great moments of complete failure

Pete Hoekstra’s Lie-Filled Racist Ad Surprisingly Unpopular

It's probably Dallas or somethingAdmit it, cynical, smug blog reader: You thought that Pete Hoekstra’s Senate ad about “Debbie SpendItNow,” featuring an Asian lady riding a bicycle through Asian rice paddies and taunting Michiganers about how lazy and jobless they are through her cartoonish broken English, would be one of those things where the lamestream media shouted “racist” and “completely offensive” while Hoekstra’s popularity numbers nevertheless rose astronomically as a populist backlash to the lamestream media shouting “racist” and “completely offensive.” You thought there would be an excellent chance of this happening, since nothing good ever happens in American politics. And yet Pete Hoekstra is now comically unpopular! What a world.

Public Policy Polling shows what can happen when you release a dumb lying racist ad and for whatever reason — awfulness? — it doesn’t “click” with the public:

What’s interesting is that Stabenow’s approval numbers have barely budged at all over the last 6 months. Over the summer we found her at 46/40, and now she’s at 47/41. But Hoekstra’s numbers have taken a turn for the worst. In July his favorability was narrowly positive at 31/30. Now he’s dropped a net 11 points to a -10 spread at 28/38. There hasn’t been a big shift in his numbers with Democrats or Republicans but with independents his numbers have flipped from +10 (33/23) to -10 (29/39).

Hoekstra appears to have been damaged by his controversial Super Bowl ad. 54% of voters in the state were familiar with it, and within that group 45% said it made them less likely to vote for him compared to only 16% who considered it a positive and 37% who said it didn’t make a difference to them either way. Independents said they were turned off by it and he’s gone from leading with them by 6 points in July to now trailing by 4 points.

He’s still crushing his lackluster rivals in the Republican primary — although it’s down to a 33 percentage point lead over his closest competitor from a 67 (!) percentage point lead — which really raises some questions about his campaign management. Why would you run a vulgar race-baiting ad during the Super Bowl when you’ve most likely got the Republican nomination wrapped up and need to keep independents on your side for the general election? Maybe he’s running some sort of ironic art project?

[PPP via Detroit Free Press]

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About the author

Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined Wonkette.com in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

View all articles by Jim Newell

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227 comments

    1. Beowoof

      I don't know, the Rmoney touch would include telling Detroit and the autoworkers to go fuck themselves and go bankrupt.

    2. MittBorg

      Actually, the guy who made this horrible, horrible, stupid, racist,misogynist piggy little ad also made Cara Carleton "Carly" Sneed Fiorina's "Demon Sheep" ad. If you haven't seen it, you MUST look it up on YouTube. It is unbelievable. Let's just say I do NOT see a career for this guy in the following fields: advertising; writing; film; theater; art; porn; music; teaching; or pretty much anything that doesn't involve racist screeds.

      1. HistoriCat

        I forget the details but he's some big Republican's nephew. Nepotism – the best way to get ahead in life!

  1. Numbat_Dundee

    He played the race card and he lost. What sort of country is America turning into? What will the Republicans do now?

      1. Chichikovovich

        I think Innocent III (falsely so-called) took care of the Albigensian problem pretty thoroughly.

          1. Chichikovovich

            Both. He was guilty of some of the most appalling horrors, and his guilt was to the 100th power, not merely cubed.

          2. MittBorg

            How quickly I forget that fillip added by your personal knowledge of these, let's call them *fine,* characters, Biely! I can't help but wonder if the Medicis and Borgias are even now awaiting the current wearer of the red leather Prada Shoes of the Fisherman with anticipation. In your August, if none-too-Innocent, company, of course.

        1. HistoriCat

          The Albigensians were a group of 13th century Europeans who were considered heretics by the church. The pope declared a crusade against them and they were ruthlessly exterminated.

          1. MosesInvests

            The Dominican Order (Cani Papem, the Hounds of the Pope) was founded to wipe out the Albigensiens. After their rousing success, they became the Holy Office-which nobody expects.

          2. sewollef

            Henry VIII had the right idea…. it was a three part program:

            1. When the catholic church piss you off, sack all the churches, take their gold and then slaughter the monks.

            2. Chase any survivors into France and set up your own church, with you as godfather.

            3. Take all the money for yourself.

            Job done, as we Brits are wont to say.

          3. billinTooToo

            > The pope declared a crusade against them and they were ruthlessly exterminated.

            God, I hate when that happens!

    1. GOPCrusher

      Engage in some mental gymnastics about how Democrats can play the race card and be raving racists and yet the minorities love them for it.
      IT ISN'T FAIR, I TELLS YA!

