The Tea Party Allies’ “Chinese Professor” Ad (Video)

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Though it’s actually been on YouTube since last October, this tea-party-friendly ad by Citizens Against Government Waste, titled “Chinese Professor,” has been quite the cyber-cultural lodestone for a couple of weeks:

First, some observations.

1) Critics have alleged that the ad is racist. Is it? CAGW calls the ad “Chinese Professor.” But hey, I’ll let you judge.

2) More important, the ad’s argument exhibits all the logic of a purple-specked sea urchin trying to explain the relevance of Nash equilibria to international trade-regimes’ behavior with some tin foil, a stick of spearmint gum, and an egg noodle. Let’s think this one out: According to CGAW, Communist China…will take over the United States…after the latter has been weakened irreparably by…its universal health care coverage, stimulus spending, and “government takeovers of private industries.” So we will lose to the commies by being too…commie. Eh?

Somewhere in Tallahassee, Florida, my International Relations Theory 101 professor is having an aneurysm.

Now, to be fair, CAGW has been around a lot longer than the tea partiers—since 1984. And the group seems more interested in helping Big Business than Joe Average, considering how much money it’s raked in from the Tobacco Institute, Philip Morris, RJR Nabisco, ExxonMobil, and Merril Lynch, among others. (All-around fun-guy Republican and perennial presidential candidate Alan Keyes ran CAGW from 1989 to 1991.) And to hear the organization’s president, Tom Schatz, tell it, the ad was supposed to be about the US’s foreign debt, not Chinese people or political economy. “A 60-second ad cannot include all of the information needed to support its premise,” he wrote on CAGW’s blog last week. “The ad presents a possible, but preventable, future for the U.S.” He adds:

The ad is not about China or its economy or its political  system; or any nation other than the United States.  If France held the largest portion of foreign-owned U.S. debt, the ad would be in French…Again, it’s not about China, it’s about Washington’s long-standing failure to take the steps necessary to prevent a national catastrophe.  All of the bloviating and cursing and wishing for our immediate and painful demise won’t change anything; a more productive use of that energy would be to help prevent the “Chinese Professor” from being fact rather than fiction.

Okay, observations again: 

1) France? Really? Another great power that seems to be doing not so badly with universal health care and high taxes and spending? Dude.

2) It’s not about China. But if we don’t act, the Chinese takeover will be fact. Take that to your logic professor!

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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