Joe Manchin is as gifted a politician as I have ever seen. Just one week ago Joe was 5 points behind John Raese in the polls. Now a Public Policy Polling survey puts him ahead 48 to 45. This is primarily due to the hoopla surrounding the “Hicky Ad,” a major faux pa for the Raese campaign. And four other fortunate developments added notches on Manchin’s belt.
One, his “Dead Aim” ad appeals to conservatives in West Virginia. Two, John Raese has come out against the minimum wage, making him look all the more out of touch with working folk. Third, a very popular ex-president, Bill Clinton, has campaigned for Manchin on Monday in Morgantown, W.Va. Fourth, Sarah Palin has endorsed John Raese for the senate seat, but this will boomerang and help Manchin even more.
The “Hicky Ad” has been a political pot of gold for Joe Manchin, and he has milked the ore tacitly from the mine. Major fumble for those Republican strategists who hired actors in Philadelphia to put forth a make-believe good old boy look, sipping java in a greasy-spoon, donning John Deer hats and plaid shirts.
These actors couldn’t have been anymore hoaxy, even if they tried. West Virginians were offended to the core; real working people saw these caricatures of themselves, and thought “this isn’t me, I don’t look like this and I don’t act like this.”
I will opine, this “Hicky Ad” will cost John Raese the election. Raese is from a wealthy and powerful West Virginia family. He has inherited his money, and is completely detached from hard working West Virginians. His family stays in Palm Beach, Florida much of the time and his wife even votes in Florida.
Manchin says: “I’m running against someone who is not to the core a typical West Virginian, and what I mean by that is, he and his family live in Palm Beach, Fla.-a beautiful big mansion. They fly their jets back and forth.”
I live in Texas and we have a similar problem with people wanting to be a Texan. We call them Rhinestone Cowboys-think the Glen Campbell song-shiny boots, pristine blue-jeans, Yankee Bar-B-Que, fake Texan drawl. Never done a day of work in their life on a ranch, an oil well, manned a Bar-B-Que pit or watched Urban Cowboy 500 times for Lone Star fossil fuel.
The first time I saw this “Hicky Ad” I knew this was phony-baloney! And now it turns out that one of the actors has endorsed Manchin; this actor will go down in infamy for answering this casting call.
“Dead Aim” is a good follow-up ad for Manchin as well. Joe comes off as conservative as he can be, but this is good politics in West Virginia, where Barack Obama is not too popular. Joe is supporting Second Amendment rights, wants to repeal the bad parts of Obamacare, is suing the Environmental Protection Agency, and even shoots a target of a cap and trade bill, that’s championed by our Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
Manchin may be over doing it a tidbit in his play on the stomping grounds of the right, but this is good politics. If he can get just a tiny bit more of the conservative vote, he will win on November 2nd. Manchin is certainly a conservative Democrat, but he has to lean mean-right and be chameleon-like, and distance himself from the President, as Raese charges him as guilty of being a “rubber stamp” of Obama.
So having Bill Clinton, an agile southern Democrat, stump for him on Monday was yet another smart move. Clinton’s subtle jab at Raese, implying the counterfeit of the Hicky Ad, was poignant. “Don’t let this guy play you.” The point is John Raese is not the real-deal when it comes to being a native West Virginian.
I don’t believe that Sarah Palin’s endorsement of John Raese will carry any weight. I just don’t see how Palin can resonate in West Virginia. And Raese saying we should eliminate the minimum wage is another untimely gaff that will come back to haunt him (on Halloween). It’s easy to couple it in with the Hicky Ad, where he comes off as a mocker of genuine working people.
Many people are unemployed now in West Virginia, so Raese is telling them you are poor, but you need to be poorer. And we rich Republicans can hire actors from Philadelphia to take your place. You (real blue collar workers) don’t need to play yourself, we can get scabs as caricatures of you.