DETROIT - Racism and far right politics go hand-in-hand. Nothing new from Michigan Senate hopeful and former Congressman Pete Hoekstra, but with his Super Bowl ad, the whole nation got to see it for themselves.
Hoekstra is running against Michigan incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow and his ad criticized Sen. Stabenow's record identifying her as Debbie "Spend-it-now" and himself as "Spend-it-not."
The Hoekstra ad used a Chinese American actor who, speaking broken English while riding a bike with rice paddies in the background, "praises" Sen. Stabenow for her policies that cause the United States to borrow money from her country (implying China), making them rich and the U.S. poor.
After the ad's airing, criticism of it here skyrocketed. In a press conference the next day, Detroit minister 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!"
Another Detroit minister, 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?"
Many here note that when it comes to spending U.S. tax dollars Hoekstra himself has had no problem - as long as the money went to the top 1 percent.
He voted for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, voted to allow CEOs at bailed out banks to receive bonuses at taxpayer expense, and voted against regulation to prevent future bailouts. He has said repealing Wall Street reform would be one of his top priorities.
How does Hoekstra feel about money for the 99 percent? He has recently given support to the "right-to-work" initiative being pushed by Republicans in Michigan - a quick way to lower the state's standard of living without any interference from China or any other country.
Interestingly the Chinese economy has weathered the current economic downturn not because it "spends-it-not" but because it does indeed "spend-it." Huge infrastructure projects such as mass transit have provided jobs and laid the basis for China's future growth.
Even some Republicans said Hoekstra's Super Bowl ad went too far. Not because they had a change of heart on their policies. It's more likely because reaction against the ad was swift and strong.
Photo: Pete Hoekstra Flickr