Playing the terrorist card

October 22, 2010

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The Huffington Post examined yesterday
what could well be a candidate for the second most notorious TV ad of the West Virginia political season: Spike Maynard’s attempt to portray West Virginia House of Rep Nick Rahall as a terrorist sympathizer. (Here’s the first.) Best comment from the HuffPo comment stream to this story: “Nick Rahall is about as much of a terrorist as Jamie Farr…”

The Charleston Gazette’s Paul Nyden also had a story in recent days about the Rahall camp’s reaction to the ad which attacks the congressman for receiving a $600 campaign contribution from Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi, who the ad states “is now in jail for financing terrorism.” Nyden’s story goes on to note:

Maynard’s television ad does not point out that al-Amoudi also made donations to the National Republican Congressional Committee and former President George W. Bush.

To this jaundiced eye, the ad, while certainly playing the tried-and-true terrorist coddling meme from the right, also has the distinctive scent of suggesting Rahall’s Lebanese bloodlines make him ipso facto suspect – as indeed all those folks are over there and anyone who come from there. Worked with Obama’s Kenyan roots.

Fear of the Other is certainly an easier seam to mind in 30 seconds on primetime than, say, more pertinent issues back home. Like, for instance, the future of coal in West Virginia and Maynard’s controversial tries to Massey CEO Don Blankenship. Or for that matter, starting a discussion on Rahall’s own views on mining the mountains and how much more he could do to advance the discussion begun by Sen. Robert C. Byrd about where West Virginia’s coal-fired economy goes from here. I know, I know – we might as well be living in Bizarro World instead of WestVirginiaVille:

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