I feel duty-bound to engage in a five-alarm partisan freakout, especially after the left’s doofy adoration of her parable of The Rich Man and the Factory, but she’s clearly joking about her own image. She was born and raised in Oklahoma City yet Scott Brown’s campaign will frame her as an avatar of snotty ivy-tower liberalism (remember when she sneered at him for paying his way through school with a Cosmo layout?), so now she’s having fun with the tension in those two identities. Quote via ABC:

“I’m a new category, an elite hick,” said Warren, on the “Left Ahead” podcast. “I don’t even know what to say about that one,” she said, laughing.

Hot Mike Ball then came back to the word “hick,” saying he had been called that in his lifetime too.

“If you’re going to be in the Senate, and we would like you to, as a fellow person who was born in Oklahoma and raised in West Virginia, I’ve been called a hick myself a lot. I’ve got to say I’d love to see you in office,” said Ball.

“I’m going for the hick vote here,” Warren answered. “I just want you to know. Maybe we could start wearing stickers that say ‘Hicks for Elizabeth’ – could we do that?” she asked.

Reminds me a bit of how Haley Barbour sometimes calls himself a “fat redneck” to mock his own public image. The difference is, whereas Barbour is winking at the fact that he’s the opposite of the fat redneck stereotype — he’s one of the canniest operators in Washington, needless to say — I think Warren really would like people to see more of the “hick” side of her. “Fat rednecks” hold plenty of populist charm for voters; bespectacled Harvard professors, not so much. The “hick” joke, I think, is her sly way of trying to get the media to write more about her southern roots so that she can leverage a little of that Barbour-esque authenticity.

Or maybe I’m wrong and the whole thing will backfire as Massachusetts’s “hick” demographic revolts. Exit question: Er, does Massachusetts have “hicks”?