The Commonwealth Iconoclast

A site dedicated to covering issues relevant to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and nation at large, plus other interesting things too, as I see fit...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Politics and Eternity



What it takes to succeed in politics.

The saga of Senator George Allen and his ups and downs on the campaign trail.

More downs than ups in recent weeks.




I am not going to beat a dead horse… but I will say one thing about the continuing saga of Senator George Allen and his little “macaca” mishap: In politics a few weeks is an eternity.

The story can be reviewed at the ABC News report entitled "The Macaca Heard Round the World."

The expression "macaca" apparently is some kind of monkey and in some circles used as a racial slur... guess we learn something every day. The "monkey" pictured with this post is not actually a "macaca" but is probably more acurately a fair depiction of the political personalities we are talking about.

Indeed, the past few weeks was a dazzling display of just how frail a political career can be.

Here today… gone tomorrow!

Perhaps it is not as bad as that, but this past few weeks has been nothing short of a disaster for junior Senator from Virginia, George F. Allen, all because of few poorly chosen words at a campaign stop in a little place called Breaks, Virginia.

Of course, no one knows this better now than Senator George Allen.

All summer long, Senator Allen enjoyed an enormous poll and money lead over Democratic opponent Jim Webb. The campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate was seen as a mere formality on the road to the Presidency in 2008.

All that heady speculation of becoming the next “Leader of the Free-World” came to an abrupt end on August 11th when the “macaca” mishap erupted.

How bad has the past few weeks been?

Pretty bad! Pretty damned bad!

There are lots of polls and other subjective measures but we will just show you one.

The July Wall Street Journal / Zogby interactive poll showed Allen soundly leading Webb by 10.6 points.

Pause and think about that lead for a minute...

By August, the same poll showed Webb in the lead by 1.3 points.

This is a 11.9 point shift in the same poll in less than 30 days.

Some polls are obviously loaded. Some are fairly objective and attempt to measure what is going on in the real world… oh… maybe we shouldn’t use that expression.

Say what you will about polls, but this is a very dramatic shift in a recognized poll that is not normally known for being all that frivolous.

Considering Allen’s previous history, his impressive cash war chest, his Presidential aspirations… the past several weeks has been nothing short of a disaster.

Allen’s problems started earlier this year with the article in The New Republic. Perhaps this was just a little bump in the road coming from a arguably “liberal leaning” publication.

If that was all the bad news there was, Allen would undoubtedly blow Webb away in November.

But then there was “macaca-gate” and several weeks of bad press in the mainstream media as well as a blistering beating in the blogosphere.

Now, just a couple of days ago (August 29th), The Nation brings up another little problem in an article entitled “Beyond Macaca: The Photograph That Haunts George Allen.”

This article rehashes the entire “macaca-gate” story and then goes on to resurrect the 1996 story of then Governor Allen’s apparent indiscrete posing with a little known organization known as the “Council of Conservative Citizens” , or the CCC. This organization has been characterized as being the successor organization to the segregationist “White Citizens Council” … a white supremacist group.

This is the same organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a “hate group”.

Let us make one thing perfectly clear, the Iconoclast is not calling Senator George Allen a "racist bigot" .

But there are questions.

On the basis of those questions, the Iconoclast is making the observation that what was considered a sure thing just a few weeks ago is no longer a sure thing. Senator Allen is no longer a sure thing.

We also wonder about the company he likes to keep.

Questions of Senator Allen’s suitability to hold a position of political leadership here in Virginia have emerged. We will go so far as to say that the idea of George Allen becoming the next “Leader of the Free World” has all but evaporated.

In our humble opinion, that is just not going to happen.

For the next two months, Senator Allen needs to be thinking about reestablishing his credibility with Virginia voters… and we mean all of them… even those who wear "yellow shirts" and may not otherwise share his own physiological features.

Senator Allen needs to be working on giving the citizens of Virginia some reason why we shouldn’t be turning to Jim Webb as a viable choice for new junior Senator from Virginia.

In all political campaigns, mistakes are made. We have seen that in recent weeks.

Are these little mistakes a symptom of bigger mistakes ahead? How is our government going to treat American citizens on such important issues as education, privacy, health care, economic opportunity, security and old age. What have we learned from this experience?

Think about it...

Let us hope that the monkey that Senator Allen introduced to Virginia Senate Campaign 2005 is not the just another man looking at himself in the mirror.

6 Comments:

  • At 9/01/2006 9:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The wheels are coming of Allen's campaign. Apparently JERRY FALWELL had some (relatively) positive things to say about Jim Webb recently.

    Bad, Bad, news for "Awe Shucks" Georgie!

     
  • At 9/01/2006 1:47 PM, Blogger zen said…

    I guess it's difficult to clearly label Allen a racist, but there certainly is a pattern. If this pattern is not an illustration of racism, then it certainly illustrates very clearly his lack of judgment.
    Either way, he's not qualified to represent Virginians in the US senate. It's really that simple.

     
  • At 9/01/2006 7:31 PM, Anonymous Leo said…

    Who really knows what Allen meant when he invoked the "macaca" term? There are probably a number of viable theories, none of which really make the Senator come off looking too good.

    In viewing the video, it is clear that Allen's comments were not intended as complementary or welcoming to the Webb operative. They were mean spirited and uncalled for.

    Does anyone remember Allen's 1994 comment urging Republicans to "knock their soft teeth down their whinny throats" refering to the Democrat opposition?

    The "macaca" event reminds me a little of that previous insight into Allen's personality. Not a very endearing personality trait.

    Allen loves the sports world where the expression "it doesn't matter if you win or loose" is just some bull shit that people say. Of course it is about winning and, just for fun, crushing your opposition while you are doing it.

    Unfortunately, it is the nature of politics to attract a certain kinds of personality traits. Hyper-charged ambition is not all that uncommon.

     
  • At 9/03/2006 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What is truly amazing is the massive difference in financial resources. Up to now, Webb has had relatively little money for his campaign. Allen has many millions at his disposal. So why is Allen in this predicament? Just think how bad it would be if Webb actually had campaign money.

     
  • At 9/05/2006 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    In recent news report some Allen supporters are touting his performance as governor as a reason to overlook his recently revealed but not new character flaws. As one who lived through the Allen "golden days" as governor, I am amazed that Allen's supporters would bring that up.

    The "golden days" were for the consultants and contractors who cashed in on the precipitous decline in the morale and effectiveness of state government after the Allen purges of some of the most experienced and effective career state workers.

    The so called savings was little more than political spin. End result: taxpayers paid more for less results. We are still paying.

    Even Governor Jim Gilmore was in comparizon, a warm and fuzzy improvement considering the damage the Allen administration did in just four short years.

     
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