Hix Nix Politix Trix

posted at 12:00 pm on October 10, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Politics and dating have two rules in common.  First, desperation is not an aphrodisiac — and second, don’t leave “hickys” where people can see them. In the latest silly kerfuffle in midterm politics, we have a little of both. A subcontractor for the NRSC requested “hicky” looking actors for a John Raese ad without any such direction from either the NRSC or Raese, and Joe Manchin thinks he can revive his flagging Senatorial ambitions on this issue. Manchin is about to give more hickys to West Virginia than all of the pimply-faced adolescents in the state deliver all year:

Well, look, it’s not exactly out of bounds to leap on embarrassing fumbles of one’s opponents, but one has to do so honestly.  It was neither Raese nor the NRSC that asked for “hicky” actors, or actors from Philadelphia, either.  In fact, both the Huffington Post and Greg Sargent agree that this is much ado about nothing.  Here’s the e-mail from the NRSC’s contractor, Jamestown Associates, to the casting agency it contracted, which never mentions anything about “hicks” of any kind:

Hi Kathy,

So here’s what we need for casting..

2 featured characters that will be talking to each other at a diner, conversation back and forth.  I will send over a script for them to read for the audition.  We will need the auditions by Wednesday  morning at the latest and once we have selected the actors, the shoot will be on Thursday, Sept 30th.  We will also need 5 background characters to fill in the diner.  The rate for the featured actors will be $400/day and $100/day for the background characters.

One male
-         Age about 55.
-         Looking for someone to represent the middle of the country… Ohio, Pittsburgh, West Virginia area
-         Middle class

One male
-         Age about 45
-         Middle class
-         Again, should represent the Ohio, Pittsburgh, West Virginia area of the country

5 background characters:
-         Mother
-         Child
-         Elderly couple
-         20’s-ish male

Let me know if you need any more information.

Kristen

Kristen Holcroft
Production Manager
Jamestown Associates


Nothing in this e-mail even suggests a condescending attitude towards West Virginians, let alone a demand for hicks as representative of the electorate. The casting agency was a subcontractor on the project and never had any connection to either the NRSC or the Raese campaign.

Manchin, of course, can focus on whatever he wants in his campaign advertising. But Manchin runs the risk of losing the one weapon in his political career that put him in position to run in this race, which was his enormous bipartisan approval, if he continues using such a dishonest, superficial, and easily rebutted line of attack as this one. He may hope to damage Raese on the second rule of politics and dating, but Manchin appears to be providing an example of how desperation isn’t an aphrodisiac instead.


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Manchin on FoxNews now running against Obama and repeating the “hickey” line and saying his opponent lives in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Marcus on October 10, 2010 at 12:07 PM

This is all they got?

sandee on October 10, 2010 at 12:08 PM

I hope WV likes having their coal industry destroyed by this clown…

But who are we kidding? These are the same losers who sent a member of the KKK to the Senate for over 50+ years.

tetriskid on October 10, 2010 at 12:10 PM

From my own observation as a resident ‘hick’ of WV, this does not seem to be giving Joe any traction, except for outrage from people who weren’t going to vote for Raese any way. Most people are concerned about how they are going to feed their families, and are less concerned about being called names.

jeffNWV on October 10, 2010 at 12:14 PM

Was Nuttoboy the Special Consultant for the WV actors?

CWforFreedom on October 10, 2010 at 12:16 PM

They tried this crap on Michele Bachmann too- Jim wasn’t even named Jim! Omygod, call the FEC!
Since when is it against the rules to hire actors for commercials?

2ipa on October 10, 2010 at 12:16 PM

The does look desperate and like an attempt to seize on anything to try to gain momentum. When Chrissy Matthews is dismissive of an issue that says a lot.

Hera on October 10, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Aw, Joe, if only you hadn’t changed the rules about that senate seat….

SouthernGent on October 10, 2010 at 12:18 PM

This is the stupidest controversy of them all.

Paul Begala on CNN tried to keep the controversy going. He expects the people you see on political commercials to be “real people1″ he said.
Of all people, it was Roland Martin who slapped him down. “Were Harry and Louise real people?”

Did Paul think Hillary snuck into some poor family’s house to film the 3 am ad?
So stupid. So transparently stupid.