  2. Native_of_SL_UT

    If he would have just come out with an ad with that girl saying "love you long time. five dolla." he would have got my vote.

  3. Preferred Customer

    Romney should hire Hoekstra to deliver Michigan for him, just like T-Paw did with Minnesota.

  4. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    Don't worry, Hoekstra is already on top of this, and will soon win everyone back with his new "Ping Pong Ball Girl" ad, where the ping pong balls represent American jobs being sent overseas.

    1. YasserArraFeck

      If all campaign ads were that entertaining, I'd be pushing for annual elections*.

      *and, no, that's not pidgin for a boner every year…

  5. spends2much

    He's wasting his time in a Senate race; this sort of high quality racism belongs in the GOP Presidential clusterfuck!

  6. Trannysurprise

    Too bad she wasn't eating a chimichanga while picking watermelons in the White House lawn. You gotta stretch those ad dollars any way you can.

    1. gullywompr

      I wonder if anybody under 40 will get that? Or maybe Thai stick is still around, and I've been out of circulation too long…

        1. GOPCrusher

          About the same time, we could get a Thai Stick for 15 bucks and get stoned to the beejesus and watch Johnny Carson.

          1. gullywompr

            You know what I miss? Album covers. Full size, twelve inch square album covers. Santana's Abraxas was just tailor-made for Thai stick – hours and hours of fun there. Try that on your half-inch pixellated iPod Nano…

          1. Biff

            I never got off the Interstate in Jersey, driving an oversized load they don't let you venture far astray. All I saw were McDonald's at the rest areas, which looked kinda nice, as I drove past at 65mph.

        1. BigDumbRedDog

          I got it but only because I work with a bunch of old men who try to shock me by regaling me with tales of their mispent youth.

      1. MissTaken

        I'm a just-under-40 and the first time I heard it (other than the bay area restaurants) was from Big Lebowski. Never seen them in real life, though.

        1. prommie

          Umm, oh boy, I feel old, but, umm, that was the whole point of the name of Chevy Chase's character in Caddyshack. You know, Caddyshack?

          1. MissTaken

            I was a wee little one when Caddyshack first came out and every joke went completely over my head. Wasn't until I was an adult and rewatched movies from the late 70's and early 80's that I actually understood them.

          2. prommie

            Whew, at least you were alive, that would have made me feel real old, if you weren't. I was 17 when it came out, but I didn't get all the jokes till I took up golf. Oh, and until I finally got laid, too.

        2. SorosBot

          Come now, we're still mid-30s – there's no need to start calling yourself just-under-40 for a few more years.

          1. SorosBot

            Aw come on you're just objectively hot.

            Wait, you were fishing for a compliment there, weren't you? And I got baited.

          2. GOPCrusher

            That's what I tell all the young conquests. I'm 51 which is the new 41 which is the new 31, so there's nothing creepy about getting into my van.

  7. ChernobylSoup

    The real scandal begins when his republican opponents find out the Asian actress uses birth control.

  8. monty4prez

    Hoekstra at this point should just use the Chinese guy from South Park that runs the City Wok restaurant

    1. anniegetyerfun

      There's some great anti-Japanese propaganda somewhere in the WB vaults, also too. One racist image of some kind of Asian should be good enough as the next for these guys.

  9. Joshua Norton

    He’s still crushing his lackluster rivals in the Republican primary

    You may have to read between the lines, but he's still a douche bag.

    1. SorosBot

      I think they're the kind of people who prefer Sacramento to San Francisco because it's easier to find parking in Sacramento.

          1. rickmaci

            Uh. I think you got the wrong valley. But then again who am I to play the geographically undesirable card. I live in LA.

          2. SorosBot

            It was, indeed, the Central Valley; me and MissTaken were quoting a (ridiculous) woman who was at the table next to ours at lunch the other day. Both of us had a hard time not laughing at her.

  10. gullywompr

    "There hasn’t been a big shift in his numbers with Democrats or Republicans but with independents his numbers have flipped from +10 (33/23) to -10 (29/39)."

    And there you have it folks – when you move too far to the right, you leave the middle unprotected. All your votes are belong to us.

    1. GOPCrusher

      You think Rinse Priapism or whatever the fuck his name is, is reconsidering his decision to accept the position of Republiklan National Chairman?

  11. Tommmcattt

    Maybe he’s running some sort of ironic art project?

    It's an installation: Idiot in Red: Electoral FAIL #5, medium: Videotape and Bull Feces, circa 2012.

