Republicans Keep Hating China

Via James Fallows, Republican Mark Amodei, a Nevada candidate in a U.S. House special election scheduled for September 13, has released an noxiously xenophobic campaign ad:

For those who don't watch the video, the ad features a fake Chinese news reporter discussing how out of control spending allowed crippled the U.S. government as imagines of Chinese troops march in the background. "As their debt grew, our fortune grew, and that is how our great empire rose again," the fake news anchor states. Fallows relates Amodei's commercial to the extremely effective ad from last fall's campaign that consisted of a Chinese professor lecturing on the demise of American power.

Amodei's ad may trade in anti-China messaging more blatantly than usual, but it is not far out of step from the normal Republican view. The party's rhetoric paints economics as a zero-sum game. If China's economy is becoming stronger than that necessarily means the U.S. economy gets weaker. Prospect contributor Matthew Ygelsias has a good takedown of this view, but it holds wide sway among Republican voters, and their politicians have tapped into that sentiment in using the deficit to scaremonger on the amount of U.S. Treasury debt owned by the Chinese.

That's one reason I'm skeptical of Jon Huntsman's chances for gaining the Republican presidential nomination. When he announced his campaign last week a round of pundits argued that he could cement his place in the Republican field as the only candidate with true foreign policy bona fides. "Huntsman's ambassadorial experience might not grant him that much electorally, but for the purposes of the other candidates, it means Huntsman is the yardstick by which the press will measure the gravity of their foreign policy pronouncements," Spencer Ackerman wrote.

Except Hunstman's main foreign policy experience is limited to experience with a nation despised by many Republicans. Hunstman won't speak with any more authority than Tim Pawlenty on strategies for troop reduction in Afghanistan.

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