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What is "The Real World" of Virginia, Sen. Allen?

(Posted by guest blogger Valerie Strauss)

Sen. George Allen's utterance of the word "macaca" to describe a man of Indian descent has been analyzed and reanalyzed for his intentions, and now his Senate campaign staff is in damage-control mode, as Michael D. Shear and Tim Craig report today in The Post.

Did he intend to be insulting, given that the word actually means a genus of monkey or a racist epithet in France and other European countries? Allen himself said he wasn't and that "macaca" was a play on "Mohawk," a nickname given to S.R. Sidarth by the Allen campaign because of his hairstyle.

Funny how people in the public eye say things and then insist they didn't mean them, then blame something else. Whiskey was to blame for Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic diatribe, Gibson said. Allen says he was misunderstood.
Maybe he was.

It was, however, the rest of what he said to Sidarth that caught my ear. Allen repeatedly pointed at Sidarth (who was videotaping an Allen campaign event on behalf of Allen's opponent, James Webb), called him "macaca" and continued: "Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia." The crowd laughed.

What, senator, did you mean by that? What part of Virginia isn't real enough for you? Could it be the people who weren't born there?

Never mind that America was built by immigrants and in those places that the country is still admired, it is because it is seen as place of opportunity for all kinds of different people. Never mind that America's heart is on the coasts, inland, in the cities and on the farms.

Never mind that Sen. Allen himself didn't grow up in Virginia, and that his own mother gave up French citizenship to become American, though she was reportedly never very comfortable with the choice. As Michael Scherer wrote today on Salon.com:

"Though he doesn't like to use it, the senator's full name is George F. Allen. He gets the middle initial from his grandfather, Felix Lumbrosso, a French-Italian who was incarcerated by the Nazis during World II and raised Allen's mother, Etty, in Tunisia, a French protectorate in North Africa.... Etty spoke five languages around the house."

So, Sen. Allen, what exactly is "the real world of Virginia?"

For the rest of you: Watch the video yourself and see how it plays to you.


By Valerie Strauss |  August 16, 2006; 12:19 PM ET
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Comments

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George Allen is George Wallace without the following. He's reputedly one of the least bright men in the Senate and is a California-born racist to boot. What a bum.

Posted by: Virginia Native | August 16, 2006 12:58 PM

Wow - the footage is really disturbing. When I worked on the Hill, there were some members that, when they started talking off the cuff, we would just brace ourselves. You never knew what they would say -- and what truths about themselves they would reveal.

Posted by: ex cap girl | August 16, 2006 1:05 PM

This is the first time I have ever wished I lived in Virginia, just to vote for a senator who is not George Allen. What an embarrassment. Hopefully exposure of the man's inner self will encourage his downfall. And he will only have himself to thank.

Posted by: dc voter | August 16, 2006 1:10 PM

Jeez, people, you need to get over yourselves. A politician said something dumb! Pandered to his audience! Stop the presses!

And please, liberals, spare us the whining about racism while Mr. KKK Byrd still resides in the Senate.

Posted by: ex-Virginian | August 16, 2006 1:23 PM

Listen to the WHOLE speech and stop knee jerk judging. He meant "welcome outside the Beltway." Geez.
Why is everyone giving the guy with the camera a free pass? He was there as a spy, hoping for a "gotcha" moment. REAL honorable.

Posted by: E | August 16, 2006 1:27 PM

ex-Virginian:
Thanks for admonishing us to get over it and move on. Along these lines, would you care to handicap Allen's '08 (or 12 or 16) chances in a national race?
Loser.

Posted by: Fellow ex-va | August 16, 2006 1:29 PM

"Why is everyone giving the guy with the camera a free pass? He was there as a spy, hoping for a "gotcha" moment. REAL honorable."

Yes, just look at the movie of him in the trench-coat and fedora with his cleverly hidden camera... Why, there ought to be a law in VA against shady characters like that...

Posted by: blaming the victim | August 16, 2006 1:35 PM

"A politician said something dumb! Pandered to his audience!"

His audience? Who would that be? Southern Racists?

IN the 2004 Dem primary, Howard Dean caught a LOT of flack for saying "we need to reach out to those guys with conferedate flags on their pickup trucks".

I have learned two things today:
1) Allen is one of 'those guys'
2) there are some people you cannot reach

Posted by: Deaniac | August 16, 2006 1:51 PM

"America was built by immigrants"?