    It's got a pomo dada vibe for the new century.

  12. PhilippePetain

    Sorry, no yuks:

    It seems like in the 70s and 80s, the center of the political spectrum could be safely assured to fall for these divisive, hateful tactics. I've got to say, the lack of them being able to be duped into those things these days has me hopeful that as information becomes more available through more channels, people are getting better at sifting these things out.

    At least the ones with an IQ over 80 that know how to use a computer.

    And don't live in the south.

    1. Sassomatic

      People who live in the south an have IQs over 80 are just as smart as those who live in the north and have the same IQ. If you want to see scary stupid racism, try going to fucking MAINE sometime.

      1. Rotundo_

        We got some winners up here in Wisconsin too. If Stupid were a franchise, there would be a drive through on every block…

      2. Diabeetis

        Or for that matter, try going to Boston, which a black friend of mine described as the most racist city he's ever been to, and he's been to the South.

        1. PhilippePetain

          Okay, okay guys, I'm totally guilty of hyperbole. These bigoted fuckwits are everywhere. But they are getting steadily grayer, right?

          <ducks>

  13. meatlofer

    I thought this was all over with?…..you know…….. cause I had a happy ending last time Wonkette printed that little squeekers photo!

  14. SayItWithWookies

    Those racist ads — they're just so inscrutable, with their mysterious and counterintuitive ways.

  15. luckismine

    Did anyone else notice that about half way through the commercial, Little Miss Asian Thang does the pattented Paris Hilton "that's hot" shoulder shrug? There are 1.3 BILLION people in China, and Hoekstra can't find someone more credible to spew racist stereotypes? That girl is no more authentically Chinese than the lettuce wraps at PF Changs.

  16. SorosBot

    I'm still wondering how someone learns to speak English in such a broken manner in a thick Midwestern accent like that.

  17. CapnFatback

    Huge ratings drop after spending tons of cash, eh? Sounds like Hoekstra's camp isn't too savvy with numbers. I wonder if they know anyone who can help them with all that math stuff.

    1. MittBorg

      They don't make EOS50s any more, Derrick. I looked.

      What's the next best recommendation, in your book? Would you buy a Canon if you were buying again? And is your camera back from the Horse Spittle yet?

  18. Sassomatic

    Michigan no likey racist ad. No vote for stupid white man. Vote for other stupid white man instead.

    1. IceCreamEmpress

      Are you not following the election so much? Hint: Senator Stabenow is a white lady. Also not stupid.

      1. Sassomatic

        I was referring to the other Republicans in the primary, yo. Don't be all correctinfying my snark and shit.

  19. hagajim

    OK Joe, you play racist asshole cahd, you get sclewed by white people who no likey yo dumb ass! Me vote Stabenlow, she ruv me long time!

    1. Designer_Rants

      *warning* I'm going to just talk about myself here:
      - 1st (only?) time I crowd surfed was at a Megadeth concert, and I got a Dave Mustane "signature" guitar pick from him when it was over.
      - Also, my very young children would laaaaugh when I'd sing "Hello me! Meet the Real Me" (lyrics) in my best Dave Mustaine voice.
      - He sure was a painful-to-watch whiner on "Some Kind Of Monster", the excellent and candid Metallica documentary from about 10yrs ago.

      Thanks for reading!

  20. gout

    I am mostly offended that she did not even try for a Chinese accent. Just flat out read the broken-english script straight, like some Californian plopped down in the middle of a rice paddy. Probably never even seen a kung-fu movie.

    1. sezme

      I would have expected more brains from a beauty pageant entrant. But why not? Expect in the future to see Nana Meriwether (Miss Bel Air) as the "uppity blah" and Nia Sanchez (MIss Citrus Valley) as the "job stealin' messican" in future Republican campaign ads.

      1. Gainsbourg69

        It must be awful being one place above William Hung in the "most hated person in the Chinese community" list.

    2. DahBoner

      She wasn't born in Napa, doesn't live in Napa and probably doesn't even like wine (unless it's made from rice)…

  21. Troglodeity

    Thanks for that clarification. I thought it was a moonlighting Michelle Malkin. Which would have made a lot more sense.

  22. spends2much

    Hoekstra to his staff: "Pull the ad with the Oriental, and replace it with the one showing Wetbacks who steal jobs and rape white girls. Sure, it's more subtle, but my base will love it."

