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.