COLUMN: Offensive ad political suicide for Senatorial candidate Pete Hoekstra

Nathan Inks/Columnist

Rarely does a politician commit political suicide in a commercial aired during the most watched event on television.

Sunday, senatorial candidate Pete Hoekstra was that exception.

In his ad, a girl of Asian descent riding her bicycle stops to tell the camera in what is clearly fake broken-English, “Thank you Michigan Senator Debbie Spend-it-Now. 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 Spend-it-Now.”

Hoekstra comes on to contrast Debbie Spend-it-Now with Pete Spend-it-Not as he approves the campaign message. The Debbie Spend-it-Now part of that ad was the only good part, but the “Spend-it-Not” just seemed corny and weird.

In the 21st century, I would have assumed Hoekstra would know how wrong such an offensive stereotype would be. What makes the ad ironic is the percentage of Chinese who can speak fluent English is higher than the percentage of Americans who can speak fluent Chinese.

The campaign’s response to the ad was almost as bad as the ad itself. The Hoekstra campaign disabled ratings and comments for the ad on YouTube. John Yob, CEO of Strategic National, a major political consulting firm in Michigan, who has served as an advisor for the campaign began deleting all negative comments left on his Facebook link to the ad and deleted those posters from his page. He then left comments implying that people critical of the ad are just liberals and other candidates’ supporters just want to attack Hoekstra.

Not only is that incredibly petty and a terrible public relations move, but it is just not true. I had endorsed Hoekstra and was fully backing him, but after seeing that ad and the response of his advisors, I can no longer support him.

This also goes beyond simply airing an offensive ad; it shows Hoekstra and his campaign have a severe lack of judgment by running the ad and thinking it would have a positive effect. Why would you run a controversial ad during an event more Americans watch than any other event? If he can make such a terrible move in a primary race, what will he do in the general election?

Hoekstra is not only someone who should not represent the Republican Party; he should not represent this great country by serving in our government. What image does this send to the Chinese people if we elect someone like him?

Hoekstra should apologize, and he may gain back the respect of some people. But this severe lack of judgment should result in voters never trusting him with an elected office again.

Nathan Inks is the president of the College Republicans. This column does not necessarily reflect the official views of the organization.


  1. You are obviously young and naive. Who are you to declare who should represent the Republican Party.  The taxation and spending policies of the democrats have resulted in the largest transfer of jobs offshore and the biggest increase of foreign debt in our nations history.  Go support Debbie Stab-me-now if you don’t like the Pete’s message.  She’s done a great job for Detroit.  The same policies are working our well for California too I see.  Maybe when you get out of college and start contributing to the system you will see that the democrats have mortgaged your future.  There is no stereotyping in the ad.  The ad features a chinese girl thanking us for sending all our jobs and money to nation that is our enemy.  Nuff said. If the Chinese are offend they can certainly send our jobs and national treasure back.  Better go upstairs now I think you mom has dinner ready.

    • You are old and ignorant. Tell your GOP buddies to stop shipping jobs overseas. Recheck your facts, that is if you believe in the truth.


        • Michmediaperson says:

          Jose, you are correct.  What you’re saying is Debbie Stabenow is helping GOP businesspeople to outsource jobs to China.

          That’s exactly what Pete Hoekstra is saying and why that ad was correct.

          Thank you Jose for agreeing with Pete and those of us against outsourcing jobs overseas.

        • Creative_destruction says:

          Jose , you better enroll your jar head in a few econ classes to better understand the historical ebb and flow global manufacturing and trade and the devastating consequences upon a national economy when a nation chooses to put up barriers to trade.

    • Bill, you totally missed the point and supported his argument fully.

    • Bill, if you cannot support your argument without going into horrible, obvious racial stereotypes not seen since WWII and Korea then perhaps you need to rethink your position. Maybe you should focus on your own problems before you try to dismiss the argument out of hand and then return with only ageist commentary.

