Allen Getting Burned on Both Ends

This Hardball clip is just brutal.

A lot of liberals like to think that George Allen is losing because he's a racist.  That's not quite it.  George Allen is losing because he's weak, and it's showing.  I don't usually quote myself, but I don't usually get it this right.  In mid-August I wrote:

The more I think about this racist episode, the worse it looks for Allen.  SusanG points out that no one on the Democratic side will take this apology seriously.  There's some dispute in the comments about racist appeals in Virginia, and whether racism turns right-wing voters off of a candidate.

Here's the thing, though.  Regardless of whether coded racism sells, apologies for not being politically correct do not.  Think about that for a second.  George Allen just apologized to the liberal media, to liberal bloggers, and to liberal Democrats for being insensitive in matters of race.  

I think Mr. Big Tough Republican just knuckled under to the PC police.

And sure enough, the knuckledraggers are angry that Allen is dragging their beloved Confederate Flag through the muck.

Sen. George Allen (news, bio, voting record)'s use of the word "macaca" for a young man of Indian descent forced him to spend the past six weeks disputing claims that his past is littered with racist language and a fondness for Confederate symbols. On Thursday, the furor came full circle when the Sons of Confederate Veterans turned on Allen.

The organization criticized the Republican for saying he had been slow to grasp the pain that Old South symbols like the Confederate flag cause black people.

"The denunciation of the flag to score political points is anathema to our organization," Brag Bowling, immediate past state commander of the SCV, told reporters near the state Capitol, once the Confederacy's seat of government.

Poor Allen.  Even his racist base doesn't like him anymore.

Tags: Dick Wadhams, George Allen, Jim Webb, Senate, Virginia (all tags)

Comments

13 Comments

Re: Allen Getting Burned on Both Ends

Allen's not losing Matt. Maybe he will. But Webb has his own issues to deal with.

by zt155 2006-09-28 07:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Allen Getting Burned on Both Ends

Allen's not losing Matt.

Yes he is.  He is all but stuffed and mounted.  Polling isn't worth a hill of beans when there is rapid movement.

I suppose it is not over but Allen looks like a goner to me.

Webb has his own issues to deal with.

I am troubled by the insistence that Webb must be an unregenerate bigot because of his family history and general upbringing.  The latest attack with the women blaming Webb for the hostility they encountered in the military belongs on Oprah Winfrey more than serious discussion.  When Webb blames his writing on youthful error, I don't see any reason to doubt him.  I am less enchanted by his professed admiration for Reagan and all that entails but it seems allowable.

Webb and I have vast differences in vision and philosophy but there is a bridge.  There is none at all with the odious George Allen.

I sincerely hope you and others find a way to bridge those "issues."  

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-09-28 11:05PM | 0 recs
terry, zt155 is right, Allen is NOT losing......

There is nothing worse we can do right now than get ahead of ourselves or delude ourselves with wishful thinking.

The reality is if the election were held today, Allen WOULD WIN.  Polling DOES matter and demonstrates just that, and recent stuff about Allen's long history of using racial slurs hasn't yet taken hold.  And we can't just assume it will take hold, Allen is playing effective defense with a new ad, about Webb's past comments about women in the military, that is just devastating.  Allen is loaded with money and aired it last night during "Grey's Anatomy," a top national show with a large audience among exactly the kinds of voters Webb must win.  I was watching with my wife--who is a largely apolitical liberal-leaning registered independent--when it came on; we always mute the TV during commercials, but the ad caught her eye enough to activate the volume.  She didn't like Webb much after watching that ad; her first reaction was the same disgust she felt toward Allen for Allen's racism (which is an acute issue for us because I am Indian-American).  Note that my wife is a white highly-educated professional who lived most of her life in the Northern Virginia suburbs (right now we both live and vote in D.C.), and she is exactly the demographic Webb MUST turn out and win in large numbers.  I suspect Allen's ad is having the same effect on a lot of women like my wife, so it's naive to think "Allen is losing."  Webb has to respond hard and fast with a good ad and air it heavily.

by DCCyclone 2006-09-29 05:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Allen Getting Burned on Both Ends

Sorry I think this line of attack on Allen is like waving a stick at a bees nest.  Plenty of Republicans who where not motivated to get out and vote, have now become so.

Repeataly calling Allen a racist is not going to be enough in this political climate.  Especially when Web and Allen are out of the same mold.

The side effect, intended or not, is that it hurts race relations in this country.

by Classical Liberal 2006-09-29 12:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Allen Getting Burned on Both Ends

That's the problem with Allen. First, its the cover-up like the latest witness on Hardball calling him a lier. Second, he's not sure should he stick to his base or go for the moderates in the hopes his base has no choice but to support. Here, Allen swung to the moderates by apologizing. Losing the enthusiasm of his base. Sure, they'll vote for him but will all of them show up at the polls. But the problem is that the moderates don't want a lying racist even if he aplogizes.

This has been the classic Dems quandary. As they became Repub-lite they lost the enthusiasm of the base and the moderates did not want them either as they considered the Dem the wishy-washy candidate who would do anything to get elected.

