Why George Allen Fears the Free and Open Internet

(Crossposted on both the Forward Together PAC blog and Daily Kos. Yep, I'm feeling shameless.) (I work for Gov. Mark Warner's Forward Together PAC.)

You may have heard that Virginia Senator George Allen got into a bit of hot water this week for referring to an opponent's campaign volunteer using a derogatory term, at a campaign stop at Breaks Interstate Park in Southwest Virginia. The Senator singled out a young Virginia-born Indian-American volunteer who was videotaping the event, calling on the crowd to "give a welcome to Macaca." It's not entirely clear what Allen meant by "macaca,"though the word has a history as a racial epithet in French-speaking Africa, coming from the word macaque, a genus of monkey. Senator Allen followed the greeting by telling the young volunteer, "welcome to America."

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George Allen Continues to Be on Defense

Yesterday George Allen brought in one of the Republican Party's big guns, John McCain, for an event billed as a show of veterans' support for Allen's reelection bid. No doubt this event was seen as an opportunity to divert public attention away from the story brewing since late last week regarding a (possible) racial slur the Senator threw at a supporter of Democrat Jim Webb of South Asian descent. However, Senator McCain had a bit of trouble staying on message, apparently, as Jim Hodges reports for the Newport News Daily Press.

Maybe somebody should have clued in Sen. John McCain.

First, Sen. George Allen, R-Va., wound up a few dozen veterans with a "we win, they lose, there's no substitute victory" strategy for Iraq, then McCain followed with a joke about a monkey flying an airplane.

McCain, R-Ariz., was in town Wednesday night to lure some votes for his Republican colleague, Allen, who has heard enough monkey jokes lately. Especially since a report was unearthed that he used "macaca" in reference to S.R. Sidarth, a worker of Indian descendent for the campaign of Allen's Democratic opponent, Jim Webb.

Macaca is a genus of monkey.

As stunning as McCain's poor taste and apparent dearth of comedic talent were (particularly given Jon Stewart's penchant for swooning over the Arizona Senator), there was another aspect of the event that bodes even less well for both McCain and Allen: no one cared enough about either of them to show up.

The evening was billed as a "veterans for Allen" rally, but the hotel's conference room was less than half-filled, even after a phone push for a larger turnout. Veterans came from as far away as Colonial Heights, but their numbers were little greater than the reporters and camera people who were there.

As it was, the rally started 10 minutes late and finished more than 20 minute early, according to a campaign worker's schedule. [emphasis added]

It's August in Virginia. It's extremely warm and muggy. People are loath to get out of the air conditioning, even to walk to and from their car on the way to a political event. But neither George Allen nor John McCain -- who are considered two of the leading contenders for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination (and perhaps the two leading contenders) -- could bring in more supporters to an event than media? Even after "a phone push for a larger turnout"? If that doesn't say something about the current slate of Republican White House contenders and the current state of the George Allen reelection campaign, I don't know what does.

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George Allen Doesn't Mean What He Says

From Roll Call, 3/7/2005, in the 'Heard on the Hill' column:

An HOH informant overheard Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) telling Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) in flowery language unbecoming of a Senator (though not up to Vice President Cheney's standards of floweriness) that, basically, he doesn't care about revitalizing distressed neighborhoods.

As Allen and Roberts were walking toward the Senate subway, our informant heard Allen say, "I don't give a shit about Community Development Block Grants. Virginia doesn't see any of that money." Such grants are being squeezed in President Bush's budget, to the alarm of many urban advocates and some Members of Congress.

Did Allen really say that? Not exactly, according to Allen's press secretary, David Snepp, who snapped (in good humor), "Your source is wrong, as usual." Ouch, Dave-O!

Snepp said the Senators were talking about football, not Community Development Block Grants. And no bad words were uttered, he said.

"What Sen. Allen actually said was that 'I don't give a Dip about immunity for those who chop block Darnerien McCants. Virginia doesn't think that's very funny,'" Snepp deadpanned.
Oh, now we get it. Shit, dip. Block grants, chop blocks. Community, immunity. Funny, money. We can see how our informant totally fouled that up.

Allen has always been a weak-willed man too sloppy to stand behind what he says.  He's also a racist.  

The Macaca incident could really ding him.

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Beyond Macaca - Allen's Old Politics and the Rising New Virginia

Beyond "macaca" -- George Allen was clearly playing to the politics of division and racism in Southwest Virginia 2 or 3 or 4 explanations or apologies ago.  I can't wait for his next explanation, I hope, whatever it is it's enough to make the front page of the Washington Post (as printed) for the third day in a row.  

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Where's Junior: On Racism

X-posted from Xpatriated Texan

I wrote briefly over at Mid-Term Madness about Republican incumbent Senator George Allen's recent racist remarks towards a young man with dark skin.  Apparently, in Allen's world, everyone who is darker than Beige number 5 is not really an American.  To make matters worse, the term was actually French slang and, drum roll, Mr. Allen has a French Tunisian mother.  So he knew full well what he was saying and what it referred to.  He just thought he was sly enough for the entire world not to know.

As the events continue to unfold - and I'm still not positive that the use of a racial slur will hurt him among some of the Republican base in Virginia - it's dawned on me that this is actually becoming a trend in Republican circles.

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