      No stereotypes??? You think that was an actual chineese girl or a girl being paid to use “fake broken English” – wow. Look at the website it that it sends you too and its nothing but Chineese stereotypes (dragons, laterns, music) – apparently you can lead a racist to water, but they won’t see their own reflection!

    • How do you know she’s Chinese? Did she mention it in the ad? This is pandering to the worst kind of bigotry!! I thought Republicans supported the free market system? If you do, then you should have no problem with outsourcing as it is a function of companies seeking places where they can amximize profits! So for a Republican to decry outsourcing is ridiculous. For Hoekstra to decry spending is beyond the pot calling the kettle black…he voted for all the spending under the Bush administration which trippled the national debt!!! So, no credibility on spending and no credibility on outsourcing coming from a party that supports outsourcing!!!

  2. Now they will call you a self hating conservative, closet liberal…am not republican myself but totally enjoyed your column. It is nice and dare i say hopeful to see someone on the side of their ideals rather than zombified with any party line. 

  3. Thank you!  As an Asian (Chinese) American, I found this ad horribly offensive on several levels.  But it often sounds shrill and over-sensitive to speak up when something is culturally offensive and you are of the culture in question.  So thank you for writing this piece!

  4. You mean business people are deleting people from their Facebook? You don’t say? How do we stop this!

    Really, why do we care if someone deletes friends from their personal Facebook? What are we, teenage girls about to head to prom or something?

    Get a grip, you are welcome to have your views, but try exercising a little maturity, even if CM-Life is only a student paper.

    • Angelfire2008 says:

      That has nothing to do with what he’s trying to say. Mr. Yob was neglecting to offer his “friends” opportunity to reveal differentiating opinions. As a political contributing figure, that is an odd thing to do.

  5. Devildog0311usmc says:


    • How about, then, if someone pays someone of spanish decent to do a political ad with an obviously fake accent? That is what is racist and that’s what he’s saying… the ad was bad taste. Bottom line.

  6. I am sorry you’re a self-loathing Latino! And I am sorry if you can’t see the bigotry in the ad!! China “stealing” jobs!! What do they do? Use a gun to the heads of companies and force them to build plants there? How do they “steal” these jobs? Do they do this at night when no one is looking? And, more to the point, what in the hell is Hoekstra going to to about it? He didn’t do anything when this was happening while he was a senior Republican in the House of Representatives. What makes you think he’ll do anything as a senator? If he is not proposing anything constructive then the ad is pandering and racist!!

    •  China is just better at capitalism than the US is.
      What is capitalism but finding better ways to spend less and make more?

      But they got nothing compared to the illegal war ponzi scheme business we got going.

  7. John Edson Porter says:

    It’s not about being deleted from Facebook. It’s about Mr. Yob censoring any negativity and claiming that any negative comments are strictly coming from liberal democrats, which is totally false. 

  8. Michmediaperson says:

    Hey Nathan, so it’s OK for Stabenow, Levin and the Democratic Party to run TV commercials showing the Republican Party shoving Grandma over the side of the mountain because the Liberals claim we want to take away old people’s medicaid and medicare and social security.

    It’s OK for the left-wing black groups to run commercials about Republicans wanting to burn down black churches.

    It’s OK for the left-wing Lansing mayor, the Democrat’s choice for Governor in 2010, to make insensitive remarks and blasts against Native Americans who are Michigan taxpayers.

    I can go on and on.

    If you’d do your homework, you’d find that last October, Stabenow and her liberal Democrats in the US Senate were sounding like Hoekstra blasting China and even taking a vote about China and how they’re stealing our jobs.  Our side didn’t do much.  I applaud the Liberal Democrats.  They blasted China.   Like when Obama had Osama Bin Laden shot and killed, instead of reading him stupid Miranda rights,  liberal Democrats do do some things right every now and then.

    Stabenow and Chuck Schumer of New York and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, all liberals, did the right thing last October.  So, did Hoekstra last Sunday.

    I guess you can vote and campaign for Debbie this fall.  

