Political Animal


February 07, 2012 9:38 AM Pete Winitnot

By Ed Kilgore

In other news involving ethnically insensitive Republicans named Pete, former congressman Peter Hoekstra, who’s running for the U.S. Senate, is getting some serious heat for the Super Bowl ad his campaign ran in Michigan media markets.

I thought about embedding the ad here, but didn’t have enough hand sanitizer. It’s offensive not only to Asian-Americans, but to basic good taste.

It’s not clear exactly which hammer-headed media consultant first came up with the idea of associating political opponents with cheerful furriners thanking them for their treachery, but he or she is probably going to hell. Hoeckstra’s “Thank you, Debbie Spenditnow” spot ranks right down there with Jim Bunning’s infamous “Muchas gracias, Senor Baesler” ad in the hall of shame; indeed, it was probably inspired by it.

Michigan voters now have a special responsibility to reward Hoekstra—who calls himself Pete Spenditnot in the ad—for his contribution to the tone of American politics by making him Pete Winitnot. He should have a fine retirement career back home telling racist jokes down at the barbershop.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on February 07, 2012 9:53 AM:

    Hoesktra's defense would have some validity if the ad had been filmed in China with a Chinese actor. As i understand it the woman in the ad is Chinese-American. You can certainly tell -- that is not the way any Chinese student with intermediate English skills speaks in my experience.

  • c u n d gulag on February 07, 2012 9:54 AM:

    Pete "Hock A Loogdie," apparently doesn't think that his overt racism will create a 'chink' in his armor that Democrats will use to their advantage.

    Look, Conservatives, just cut loose!
    Stop pussy-footing around.
    No more dog-whistles.
    Go, ahead, scream it!

    You know you want to.
    Go ahead - you'll feel better.

  • Danp on February 07, 2012 10:00 AM:

    OK. The ad is offensive. But what I want to know is how Hoekstra connects Stabenow with trade imbalance. The Chinese aren't creating jobs because of our borrowing. They're creating jobs because of our trade treaties, their currency manipulation, and a cheap unprotected workforce.

    What strikes me is the combination of this ad and the anti-union ad. Are American workers actually supposed to envy the girl in the rice paddy. "I didn't vote for union wages."

  • DAY on February 07, 2012 10:03 AM:

    There seem to be a few (?) Republicans who do not realize that America no longer exclusively consists of White Male Voters.

  • Steve on February 07, 2012 10:09 AM:

    Somehow, Debbie Stabenow is pumping U.S. dollars into the Chinese economy by borrowing money from China. Figure that one out.

  • The New York Crank on February 07, 2012 10:14 AM:

    The Hoaxster's desperation is showing, waving from under his racist skirts.

    I'm not sure what that sentence asslide feveralmeans, but I like the sound of it.

    Yours crankily,
    The New York Crank

  • martin on February 07, 2012 10:15 AM:

    At least he didn't (yet) call her Debbie Stabinback.

  • c u n d gulag on February 07, 2012 10:16 AM:

    Hock-A-Loogie was one of the people who voted for every free-trade agreement that came in front of him.

    This boy's didn't just help American corporations outsource jobs with their hands - he gave them f*cking shovels.

  • The New York Crank on February 07, 2012 10:16 AM:

    Somehow, the code words I had to type in to post the note above ended up in the middle of the second sentence. (Don't ask!)

    Even more crankily,
    The New York Crank

  • ShadeTail on February 07, 2012 10:24 AM:

    Yes yes yes, the racism is obvious. What do you expect from a Republican? People really need to start pointing out the *hypocrisy* of this ad instead. Mr. Pete is *in favor* of out-sourcing jobs, slashing regulations, pouring more money on the Pentagon, pouring more tax cuts on the ultra-wealthy, and putting it all on the deficit. So who's really the irresponsible big spender?

  • James on February 07, 2012 10:28 AM:

    First, the guy who did the ad was the same guy who did the creepy Sheeps ad for (was it Meg Whitman or Carly Fiorina? forget -- they were both losers) and also the "I am not a witch" ad for Christine ODonnell. The guy happens to be Hoekstra's nephew. All this on Huffpost, I think.

    Secondly, a gop media analyst thinks that the ad will go over well -- that unemployed white guys up there really feel that way about the "chinks" (sorry). Also that it would be more effective to hit Hoeksta's "China as mfn" vote" with his target crowd (of bigots). That from Twitter.

