George Allen Meltdown Rumors
by Matt Stoller, Tue Sep 26, 2006 at 11:02:00 PM EDT
by Matt Stoller, Tue Sep 26, 2006 at 11:02:00 PM EDT
anyone got a link for this deer in the mailbox story? I haven't read anything about it.
So you'll have to swim around in the TNR soup... or at least I assume so.
Wait, maybe the Deer Head story was in slate. Crap. So many skeletons in Allen's closet I can't even keep them straight.
It was in Salon a couple of days ago: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2006/0 9/24/allen_football/
C-Span has a link to the Salon article on their home page.
I agree with you, Matt. Webb has just thrown Allen a lifeline:
Democratic Senate challenger Jim Webb declined to say definitively Tuesday whether he had ever used a common derogatory term to describe Blacks, stepping carefully after watching his campaign rival confront charges of racism.
"I don't think that there's anyone who grew up around the South that hasn't had the word pass through their lips at one time or another in their life," Webb told reporters.
That was about the worst answer he possibly could have given.
Not really -- you lure Allen out, and then you let others make the attack for you.
It's weak, and people down here in SW are pissed about it. We were talking about it in the office this morning even before I saw the post here.
There are huge numbers of people born in the Old South who were never raised to use racist language or hold racist views - Bill Clinton being one very famous example - and Webb's stereotype of southerners will win him no votes.
The least Webb needs to say, even if he's covering for his own past racist language, is that whether one has ever used that language, it is ALWAYS WRONG to do so, and you need to take responsibility for it. The problem is that we're starting to tire of his inability to at all resemble his "Born Fighting" motto.
Unless you suggest he should settle for "Born Letting Others Win My Fights For Me."
Ok, but at this point it's quite plausible to say that Webb may have uttered the word "nigger" but like my just typing it, there's a huge difference between mentioning the term, knowing it exists, discussing it abstractly and using it pejoritavely.
Better that Webb doesn't deny it, lest someone from his past comes out of the woodwork to make him look a liar.
And there isn't a concrete, simple way to talk about that in the press? I think there is. There's a clear difference between academic dialogue regarding racial slurs and the use of slurs for hateful purposes, and just as easily as I typed it, I could have said it. It doesn't take a speech-writing genius.
Furthermore, the entire conversation is just weak. When your opponent is sinking, you throw the motherfucker an anvil, not non-committal, say-nothing language about his character.
Webb knows perfectly damned well that Allen lacks character, and to simply point that out in a matter-of-fact, no nonsense manner does nothing to hurt Webb, even if allegations about his past are fabricated or actually drummed up by the Allen campaign.
Heh. "Word is from someone I know" stuff. Getting people's hopes up that Allen will quit a race he is leading, only to utterly disappoint and distract everyone when it doesn't happen.
I'll believe it when I see it.
Exactly. He's too egomaniacal to drop out.
Probably still thinks he can win the Presidency.
C'mon Webb, WTF??? This is the Richmond Times-Dispatch's account of the Webb interview from yesterday afternoon:
Webb yesterday declined to question Allen's character given the most recent allegations. "I don't really know him that well. I did vote for him in 2000," he said.
Webb endorsed Allen in the closing days of that Senate race. Asked yesterday if Allen's previous opposition to a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and Allen's Confederate heritage month proclamation as governor had given him pause at that time, Webb said no.He said his endorsement then centered on national-security issues. Allen's proclamation generated controversy because it did not mention blacks or the sacrifices of those who fought against slavery and for the union of the country.
"I don't really know him that well"? That's a really, really disappointing answer from Webb.
Webb is trying to appear above the fray, but its a dumb move. He so busy trying not to offend that he's missing opportunities to solidify the gains that he is making with peo who maybe giving him a first look. I hope it doesn't hurt him that he refused to go full throtle attack. It's not enough to define yourself- you just define your opponent too- and here he defines Allen as someone peo should be okay with in terms of charcter- when in fact most peo will make their decision probably on character and emotions. Diffusion of any of the emotions is a mistake.
I'm not so sure. I think that by trying to stay above the fray, he lets Allen stand squarely alone in front of the bus.
The press, by the nature of their question, are simply trying to 'gotcha' Webb. The press has now latched on to the racism thing and will sell papers and advertising, they're happy.
Remember, this started because a Allen watcher had his camera turned on when Allen decided to insult him. Blogs incubated the story until the press caught on with a 'sellable' issue. Since then Allen's campaign has been in a cascade failure.
Why stand in the way? Why help? They're doing fine on their own.
It seems to me that by not (a)clearly stating that he hasn't used the 'n-word' in the past, and (b)issuing a blanket rhetorical pardon for all (white) southerners for past usage of the term, Webb has placed himself firmly in the way.
Webb is protecting his heinie.
If he comes out and says: "I never used that word in my life," some diehard wingnut wiill swiftboat him and call him out.
