Who’s the Hick?

In West Virginia, Republican businessman John Raese appears poised for a stunning victory over Governor Joe Manchin in the race to replace Robert Byrd in the Senate. Raese is running against the unholy trinity of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, while Manchin would be a reliable left-wing Senate vote. This is an ad the NRSC is running on Raese’s behalf:

The ad is pretty typical for this election season and, I think, pretty effective. But Politico’s Mike Allen, a liberal, has stepped in to lend Governor Manchin a hand. In this Politico piece, he passes on an email that he says “was provided to POLITICO by Democrats.” The email described the actors that were wanted for the ad:

“We are going for a ‘Hicky’ Blue Collar look,” read the casting call for the ad, being aired by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “These characters are from West Virginia so think coal miner/trucker looks.” …
“Clothing Suggestions” included jeans, work boots, flannel shirt, denim shirt, “Dickie’s type jacket with t-shirt underneath,” down-filled vest, “John Deer [sic] hats (not brand new, preferably beat up),” “trucker hats (not brand new, preferably beat up).”

The Manchin campaign, in a coordinated response, claimed that Raese had insulted West Virginians and demanded an apology. But Allen’s story admitted that the NRSC had nothing to do with the “hicky” language:

The casting language did not come from the NRSC.

Neither, needless to say, did it come from John Raese or his campaign. Rather, it originated with a vendor; as far as we know, the employee of the vendor who wrote the “hicky” email is a Democrat. This is a complete non-story, as the Huffington Post admits: “Private Email Supports NRSC’s Claim Of Non-Involvement In ‘Hicky’ Casting Call.”
It is too bad that Politico has collaborated with the Democratic Party in injecting this non-issue into the closing days of the West Virginia campaign, but I doubt that West Virginians will be fooled. These are serious times, and the Democrats’ usual dirty tricks don’t seem to be working this year.

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