  • berttheclock on February 07, 2012 10:33 AM:

    Yet ever so quiet about Rick Snyder, now Guv of Michigan, for sending jobs to the Asia when he was running Gateway and, then, selling Gateway to the Taiwan based Acer.

  • MR Bill on February 07, 2012 10:42 AM:

    There have been a series of commercials running on my cable, like this terrifying vision of 2030, where China owns the US due to debt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYKAbRK_wKA
    it's from "Citizens Against Government Waste"and is a masterpiece of right wing framing. Replete with scary Chinese with technology taking over the world!!! Its not been on recently, but is in line with the Hoekstra ad..
    And then there is the "You could learn a lot from a Junkie" http://youtu.be/itxfB3dN7ps
    No idea about how effective they are, but I suspect they resonate with certain folks... and need a sound rebuttal.

  • internet tough guy on February 07, 2012 10:43 AM:

    @martin: You just gave him the idea, or he's still working on working "dochschlosse" into her name.

  • jpeckjr on February 07, 2012 10:54 AM:

    I keep wondering where the thing was taped. It looks remarkably like my part of California, where we grow lots of rice. Many of our rice fields are owned by a staunchly Republican family. Then, again, as James Fallows noted, the whole sense of the commercial is not rapidly industrializing China, but rural Vietnam. I am sure I saw a naked girl running from napalm in the background. You remember Vietnam -- back when America hadn't been all messed up by the liberals.

  • Anonymous on February 07, 2012 12:05 PM:

    "Hoeckstra’s (sic) “Thank you, Debbie Spenditnow” spot ranks right down there with Jim Bunning’s infamous “Muchas gracias, Senor Baesler” ad in the hall of shame; indeed, it was probably inspired by it."

    While we can now refer to Bunning as a *former* Senator, this new status was not earned as a result of his "Muchas gracias" ad. The lesson- Hoekstra is using it because the evidence suggests it will work. He may be right.

  • not dutch much on February 07, 2012 12:30 PM:

    What do you expect, Hoekstra hails from the same neighborhood as Erik Prince (Blackwater), where white guys think they should rein supreme and the rest of us should sit in the back of the bus and work for less than minimum wage.

  • Nick MacPlato on February 07, 2012 12:35 PM:

    Peter Hockitsnot

    Peter Hulkitsnot

    Peter Dickheadya

    Peter Openedpandorasbox

    Don't get me started Peter Hawksnot

    Somebody stop me please ..... it's addicting .... I need a moblie app "Peter Words with Freinds"

    make it stop - make it stop

  • cmdicely on February 07, 2012 12:53 PM:

    OK. The ad is offensive. But what I want to know is how Hoekstra connects Stabenow with trade imbalance. The Chinese aren't creating jobs because of our borrowing.

    Its worse than that, not only does the US government borrowing (which, yes, a lot comes from China) not create jobs in the China, it does the opposite. How do I know this? Because it is well-established fact of international trade that net flow of goods and services are balanced by an opposing net flow of capital (and vice versa), so a net inward flow of capital is either created by or creates an equal net outward flow of goods and services (all other things being equal.)

    Reducing the capital flow from China to the U.S. would increase the U.S. trade deficit (perhaps not directly with China, though ultimately specifically with China, once you trace the flow through all intermediaries) and move jobs from the U.S. to, ultimately, China.

    It's not merely that the ad presents a cause-and-effect relationship that doesn't exist, or that its presentation appeals to racism, but it presents the exact opposite effect of the cause that it points to than the effect that the cause actually has.

  • deanarms on February 07, 2012 1:59 PM:

    The GOP blew it with Hispanic voters -- ceding a future generation of support from that community to our side. Now they're trying to alienate Asians? Pure genius!

  • Steve P on February 07, 2012 2:12 PM:

    I for one welcome our new Chinese overlords, just as long as they all look that hot.

  • PEA on February 07, 2012 5:17 PM:

    Nick MacPlato - now THAT made me laugh! If Debbie S felt this ad needed refuting, she could hire you.

    Seriously, despite its reminders of Vietnam and the backwards logic, this ad is not nearly as hilariously campy as the "I am not a witch" ad or the Demon Sheep ad, both of which had me howling out loud. These guys really do live in an intellectual and cultural vacuum, don't they? I keep hoping they will give up on the rest of us as totally hopeless and move their Koch-and-Rove-inspired communities to Mississippi, whose education system is the apple of the Koch bros' eye.

    Hey, wow, captcha really is like fortune cookies (but no, I don't think it's another Chinese plot): "austerity,* sicITgo" -- if only....