I thought it was mostly built by people born here: America was built by Americans. Am I missing something?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 2:52 PM

I try to stay away from calling myself exclusively Northern Virginian, but according to Allen, I'm not a true Virginian. It's shame I'm gonna vote for Webb under the anyone-but-Allen theme. Oh well, I tried it with anyone-but-Bush and look how that went?

Posted by: Northern Virginian | August 16, 2006 2:54 PM

America not only was built by immigrants, but it continues to be so.

I think that all the right wingers who still can't admit this don't have to work for a living, because if they'd ever set foot on a job site - ANY job site - they'd know who was digging the ditches and pounding the nails. If they'd ever set foot in an office, they'd know who holds the contracts for cleaning services and maintenance. If they'd ever set foot in a high-tech firm, they'd know that the most brilliant programmers and engineers are coming from other countries.

Now that I think of it, if I were the average conservative with the I.Q. of a mud puddle, I'd also hate immigrants - how can conservatives hope to get a job when so many better-qualified immigrants are ready to go to work?

Since conservatives hate immigrants, then they also hate America, and they should go back to wherever their ancestors emigrated from.

Posted by: Mateo | August 16, 2006 3:00 PM

"the most brilliant programmers and engineers are coming from other countries"

Who's the racist?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 3:02 PM

To the poster above, who wrote:

"'America was built by immigrants'?

I thought it was mostly built by people born here: America was built by Americans. Am I missing something?"

Many of the most cherished buildings in DC were built by slave labor... if those slaves were born here, it wasn't because their forebears came here by choice.

As soon as immigrants come here, their children become Americans. They, their children, and those of us fortunate enough to have been born here, all build America together.

- the child and grandchild of immigrants

Posted by: Post reader | August 16, 2006 3:03 PM

"If they'd ever set foot in a high-tech firm, they'd know that the most brilliant programmers and engineers are coming from other countries."

No, there are some really really good folks coming from other countries. But I teach at one of the best US schools for programmers and engineers (grad and undergrad). The majority of the really good students are US born. Of course the majority of all the students are US born, so that shouldn't be shocking.

My work experience is the same. Lots of good (and very good) people from the US, lots born outside of the US (most of whom have kids that are US born and plan on staying).

Just saying, don't assume US students can't keep up. They do (even if their high schools are significantly weaker on science and math!)


Posted by: Prof | August 16, 2006 3:16 PM

jeez, we got some sensitive people.

Facts:
1) Most people in the US were born here
2) Americans work hard, too.
3) We are smart, too.
3) Thinking that a slowdown in immigration is a good idea does not make you a right wing nut.
4) The Constitution authorized Congress to regulate immigation and naturalization.
5) The people that make up all countries are ancestors of people that moved from someplace else.

(PS. Slavery is bad and it's not super relevant to this discussion)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 3:19 PM

We just can't count (ouch!)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 3:20 PM

We tried to contact his office regarding an immigration issue. As we did not hear from his office, we went his Herndon office. I would not describe is as a public office since it is not easily accessible. Anyhow, I entered to that building but we were not allowed to go to his office. We waited at the lobby and met her immigration specialist during her lunch break. His office was not helpful at all. Never got any reply back to my letter from his office.

Now, it is clear to me why I did not get any reply from his office. I am also an immigrant to this country.

Anyway, continuing my story. After that, I contacted Senator John Warner's office and I received necessary helps from Mr. Warner's office. Thanks.

Posted by: mb | August 16, 2006 3:21 PM

The fact of the matter is that this country was built by immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. Except for the native americans who got here first and settled the continent in large numbers, everyone else is an immigrant.

however, the sad part is that this "nation of immigrants" has never been too welcoming to the newest arrivals. And george allen, in particular, hasn't supported any pro-immigration legislation, so all that this episode reveals are his anti-immigrant tendencies.

unless he does something soon to change his anti-immigrant/anti-minority image, this is going to damage his presidential prospects

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 3:22 PM

Since when does a mohawk look like a mullet? Aren't they almost opposites in hair style?

Posted by: Virginia Values | August 16, 2006 3:24 PM

This is one where you can't have two functional brain cells and support George Felix Allen.
There's pretty strong evidence that Macaca is a racist term that he heard from his mother or members of her family.
When he was questioned about the incident, he tried to cover it by saying that the young man he was speaking to had a Mohawk haircut, even though it's obvious in photographs that he does not have and has not had in recent time a Mohawk haircut.
It is a common practice for political campaigns to assign volunteers to track their opponents; Allen called attention to it in a way that suggests that his campaign is not doing the same thing. That's probably not true.
Allen made a point of saying something that anyone with the intelligence God gave a protozoan would know could be used against him in front of someone he specifically suspected of taping the event for his opponent.
He may or may not be a racist. He may or may not be pandering to his audience. What's not really open to disagreement is that he is stupid and his self-control is inadequate.

