Sunday, February 12, 2012

Michigan's Racist Candidate

In case you've missed all of the hoopla, this ad for Pete Hoekstra ran in Michigan during the Super Bowl last week. As you'll see it's beyond obnoxious and worth of all of the vitriol that its caused:

My jaw dropped when I saw this and could not believe that a candidate for national office in the US would think that running something like this was actually a good idea. I'm not from Michigan but I just couldn't hold my tongue in the face of such idiocy. Here's what I blasted off to the erstwhile candidate:

Mr. Hoekstra,
I wanted to add my voice to the many who must be contacting you in regards to the ad that you played during the Super Bowl. It was shameful not only for its borderline (at best)  racism, but also for its criminal oversimplification of America's economic problems.
Even if I were somebody who could overlook the blatant race-baiting, I would still think you a fool because of you assertion that borrowing money from China and "sending" our jobs overseas is somehow the root cause of our current economic crisis. I live in China and I see the reasons why America is in decline every day. It's a shame that America is saddled with politicians like you who campaign on fear and symptoms instead of positivity and real solutions.
Shame on you.
Mike Shaw
Beijing, China

Of course he'll never read this note, but maybe one of his staffers will and maybe it'll at least provoke a thought in his/her head about what the real reasons for America's problems are. But it probably won't.

And that's an even bigger problem. What we face in America today is a political culture that is focused on tactics and message instead of actually presenting arguments to voters. This ad comes straight out of Modern Campaigning 101: Push the people's fear buttons (Yellow people!" "China!" "Debt!" "Unemployment!") then associate the other candidate's name to it. No explanation of the issues is required. No laying out the reasons why the incumbent's policies feed the problems and no presentation of solutions.

It's all so simple. And tragic.

Mr. Hoekstra should come to China and take a ride on one of the new high speed rail lines and then try to envision us building something like that in the US. (Spoiler: We can't.) Then dwell on that for a while. THEN maybe he'll reconsider what the real problems facing America are.

Of course he'll never do that.