Senator George Allen has a notoriously dubious history, one that pretty strongly suggests that he’s some kind of racist. Given that history, what is one to make of his explanation for yesterday’s antics?
You can see the film of Sen. Allen making at least a xenophobic if not racist comment about an aide to Democratic challenger Jim Webb — the clip is embedded in the Washington Post’s description of the gaffe, Allen Quip Provokes Outrage, Apology. S.R. Sidarth, a volunteer with the Webb campaign, was dogging the Allen campaign when Sen. Allen called the him a “macaca” — presumably a derogatory reference to either his dark skin or his Indian ancestry.
OK. That’s pretty dumb. On camera. But what really caught my eye was how the Allen campaign reacted to reporters’ questions.
Step one: “Allen’s campaign manager dismissed the issue with an expletive and insisted the senator has “nothing to apologize for.”
Step two: when it becomes clear this isn’t going away. Issue a statement described as an apology:
“Not many people in southwest Virginia would think it is derogatory,” Griffith said. “I didn’t have a clue what it meant, and I doubt Allen did, either.”
That’s right — one of the names often mentioned as a leading right-wing presidential candidate is explaining away his offensive remarks by saying he goes around giving public speeches saying stuff he doesn’t “have a clue what it meant.” (The other part, suggesting that people in a part of the state not noted for progressive racial views wouldn’t have a problem isn’t exactly an apology either.)
George Allen not only admits he doesn’t have a clue, he admits he says stuff he doesn’t understand.
Nah. Looks to me that the George Allen of old — the guy who used to affect a racist redneck persona, the guy who kept not just a Confederate flag but a noose in his office — got down to southern Va. and let down his hair. He relaxed among the good ol’ boys — Mr. Sidarth was the only dark face in the crowd — and let it rip.