Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Thoughts On George Allen
I’ve been hesitant to write much about the Virginia senate race lately simply because so much of the controversy making headlines about the race is so juvenile I can hardly attach the “silly” moniker to it. Very little of substance is exchanged between the two camps and in such serious times such pettiness might pass muster on a grade-school playground, but it should not be tolerated in a race for a seat in the United States Senate.
George Allen is, as far as I can tell, a good and decent man and a fairly good politician. I say “fairly good” because he has a tendency to chew shoe leather every now and then and also continues to talk long after the point has been made.
Case and point: The gaffe heard round the Commonwealth centered on Allen’s picking on his opponent’s staffer during a campaign rally. He called the staffer “macaca”. After a frenzied search of what exactly that meant and discovering that some cultures might find it offensive, Allen was branded a racist and a bigot. The (less than) esteemed Washington Post did its level best to keep the story on the front page – or at least the lead section of the political page – for as long as possible.
Then came the Geneology hit. During a debate between Allen and his opponent, Jim Webb, WUSA-TV (DC CBS Affiliate) Newsbabe Peggy Fox asked Allen a question. Mind you, the country is at war, most people are concerned about their physical and economic security. Ms. Fox could’ve asked any number of important and poignant questions. Here was her best shot:
It has been reported your grandfather Felix, whom you were given your middle name for, was Jewish. Could you please tell us whether your forebears include Jews and, if so, at which point Jewish identity might have ended?Would somebody please tell me what the hell a grandfather’s religion has to do with Virginia politics? The answer is, of course, it was a calculated cheap shot to drum up what ever anti-Jewish sentiment there may be among Allen’s supporters. Peggy Fox couldn’t have been more transparent if she were dressed in Saran Wrap.
And finally enter Ken Shelton. Shelton was a receiver on UVa’s football team when Allen was the quarterback in the early 1970’s. Evidently he wasn’t Allen’s favorite target. Maybe Allen hit him too hard on the practice field. Maybe Allen led him with high fast balls over the middle. Whatever the reason, Shelton seems to have a Virtual Memory that rivals Bill Clinton. In a whacked attempt to add fuel to the racist fire, Shelton claims he and Allen drove around late one night and stuffed a severed deer’s head in the mailbox of an African-American family. He is backed up by (surprise) nobody. In an interesting side note, Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics claimed to have first hand knowledge of Allen’s use of racial slurs whilst at UVa. Sabato has since made use of the “revise and extend” journalistic clause and, via email stated:
I didn't personally hear GFA (Allen's initials) say the n-word. My conclusion is based on the very credible testimony I have heard for weeks, mainly from people I personally know and knew in the '70s.Sounds like the 70’s weren’t kind to Sabato. His claims of Allen’s slur use is refuted by three teammates and a coach from that era.
As you can see, little that has been thrown at Allen during this campaign has anything to do with the serious matters confronting this nation. George Allen was a good governor and has been a good Senator for the Commonwealth of Virginia. That’s why I support his candidacy.
And now a few words as to why I won’t vote for his opponent, Jim Webb. Webb’s singular claim to fame is having been selected as Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV). You’ll hear this trumpeted by the MSM to no end – a Reagan guy running as a democrat in Virginia.
Here’s something they won’t tell you. Webb served as SECNAV for 10 months. 10 months out of an eight year presidency. That means there were ships that left their home port under Webb’s predecessor and returned home under Webb’s successor most likely having no knowledge they’d been at sea and missed SECNAV Webb all together. He resigned his SECNAV post because he didn’t get his way and was unwilling to take orders from the Commander-In-Chief.
20 years later, Webb resurrected the Gipper via video and made him the star of his campaign commercial. Nancy Reagan heard this and respectfully requested Webb to pull the ad. Whatever her reasons are, she has the right to dictate how her husband’s likeness and legacy will and will not be used. Has Jim Webb been a gentleman and pulled the ad at the request of the Gipper’s widow?
Short answer – No.
That, dear reader is why he won’t get my vote.
Here endeth the lesson.