Is This Really the Best Political Ad This Year?


The fiscal conservationism group Citizens Against Government Waste has released an ad called "Chinese Professor," in which — you guessed it — a Chinese professor in the year 2030 explains to his students how the American response to the great recession destroyed their once-great nation. "They work for us now," the Chinese teacher says as he and his students laugh maniacally.

Apparently, this is an amazing ad. The Atlantic's James Fallows says it's the first ad of the year that "you can imagine people actually remembering a decade from now." Politico's Ben Smith calls it perhaps "the most powerful [ad] of the cycle." We're wondering what's so ingenious about the old "foreigners are going to take over America!" theme, especially when it's not supported by the facts in this case.

As Fallows himself points out, amid his praise, the ad doesn't actually make any sense.

[I]f you know anything about the Chinese economy, the actual analytical content here is hilariously wrong. The ad has the Chinese official saying that America collapsed because, in the midst of a recession, it relied on (a) government stimulus spending, (b) big changes in its health care systems, and (c) public intervention in major industries -- all of which of course, have been crucial parts of China's (successful) anti-recession policy.

Once you discredit the substance of the ad, all you have left is run-of-the-mill China fearmongering that's been going on since the dawn of time. So what's so effective about it? We don't know. But we do appreciate that it's already inspring parodies, like this one from the liberal Campus Progress.