    Nathan, don’t get caught up in all this multiculturalism and PC Journalism.  You ever see the ethnic jokes Jay Leno, David Letterman, others, make every day.

    Have fun campaigning for the Left this fall.

    • John Edson Porter says:

      I’ve never completely figured out why you have nothing better to do than comment on every single column that Nathan writes, but I guess that is irrelevant for now. What’s also irrelevant is your statement. Mr. Inks never defended any of those individuals and probably wouldn’t. This is simply an enormous issue that can’t go overlooked: blatant racial profiling and stereotyping.

      And, in all honesty, anyone that knows anything about macroeconomics in an open economy knows that China is not the problem. Actually, without China, we would be in a much more desperate situation than we are currently. It is because of foreign investment from China that we are able to purchase houses at 4.5% APR – helping to prop up an already sickly housing market. I shutter to think what would happen if we didn’t have China’s investments at a time like this. 

      • mediacriticpa says:

        Hey John, Had we not had Democrat Congresses for 44 of the past 55 or so years using a credit card and putting us deep into deficits, we would never had needed China.

        In 3 years, Barack Hussein Obama has added 6 trillion dollars to the deficit.  The biggest spender in American history.  And, if he would get the Government out of the housing market, we’d be better off.  It’s been all their crazy policies since Jimmy Carter that created the whole housing mess.

        Pete’s commercial dealt with China.  You need to put a Chinese person in the ad.
        What would you suggest—an Italian person, Irish?  If you were doing a promotional spot for CMU, would you have the people in CMU clothing or Western Michigan clothing?

        When Stabenow and the Democrats ran that ad last year showing Congressman Paul Ryan pushing Grandma in the wheel chair off a mountain cliff, where were the racial profiling and stereotyping complaints then.

        I’m tired of having to talk to a tele-marketer in India, the Phillipines, China or Parts Unknown.  Those are jobs that should be here in this country.

        In 2006, Jennifer Granholm and the Michigan Democrats and the Media blasted Dick Devos for Amway doing business in China.  Why the sudden change now?
        Where were the calls of stereotyping and profiling back then?

        My only complaint to Pete is where was he when he was a Congressman yelling and screaming about jobs going offshore and the enormous debt the Dems were running up.

  9. DeclareTruth says:

    ‘Scuse me, but who CARES what kind of message we send to China? Seriously. One of our biggest problems is caring about how we APPEAR to the world.  Substance counts.  Posturing is just more PC bullcrap.

    • Michmediaperson says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more Declare Truth but you know how the PC crowd is.

      No country has done more for the world in the last 100 years than the good old USA.  But, it’s that PC crowd!

  10. For discussion:

    History of Surpluses and Deficits in the United States

    $4 trillion deficit under Obama, not 6 as stated below.

    Last administration to run a surplus for multiple years in a row: Clinton (’98-’00). Bush ran a surplus in his 1st year. The remaining years Bush ran a total deficit of $2.4 trillion.

  11. For discussion:

    History of Surpluses and Deficits in the United States

    $4 trillion deficit under Obama, not 6 as stated below.

    Last administration to run a surplus for multiple years in a row: Clinton (’98-’00). Bush ran a surplus in his 1st year. The remaining years Bush ran a total deficit of $2.4 trillion.

    • Michmediaperson says:

      Jenny, you proved michmediaperson, Limbaugh, Hannity’s point.
      I’ll use your numbers
      7 years of Bush……$2.4 trillion deficit
      3 years of Obama…$4 trillion

      It took Bush 7 years to do what took Obama less than 2 years to do—–

      WASTE MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

      Charge the credit card.  Guess who will have to pay off all of this Obama debt???
      CMU students, who are 18-22 years old.  They will get stuck.

      Like Obama said in his campaign, “Yes, We Can!  Hope and Change.”

      Thank you for agreeing with us conservative Republicans!

