In March 1997, the cover of National Review featured President William Jefferson Clinton, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Vice President Al Gore, all in yellowface. The president, portrayed as a Chinese houseboy -- buck-toothed, squinty-eyed and pigtailed, wearing a straw "coolie" hat -- serves coffee. The first lady, similarly buck-toothed and squinty-eyed, outfitted as a Maoist Red Guard, brandishes a "Little Red Book," while the vice president, robed as Buddhist priest, beatifically proffers a begging bowl already stuffed with money.
In using the yellowface cartoon to illustrate a story about alleged political corruption, the editors of National Review simultaneously emphasized their racial point and revived a tradition of racial grotesques that had illustrated broadsides, editorials, and diatribes against Asians in America since the mid-nineteenth century. The cover story summarized allegations that the Clinton administration had solicited campaign donations from Asian contributors in exchange for policy favors. These allegations virtually ignored the much larger illegal campaign contributions of non-Asians and focused almost exclusively on Asian and Asian American contributors. 1 Like most of the mainstream media, National Review was silent on the broader questions: the impact of multinational corporations on American politics and the baleful influence of big money on big politics. National Review instead played the race