Posted Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012, at 3:58 PM
Who among us thought that Pete Hoekstra's China-fearin' TV ad, the one that ran during the Super Bowl, might work for him? I didn't rule it out. But now cometh the polling numbers from PPP, the guys who just found a runaway Rick Santorum lead. They ask whether people like Hoekstra or not.
That's an awfully high negative number for a guy who's been out of politics since losing a gubernatorial primary in 2010. What happened?
A 3-1 backlash against the ad. In the racial breakdown, every group of voters gives the commercial the gong.*
Adding to Hoekstra's difficulties: The dumb ad and the backlash sent powerful Republicans into meditative states, wondering if they should back other candidates. Sen. Mike Lee, the less-famous but most-aggressive of the new Tea Party class, announced at CPAC that he'd back Hoekstra's opponent, Clark Durant. If Hoekstra was an incumbent, this wouldn't even be a hard call; in office, he backed both TARP and the auto bailout. The China ad did him no favors with conservatives while spooking the establishment.