MayBee on October 10, 2010 at 12:19 PM

I hope WV likes having their coal industry destroyed by this clown…

But who are we kidding? These are the same losers who sent a member of the KKK to the Senate for over 50+ years.

tetriskid on October 10, 2010 at 12:10 PM

Insulting the voters isn’t going to help in getting a solid conservative elected to Byrd’s former seat.

forest on October 10, 2010 at 12:22 PM

-         Again, should represent the Ohio, Pittsburgh, West Virginia area of the country

Looks to me like it’s Manchin’s people calling these folks “hicks”.

applebutter on October 10, 2010 at 12:23 PM

This is as stupid as the “outrage” in the contest for Ohio’s 9 district. The Republican, you see, likes to do WW2 re-enactments with a group , and horror of horrors, he dresses up as a Nazi! Well they are all aflutter about this. You can’t have a man who pretends to be a WW2 Nazi as Congressman now can you? It’s perfectly OK to have a real life Socialist as President though….

sandee on October 10, 2010 at 12:25 PM

And those people were TOLD what to say. And paid to do it!

Grasping at straws.

iurockhead on October 10, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Did Paul think Hillary snuck into some poor family’s house to film the 3 am ad?
So stupid. So transparently stupid.

MayBee on October 10, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Speaking of Hillary, the ad came just short of calling the Raese family carpetbaggers. That calls to mind another Sen. by the name of Hillary.

fourdeucer on October 10, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Looks to me like it’s Manchin’s people calling these folks “hicks”.

applebutter on October 10, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Exactly! And if the word “hick” was never mentioned, why was it mentioned and stressed in all the coverage that I’ve seen of this story? I guess it’s that famous, unbiased media.

Jeff on October 10, 2010 at 12:31 PM

…because two middle class men sitting at a counter in a diner in the middle of the country are usually attired in business suits?

James on October 10, 2010 at 12:33 PM

likes to do WW2 re-enactments with a group , and horror of horrors, he dresses up as a Nazi!

Probably not a good idea, does he really re-enact one of the SS regiments? I would suspect he just dons the standard Heer uniform, and people are stupid, grasping at straws…

If he does don an SS uniform, then he deserves to take some flak.

reaganaut on October 10, 2010 at 12:34 PM

reaganaut on October 10, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Actually, I think he does.I still think it is a desperate move on the part of his opponent.I mean if you held a Civil War re-enactment would it be bad to portray the losing side? I just think all this personal destruction cr.p is gonna backfire.

sandee on October 10, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Considering what condescending snobs the Democrats have been for years, I doubt that people will really be all that put off by this. After all, those bitter clingers are used to people making snide comments about their culture.

Terrye on October 10, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Silly NRSC they’re not “Hicks” the proper term is bitter gun and religion clingers.

Caper29 on October 10, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Democrats behave despicably and desperately when they’re ahead. How do you expect them to behave when they’re behind?

rrpjr on October 10, 2010 at 12:56 PM

In the Georgia governor race we have battling geezers on TV. The democratic Roy Barnes has two geezers in a diner trash-talking the Republican Nathan Deal.

Nathan Deal has two different geezers in a diner trash-talking Roy Barnes.

PS Nothing against geezers. I are one.

slickwillie2001 on October 10, 2010 at 1:00 PM

I want to know the political affiliation of “Kathy”, her employees and the other ad agency folks involved.

It has been my experience that 95% of ad people are left of Karl Marx. And that begs the question as to who sent the casting request to the MSM.

So, Conservative politicians and political supporters, thin the herd.
DEMAND confidentiality agreements.
DEMAND a conservative litmus test on the agency and the employees.

I know people that were “laid off” because they were conservative.

barnone on October 10, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Wait a minute, the term “hick” appears nowhere in the note? So it is the Manchin campaign that extracted that interpretation from it? Nice job of projection and showing your true view of you voters, sir!

ya2daup on October 10, 2010 at 1:14 PM

Wait a minute, the term “hick” appears nowhere in the note? So it is the Manchin campaign that extracted that interpretation from it? Nice job of projection and showing your true view of you voters, sir!

ya2daup on October 10, 2010 at 1:14 PM

Acutally, the AD agency or the talent agency sent out a casting note to actors and used the word “Hick”.

barnone on October 10, 2010 at 1:18 PM

Wait a minute, the term “hick” appears nowhere in the note? So it is the Manchin campaign that extracted that interpretation from it

The talent agent put out a casting call looking for “hick-y” people. They are the ones who did the interpretation.

But casting people are a tough bunch. They have to ask for what they are looking for, and describe in in the way they think will get them the look they want. I was just looking at a call for an obese guy with at least B-cup manboobs. It’s a cruel biz.

MayBee on October 10, 2010 at 1:19 PM

This is an issue? Ridiculous!

MCGIRV on October 10, 2010 at 1:54 PM

I saw Joe Manchin on Fox New this morning lying his teeth out about being a fiscal conservative and opposing cap and trade. If WV elects this lying Obama stooge as a US Senator, they deserve all of the misery they are bound to receive.

Philly on October 10, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Looking for someone to represent the middle of the country… Ohio, Pittsburgh, West Virginia area

Pittsburg is the middle of the country?