What he should have said was:
"I regerst that I probably did at some point when I was younger and more follish. It is one of the greatest regrets I have in my life that I ever used such language, and never spoke out against it at the time.
If I ever uttered that word, in any context other than to condemn it, I am deeply sorry, and understand who wrong it was then, and is now.
I am a different person now, than I was then."
"I'm not interested in this debate. We need to do what is right for this country. If Senator Allen has been racially insensitive, then I think you need to take that up with him. I'm going to focus on how we can end the mess in Iraq that he started."
All that's going to do is excuse Allen for his behavior and turn the attention on Webb. No one is calling on him to apologize, so what sense does it make that he should? I'm at a total loss here. This seems like it would be an incredibly stupid move.
Webb is clearly NOT a racist like Allen, and therefore has nothing to apologize for. He probably has used the word nigger before, but the point isn't that Allen said nigger--it's that he's shown a consistent pattern of endorsing radical white supremacism, and then lied about it.
That's a far cry from saying the N word.
Webb has nothing to apologize for. Allen does.
Wishful thinking. Allen is not going to drop out of the race although he has clearly suffered damage from all of the goings on. There are 5 weeks to election day which is an eternity in politics. Lots could happen b/w now and then.
We're a bit eager and impatient, eh? :)
Been watching Allen since he first ran for public office. I've been his constituent or, as he might say, subject, for every year he's been a legislator or executive. Let me say boldly that the man has had one unwavering principle:
George Allen is entitled to a better job.
You will have to spatula George Allen's hands from the levers of power. His ritual suicide before the grave of J.E.B. Stuart in Richmond's Hollywood Cememtery? That's more believable than his quitting the race. The only way he'd quite is if the national Republicans' Party put a figurative (or literal) gun to his head or enormous bribe in his hands.
Webb has got to get better talking points or something. I am tired of him agreeing with Allen at debates and now he's ok with Allen's character. Webb is going to lose this election himself. How can Allen quit the race? Doesn't he have presidential ambitions? Quitting would ruin his chance. Let's not let these rumors distract us.
Allen will not abandon the Senate race, unless something much worse is revealed. Abandoning the race would be a face-losing admission that he is a racist. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for Webb and Dems), we will have Allen to kick around at least thougth November.
Do not believe those rumours. Allen (R-VA) is indeed in big trouble but his ego would forbid resigning. As would the GOP party because if he resigns, wouln't that give Gov. Kaine (D-VA) the chance to appoint a Democrat to the seat?
Even this rumour actually helps Webb I'd say.
It will be interesting to see how quickly and voiciferously Allen denies this. Any hesitation on his part would confirm he considered it.
It would make sense for him to have considered the option at least - he wants to be president, better to withdraw from the race undefeated than go down electorally in a self-inflicted disaster.
Though, realistically he can't take the option. for his presidential aspirations to have any chance, he needs to win this and win convincingly. 51-49 won't do at all. Withdrawing to save his powder won't save him either.
But the rumour does help webb's supporters and hurt allen's.
I just want to remind everyone that Mark Warner turned down the opportunity to run for this seat. When I was canvassing a Republicans' Party precint last year for Tim Kaine, I found no enthusiasm for Jerry Kilgore among voters whom I was pretty sure pulled the lever for Bush (twice) and Allen (at least once), some interest in Kaine, and a likely interest in just sitting out gubernatorial election. But all those GOP-leaning voters would look at me and say, wistfully, "I wish we could just keep Mark Warner."
I think his presidential run is a longshot, and he's not liberal enough to cause me real joy, but he would beat George Allen like a rug right now. I would have had a harder time predicting that, but it's true.
Wouldn't that be a step down? I thought Gov was generally considered a higher office than Senator. Governors do a lot better at winning Presidential elections anyway, and their's only 50 of them vice 100 senators.
I can understand him not wanting to run for Senate.
That's on my mind, too. My interest in Mark Warner as a potential presidential contender (mild, at best) evaporates completely if Webb fails to take Allen's senate seat. All the polls showed Warner could have had it in a walk. He left Virginia with an awkward choice in the primary between two candidates, each of whom would have had trouble,
to go whoring after presidential delegates and IOU's.
From what I can see, the only reason VA-SEN is in contention at all is because Allen keeps making mistakes. But we could have counted this state as a likely pick-up, with Warner at the head of the ticket, and we could be focused now on shoring up Claire McCaskill and raising money for Bob Menendez or Harold Ford, with a senate majority within reach. That's all on Warner, if Webb fails.
Others might not feel that way, but I do.
Is Mark Warner actively campaigning for Webb, even? Or is he keeping his power dry, to avoid offending Harris Miller's donor base?
Harris Miller has campaigned actively for Webb and has urged his supporters to support Webb. The primary is over.
That's excellent, and sets a good example.
And I'm glad to see Mark Warner lending support to candidates across the country, don't get me wrong.
I just hope he'll find time to actively support Webb, before November.