its events. The GOP has to settle for low-wattage celebs like Ted Nugent, Patricia Heaton, and Jon Voight. (To be fair, Adam Sandler did stump for Rudy Giuliani in 2008). The Times reported this weekend that Newt Gingrich was forced to stop using “Eye of the Tiger” at campaign rallies after the band Survivor complained. Michele Bachmann cued up “American Girl” at events until Tom Petty sent a cease-and-desist letter, and Jackson Browne actually sued John McCain in 2008 after “Running on Empty” was used in an ad attacking Obama’s energy proposals. (Mitt Romney just can’t win. After playing a song by the reliably right-wing Toby Keith, a “big-time” donor complained about the vulgarity of the lyrics “hot damn.”). . . .

Taking the “Grand” out of “Grand Old Party” « . . . So Well Read. . .

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See also Pete Hoekstra’s China ad provokes accusations of racism, Raquel Weiner, Washington Post, Feb 6, 2012:

Michigan Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra (R) aired his first campaign ad of the cycle Sunday night, and Asian-American groups are crying foul. . . .

But the broken English and stereotypical music in Hoekstra’s ad have provoked a backlash.

“Really, really dumb,” Republican strategist Mike Murphy said over Twitter. “I mean really.”

The Michigan chapter of Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote, a nonpartisan group, called the ad “very disturbing” in a statement. A member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights called the ad blatantly racist. . . .

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