The east coast has lost it.

percysunshine on October 10, 2010 at 2:03 PM

“Hix Nix Politix Trix” – cute!

KS Rex on October 10, 2010 at 2:11 PM

likes to do WW2 re-enactments with a group , and horror of horrors, he dresses up as a Nazi!

Probably not a good idea, does he really re-enact one of the SS regiments? I would suspect he just dons the standard Heer uniform, and people are stupid, grasping at straws…

If he does don an SS uniform, then he deserves to take some flak.

reaganaut on October 10, 2010 at 12:34 PM

So does this mean that people who do civil war reenactments that dress up as the confederates are racist and wish to bring slavery back.

BruceB on October 10, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Don Surber showed this ad on his blog when it first appeared. The comments were generally surprised at how effective it was, given it was made by NRSC. But there were several comments that the actors essentially were not authentic enuf, by WV standards. Not exactly WV accents there boys. So, dare I say, they were not “hicky” enuf?

humdinger on October 10, 2010 at 3:14 PM

The note says noting about hicks. They need an ad answering this one. Why does Manchin’s people think that representing that area means hickish? Ads are usually shot with actors, union rules.

Haunches on October 10, 2010 at 4:18 PM

Very well done on the title, Ed. Always a pleasure to read your posts.

kim roy on October 10, 2010 at 6:16 PM

I’m a West Virginian. I’m insulted. Raese is a West Virginian…sorta, these days. He ought to know better, and shouldn’t have approved the ad. But he did. The buck stops with him.

The CJ Political Report on October 10, 2010 at 6:23 PM

I’m a West Virginian. I’m insulted. Raese is a West Virginian…sorta, these days. He ought to know better, and shouldn’t have approved the ad. But he did. The buck stops with him.

The CJ Political Report on October 10, 2010 at 6:23 PM

Will this ad affect your vote, one way or the other? And if so, how? Just curious to know… I’m 3000 miles away. :-)

Mary in LA on October 10, 2010 at 6:32 PM

I’m an author/journalist and will be posting a column next week on my blog concerning the WV race. So, look for what I have to say at http://www.thecjpoliticalreport.com. The response I posted here was due to the fact that I thought that Ed had missed a point: Forget the casting call, the ad in and of itself was insulting, yet it was aired with the candidate’s endorsement.

The CJ Political Report on October 10, 2010 at 6:42 PM

Forget the casting call, the ad in and of itself was insulting, yet it was aired with the candidate’s endorsement.

Yea right. The ad itself hits home brutally for Manchin. Raese just needs to keep showing that Joe will be Obama’s boy.
Just wait till the following ad hits the small town airwaves:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqX6tlsedgE&p=349E0929D6B37E00&playnext=1&index=61

humdinger on October 10, 2010 at 9:54 PM

Winner for most painful blog title ever?

TheBlueSite on October 10, 2010 at 11:31 PM

It looks like an effective ad to me. It appeals to the lowest emotion elements, but carpetbagging and hiring Yankees to play Southerners gets some traction in the South.

It’s pretty lame when one examines it, but for those who only watch TV ads to decide who to vote for, it might help. It’s all about branding him as a “furriner.” It won’t swing the election, but who knows, it could cost Riese up to half a point.

Aardvark on October 11, 2010 at 2:37 AM

So stupid. So transparently stupid.

MayBee on October 10, 2010 at 12:19 PM

That is the best description of the Democrat Party I’ve seen. I’ve been searching for this… I’ll probably steal the term “transparently stupid”. Just so you know…

petunia on October 11, 2010 at 3:31 AM

Ed’s got this upside down. Why wouldn’t Manchin run this ad? He’s supposed to give the GOP a mulligan on their stupidity?

This column should be about what a bunch of incompetent, elitest clowns run the NRSC. Does Ed actually believe they bought the ad totally UNSEEN?

Whose the rube here?

rcl on October 11, 2010 at 6:17 AM

This is the fig leaf Manchin is trying to grab onto? Most West Virginians KNOW Manchin will be Reid and Obama’s lap dog when it comes to voting on Cr@p’n'Tax. Rather than being a “gotcha” moment, it only makes Manchin look even more desperate.

olesparkie on October 11, 2010 at 7:28 AM

Nobody said anything about hicks…but the Pittsburgh and Ohio area? Omigod, they’re bringing out-of-state carpetbaggers from Pittsburgh and Ohio to play people from West Virginia! /sarc

Steve Z on October 11, 2010 at 9:48 AM

Pittsburg is the middle of the country?

Yes, it’s a few miles from Ohio. It seems more like West Virginia than like Philadelphia.

SD on October 11, 2010 at 4:37 PM