      P.S.—Your buddy, Obama, is now asking for another trillion.  He has more contributors to pay off like Slyndra and all those green companies going bankrupt. 

      I’ll give credit to Clinton.  He listened to Newt Gingerich
      Biggest mistake liberals made in 2008—-not going with Hillary Clinton.  Country today would be in much better shape with Hillary instead of Obama. 

      •  “Biggest mistake liberals made in 2008—-not going with Hillary
        Clinton. Country today would be in much better shape with Hillary
        instead of Obama.”

        Not going to disagree with you there. Clinton in 2016!

        •  “we came, we saw, he died”

          screw her. That warmonger psychopath can go pretend to be a feminist or something.

          No elected official will ever save us.

      •  “blah blah blah blah blah”
        “There is no reason to say anything about Republicans doing the thing that I am complaining about, even when they do the thing I’m talking about”
        “The problem is the democrats” “blah blah blah blah”
        - Every Michmediaperson post ever

        Neither party gives a flying crap about the debt.
        The federal debt is trillions of dollars.
        Money is printed out of thin air and is thinned out even more with interest.
        No matter who is in power – the debt increases.
        Could there a problem with the entire paradigm of which Money is spent and created?

  12. Michmediaperson says:

    To Cash Clown: how can someone of spanish decent speaking broken english be racist?

    So, if I open an Italian or Chinese restaurant in Mt. Pleasant and I’m German….since I’m imitating to be Italian or Chinese, is that being racist?  Because I’d be faking that I’m an Italian or Chinese person.

    At the same time, if I meet an italian person on campus today and ask them what their favorite italian restaurant in Michigan is… that stereotyping because I assume that person is going to like italian food?????

    • If you open an Italian or Chinese restaurant you are not racist you are stupid because you’ll go out of business!!

      And yes, if you saw an Italian, assuming you could recognize an “italian”, and asked about an Italian restaurant in town you would be stereotyping! Particularly, since a true Italian, from Italy, would likely have no idea where the Italian restaurants are in town!

  13. It’s a Chinese girl!  What the hell is she supposed to talk like?  You idiot Nathan Inks probably just came out of college brainwashed by those dimwit leftist activists.  You’re probably one of them.

  14. But the girl she portrays is Chinese.  She is supposed to represent one of the people who we are indebted to.  Nathan you need to have a little more guts if you want to be a Republican.  I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt you’ll listen to reasonable people.   Sorry if I called you an idiot.  I thought you were a college Democrat.

  15. What in the hell was offensive about it?  My goodness, I think the author is really a liberal who says he is a Republican.

  16. The “Chinese Girl” is 21 year old actress and California native Lisa Chan.  She is an American citizen and beauty queen from the Napa Valley. I can’t find video of her speaking, but we can certainly guess that she doesn’t use the racist affectation featured in the ad. 

    This was an ugly commercial that has already been pulled.  It glosses over the cause of outsourcing, which is a terrible and destructive trade policy that fails to penalize companies that outsource.  If a product is being made overseas, there should be a significant tariff.  Otherwise, U.S. companies will be unable to resist sending their production to places where labor costs are practically zero and they can force their employees to use nerve toxins to polish ipad screens.

    It is POLICY that dictates job migration, and the policies in place have been written by both Republicans and Democrats to favor their contributors, rich multinationals who are beholden to their quarterly earnings reports.  As long as this is the case, they will always choose what makes them the most money in the short term without any consideration for justice, humanity, work safety, or the environment.

    A friend of mine said it best: “I’ve been to some of those places, and if I were from there, I’d want to come to New Ross, Indiana, and get me a factory job.”  Blaming the people of China for wanting to work is to essentially dehumanize them and imply that their families, whom they are trying to feed, are of less worth than our families.  I don’t buy the argument that anyone is doing anything wrong by taking a job (and I include Lisa Chan in this). We need to blame the people who write POLICY.  

  17. Robert Krist says:

    After that excellent ad I have made up my mind. I am voting for Pete Hoekstra.

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