Posted by: amstphd | August 16, 2006 3:29 PM

Why is anyone talking about immigrants?

Sidarth is an American citizen who was born and raised in Virginia.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 3:32 PM

Why do conservatives hate America so much? That's one question I'd like the wingnuts to answer. There's no such thing as America without immigrants and immigration, so why do you want to destroy America? Are conservatives terrorist sympathizers? I'm begnning to think they are.

Since Republicans and conservatives hate America for what it is, they should leave and start their own country of bigots, xenophobes and war mongers. George Allen can be your first president, Rush Limbaugh can be your UN ambassador and Ann Coulter can be your secretary of state. Conservatives already believe they don't need a Congress or court system, so that should be plenty of government.

Hell, I'll even pay for your plane ticket.

Posted by: Mateo | August 16, 2006 3:33 PM

Wasn't it the liberal labor unions that didn't want immigration but the conservatives wanted more of it ,especially guest workers and illegal immigration, becuase it would lower the costs of labor? It's the conservatives that workers that can't vote.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 3:35 PM

Apparently all modern political campaigns have what they call "trackers" who shadow the opponent to record speeches and try to catch gaffes, or just to see if the candidate tailors the message to fit the venue. This is quite usual and quite legal. Senator Allen has people doing the same thing for him. They are not "spies" or "sneaks" or "hired guns" and that aspect of this episode is not newsworthy. The only thing of interest here is what and why Allen said and did what he said and did. For that, each person should watch the video and decide for themselves. The purpose of his actions and words seems to me to be to denigrate and intimidate the young man and to have a laugh with his supporters at his expense. Others may differ.

Then there is the whole "real Virginia" business. This I see as pandering to that portion of the commonwealth that, although perfectly happy to accept the tax monies of Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax, will not acknowledge the people who pay those taxes as fellow Virginians because of the way they look or talk or think.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 16, 2006 3:44 PM

Yeah, it's, um, liberal labor unions standing gun-to-gun with the right-wing Republican Minute Men down in Texas and Arizona ... it's liberal labor unions who, like Sean Hannity, want to round up Muslims and make them wait in special lines at the airport ... it's liberal labor unions who, like real, live Republican candidates for Congress in Arkansas, Missouri, Colorado, Arizona, Washington and Idaho, think it should be illegal to display the Mexican flag or speak spanish in public facilities or provide any services to immigrants.

Labor unions are pretty integrated and wouldn't last a minute opposing immigration. Get your facts straight.

Republicans are the southern bigot Dixiecrats of our era, everybody knows it, I don't understand why the GOP doesn't just adopt the "separate but equal/Jim Crow was right" slogan to their platform since everyone knows it's what Republicans stand for. George Allen just said so.

Posted by: Mateo | August 16, 2006 4:14 PM

The central point of this conversation is and should always be: Does a man that calls a dark skinned person a monkey deserve to represent the great state of Virginia in the US Senate?

Posted by: Falls Church | August 16, 2006 4:16 PM

On immigration generally, Americans want less, not more, immigration. Only twenty-six percent said immigrants were assimilating fine and that immigration should continue at current levels, compared to sixty-seven percent who said immigration should be reduced so we can assimilate those already here. [ source : http://www.cis.org/articles/2006/2006poll.html ]. Gee, it looks like the issue cuts across partisan lines.

"The time has come to reduce immigration .." - 61% of Liberals agree, 72% of conservatives agree.

Mateo?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 4:28 PM

I'm also puzzled about this whole discussion on immigration. Sidarth is not an immigrant. He was born in the United States. Why would Ms. Valerie Strauss bring up immigration in this column? Was she making the common mistaken assumption that any Indian or Middle Eastern person living in the US must be an immigrant?

Posted by: Not about Immigration | August 16, 2006 4:46 PM

Love your blogs, Valerie!

Posted by: President Allen is toast | August 16, 2006 4:51 PM

Sidarth (vader?) and George Felix are both the children of immigrants. Yeah, it's not a big deal. Both are okay cuz of that. American doesn't necessarily look like either of them: it's a whole bunch of blotches and patterns.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 4:52 PM

Valerie did not bring up immigration because she assumed Sidarth was an immigrant. She brought up immigration because Senator Allen "welcomed" Sidharth to America. This only highlights Allen's insensitivity.