If Webb had more money he could put Macaca away for good right now. Although Webb's last ad was a killer. He looked and sounded like a real leader.

by ab initio 2006-09-28 07:07PM | 0 recs
Webb: don't get pulled into it; stay with Iraq

I'm a little concerned that Allen's team will be able to spread enough lies about Webb that he'll get pulled into a "aren't both of these guys weird" media frenzy.

In the next few days we'll hopefully have significant coverage of the leaked Congressional report on Abramoff-White House ties, and Woodward's new book and interview on this Sunday's 60 minutes, all of which seems pretty damning and reinforcing of core negatives for the Bush Admin.  

I hope Webb's able to focus on this stuff and keep from being dragged into a "who said what" media- fed pissing match.  He was really good in that Adwatch ad and has so much "reality" to back him up.  I'd hate to see Allen's team succeed in dragging him into their pile of sh*t.

Hopefully others (like this woman) will go after Allen, whose image is being rightfully shredded, while Webb can take the substantive road and hammer on Iraq, etc.  He needs to respond to any accusation with clarity and honesty.  He seems to have a lot more personal integrity than Allen, which should serve him well while Allen's team tries to drag him into a neutralizing battle over who said the "n" word and who's insensitive to minorities, women, etc.

Voters are losing their trust in Allen.  Webb needs to stay on Iraq and add that to the pile of doubt without getting dragged down by a desperate sinking man.  I hope he succeeds.  If we could take that Senate seat and hold on in NJ, things could be looking pretty nice in November.

by mitchipd 2006-09-28 09:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Allen Getting Burned on Both Ends

<quote>A lot of liberals like to think that George Allen is losing because he's a racist.  That's not quite it.  George Allen is losing because he's weak, and it's showing.</quote>

Yup.  It's because he's WEAK.

Really, we need to get him to keep apologizing for the confederate flag thing.  Every time he distances himself from that, he makes himself weaker in the eyes of his base.  (And oh my gosh, he's not just not Southern, he's a Jew, too!!)

What we should do at every opportunity is to challenge him and his defenders for calling Allen's accusers liars.  How dare Ed Gillespie go on Hardball and say that it's just Shelton's word against Allen's!  They should apologize to Shelton, now that we have seen another member of the deer party come forward.

by Dumbo 2006-09-28 11:45PM | 0 recs
High school classmate has many details

On another liberal website someone who went to high school with Allen in Palos Verdes has posted for years that Allen's racism was well known throughout the high school, including spray painting racist graffiti. Supposedly this poster tried to contact Chuck Robb's campaign in 2000 but nothing came of it. Also there are reportedly posts on Classmates.com dating to 2001 dealing with Allen's conduct at that high school.

Today after seeing the woman on Hardball I sent an email including a link to a new post from the other site with the details. Looks like Matthews wants to run with this so it will be interesting if he checks it out.

by jagakid 2006-09-29 12:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Allen Getting Burned on Both Ends

Its a pity, because what we need in this dangerous, complicated world is another dumb, Southern cracker President.

by Bob H 2006-09-29 02:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Allen Getting Burned on Both Ends

If it's hurting him so badly, then why is he not withering in the polls? Perhaps it's because Webb conducts himself with the same non-commital, weak-kneed responses to every problem he faces as well.

We need Webb to start living by his motto if he wants to win this election.

by surfbird007 2006-09-29 05:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Allen Getting Burned on Both Ends

Well, I know that I am going to get burned for writing this and that I probably won't be welcome here after I say what I am thinking but this post really bothered me. I generally agree with Matt Stoller on things and even more often I like the fact that what he writes often makes me think. This post did both of those things right up until the end.

"Poor Allen.  Even his racist base doesn't like him anymore."

Now I am not a member of the SCV, I am not from the south, and I do not personally identify with confederate history. That being said I looked into this organization a little bit and there is nothing in there charter about racism. I have studied the civil war a great deal, (I have a degree in history,) and I know from those studies that most soldiers for the South did not own slaves and did not care about the issue of slavery. They were often good men who were on the wrong and losing side of a bloody war.

I guess my point is this- just because George Allen is a racist and a pig does not mean that we get to call anyone else we want those same things just to make a point. I wonder how many forward thinking southern democrats would be insulted by this post, which basically implied that anyone who descends from confederate soldiers and chooses to acknoweldge and maybe even celebrate that fact is a racist.

Perhaps we all ought to be a little careful that we do not become that which we seek to destroy?

by JDF 2006-09-29 08:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Allen Getting Burned on Both Ends

Webb's consultant, Mudcat Saunders, is a member of SCV.

by Alice Marshall 2006-09-29 09:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Allen Getting Burned on Both Ends

This is ridiculous! An educated US Senator saying things like this as a "youth", then denying it, not to mention the  previous "Macaca" reference. I just donated money to Jim Webb's campaign and will be sending a mass email to my contact list to do the same!  We need to get this seat.

by shoeshine boy 2006-09-29 10:37AM | 0 recs

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