  23. Mumbletypeg

    O/T (and apologies if it's been mentioned already) but Sara Benincasa's book is on shelves now — or at the online slave-grinding warehousers if such is your shopping pref — and it, like her, is AGORAFABULOUS~

    1. DahBoner

      You can't buy an oversized ginger cookie made by some hippy the bookstore owner is hate-fucking online….

    1. MittBorg

      Kasekopfs! Oh, DerrickWildcat, you could make a wild cat laugh.

      They are, though. During the freedom marches in Jakarta, the Dutch authorities captured young Indonesian college students who were marching against colonial rule. They shaved their heads and then half-scalped them and marched them through the capital in chains. As for what they did to the Cambodians, the less said about that, the better. Long record of crimes against (indigenous) humanity.

      1. DerrickWildcat

        Yeah, The Germans referred to the Dutch as "Kasekopfs" and always griped about them because when they went on Holiday, they would drive thru Germany and never stop and spend any money because they were always in well stocked caravans.

        1. MittBorg

          I had a gorgeous Dutch lover once, who played bass in a jazz band. I didn't know they had a reputation for being skinflints, though.

          They'd fit right in in Wisconsin, wouldn't they?

          1. HistoriCat

            Apparently "going Dutch" is a reference to the Dutch being cheapskates. On behalf of my ancestors, I have to say "Dutch libel"

            Or I would if it wasn't true …

          2. MittBorg

            Silly racist stereotypes. Hein was the perfect lover, always bringing flowers and wine and gifts from faraway places.

            I'm glad they seem to have got over the worst of their racism. Their treatment of the Indonesians was simply horrendous, but I understand there are many Indonesians living in Holland now, with minimal friction.

          3. MittBorg

            You'll have to take that up with my partner, soon as he's done Dutching the cats.

            There's a reason they never bite *him* on the ass.

            I guess a diet high in cheese would give you some seriously stinky farts, huh?

          4. CindynEncinitas

            Did Hein bring you wine and gifts from his faraway plantations stocked with many slaves? Cuz, yeah, that would be bad.

  24. Steverino247

    Pete Hoekstra’s Lie-Filled Racist Ad Surprisingly Unpopular

    You say that like it be Numbah Ten!

  25. MittBorg

    Honestly, Jim Newell, one would think you NEVER read the papers, you great big hunk of ginger, you. This is the same Pete Hoekstra who engaged in a Twitter campaign of utter superstrength FAILITUDE with the "low clouds over the State Capitol today; now I know how Blacks felt in NOLA during Katrina" self-pityage. They don't come much ironic-art-projectier than Hoekstra. Why, his NAME is a MEME, dood! And who else but Santorum and Romney can say THAT?

    1. BarackMyWorld

      It was "Iranian twitter activity similar to what we did in House last year when Republicans were shut down in the House."

      1. MittBorg

        I know. I was exaggerating even more, for dramatic effect. Went over like a lead balloon, I see. (takes another toke, falls face down in tea, sobs)

  26. cobweb2

    >>Why would you run a vulgar…etc,etc?<<
    Ha Ha, love a satirical question; like asking a fundamentalist who fights tooth & nail to defund public education, jobs programs and food stamps to reconcile it with his insistence that women who don't want to must have babies they can't support! We have to accept that these people have been born without the ability to empathize

    1. CivicHoliday

      She was so stupid not to see this coming. She'll never be able to go out for asian food again, for fear of pubes in her rice and semen in her soup

  27. C_R_Eature

    This is Pete Hoekstra we're talking about here. If the production were all up to him, he'd just use the the Sniper clip from "Full Metal Jacket".

    Evil jackass.

  28. valthemus

    Wait a second… you mean most independent fence-sitters, many of whom don't decide who they're gonna vote for until they're handed a ballot at the polls on election day, *don't* want to vote for a racist? Huzzah and Ballyhoo!! Good news for our nation! Bad news for Ron "What's plausible deniability?" Paul!

  29. Negropolis

    Thank you, Michigan.

    I'm just loving how Debbie is just cold sitting back and watching Hoekstra spin himself into oblivion. She's always been a bit conservative for my tastes since she got into the Senate (she was much more liberal as a state legislator, and congresswoman), but, she's been a relatively good, no-drama steward of her office and a fairly reliable vote, and in this day in age, I'll take that.

    BTW, Lisa Chan (the actress in the ad) offered a genuine apology for her role in this. She didn't have to, and it's glad to see she had the courage to admit that you have to draw the line, somewhere, particularly when what you're portraying goes against your belief system as she has now stated it did.

  30. Biel_ze_Bubba

    Especially cute Asianettes. It's like trying to race-bait with Halle Berry instead of Willie Horton.

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