According to the Washington Post, Michican Republican Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra has come under fire for running an outrageous ad during the Super Bowl criticizing the Democratic incumbent, Debbie Stabenow, for allegedly supporting policies that benefit the Chinese economy at the expense of the US. The ad features a young Chinese woman thanking Senator Stabenow for allegedly helping to transfer American jobs to China. The woman in the ad speaks broken English, bringing back the worst anti-Asian stereotypes of 100 years ago, during the time of the Chinese exclusion laws.
The fact that, as of this writing, the ad has not yet been pulled and Hoekstra has not yet been forced by public opinion to withdraw from the Senate race and apologize to America's Asian communities for this despicable resort to open racism may say something about America's current political climate with regard to immigration as well.
The biggest obstacle to an open and productive discussion about immigration policy has been the absurd fiction that immigration is only about law enforcement, economics and security, and has nothing to do with race. Even though Hoekstra's unpeakable use of anti-Asian hate is not overtly about immigration, it lays bare the fact that this issue, even more than any other, including foreign trade and globalization, is being used in order to appeal to bigotry among white voters.
But even more disturbing that Hoekstra's appalling ad was Stabenow's tepid response. Again according to the WP, her reaction was to point out that she has also been critical of China. This is not to say that all criticicm of China's policies is racist. Far from it. But her supine "me too" response and her failure to condemn the open racism of Hoekstra's ad are all too typical of the way that President Obama and the Democrats are responding to the Republicans' appeals to racism on the immigration issue also.
Instead of standing up and calling the Republicans out on their insidious use of hate against Hispanic, Asian and other minority immigrants, the Democrats are trying to imitate them, with their "me too" deportations, border fences, RFE's, petition denials, E- Verify and "Secure Communities". They should not be surprised if the voters this fall decide that they have has enough of the Democrats' ersatz anti-immigrant hate and prefer to go for the Republicans' real thing.
I also need to correct a statement in my February 6 blogging, where I said that the Citizens United decision was the worst in the Supreme Court's history since Dred Scott. I left out the decision in Korematsu vs. US upholding the internment of Japanese-American US citizens during the Second World War. All three of these horrendous decisions will live in infamy.