Posted by: dc voter | August 16, 2006 4:52 PM

Why does Senator Allen have a racist term used on white supremacist websites in the back of his head?

Posted by: californian | August 16, 2006 4:53 PM

It would be interesting to know how many people of color Allen employs...

Posted by: bob | August 16, 2006 4:54 PM

dcvoter has it right: I did not bring up immigration because I assumed he was an immigrant but rather because Allen welcomed him to America.

And, of course, both first-generation immigrants and native-born Americans helped build this country. In this relatively young country, all of our ancestors came from somewhere else.


Posted by: Valerie Strauss | August 16, 2006 5:04 PM

Was there any explanation from Allen's people about what "macaca" has to do with a mohawk haircut? Has the Webb guy had his hair cut recently? He doesn't have a mohawk in the pic in the story.

Posted by: Daisy Moses | August 16, 2006 5:40 PM

Well Bob, while I am not a paid employee, I do volunteer for Allen. And I'm black. I intend to keep volunteering for him.

I've been on both sides of the political fence, so to speak. And one thing I've learned: NO party is more or less racist. Democrats may think they are being all holier than thou by pushing for social benefits for minorities, giving "support" to various minority community leaders (i.e Al Sharpton), etc. But ingrained within those seemingly kind-hearted acts persists a notion similar to the "white man's burden" arguement. Namely that minorities can't help themselves. The republicans are guilty too. So cut the crap, liberals/dems. We're all in the same boat (no pun intended).

And, on another thing. We're all racists to some degree. Racism is not an absolutism, an "either you are or you aren't" type thing. It operates more along the lines of a spectrum. I'm black and I openly admit to holding some racist notions. Not proud of it, but it is what it is.

Allen just needs to use some more common sense from now on.

Posted by: lexisnexis | August 16, 2006 5:44 PM

What a coward Allen is. I dare him to make such a "cute" comment in Northern Virginia! For a sitting sentor to have to resort to such a low - he obviously knew he'd fire up that particular crowd that day by mocking a person of color, because of his color.

The video disgusted me; Allen was clearly being hostile because of the young man's ethnicity. Why should a Virginian have to be insulted because he or she is not white? Not in 2006! I had not planned to vote in this race (or third-party if I did), but Webb has got my vote now.

Posted by: bobby k | August 16, 2006 5:50 PM

lexisnexis--I hate that I have to agree with you about racism, but I'm afraid you're right.
Let's put what you seem to regard as the non-issue of racism out of the way. Was what Allen said a demonstration of the intelligence, judgment, and discipline you expect from those you entrust with high office?
I'm anxious to get an Allen supporter's take on this.

Posted by: amstphd | August 16, 2006 5:59 PM

How many generations does it take Senator Allen to be accepted as a Virginian?

I remember my boss, whose ancestors came many generations ago to Illinois, USA, saying to me "you know we (i.e. he and his wife" will never be accepted by the Virginia society".

He was a distinguished physician who came to UVa from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

Is that the "real world" that you seek to represent Senator Allen?

Heaven forbid that you may occupy the White House one day.

And, oh yes, God Bless America, Senator Allen.

Posted by: Madan Varma | August 16, 2006 6:09 PM

Amstphd - Of course what Allen said was mean, foolish, and showed a moment of poor judgement and self-dicipline. But come on, we can't all act like we haven't said or done something that in hindsight was completely wrong. What he said was wrong, clearly, but I don't think it negates an entire political career that he has built. I'm not saying to "give the guy a break," but one moment does not a man make.

Plus, I don't see his perceived racism as a non-issue. I'm just saying that for all of the people that have puported to be "shocked" "outraged" and "angered" by his comments, I see those as empty words. Because, lets be honest...we all clutch our bags a little closer when a group of black men come on the metro, we all yell out (in the confines of our cars) "Damn foreigners can't drive!" when we're stuck behind a slow driver who appears to be non-white. We all have said, at some point, either to ourselves or outloud, some ethnic slur or laughed at a racist joke. And, if you've ever read the postings of DC's Craigslist rants and raves section, you know the kind of things people say when cloaked in anonymity.

And another problem I see that hasn't been addressed: why hasn't anyone raised questions as to why no-one in the audience did anything? Granted, most probably didn't know what the term meant, but the fact that they all laughed indicates that they knew it was, at the very least, a word Allen was using to make fun of the kid. No one stood up for the kid there, no one yelled out to Allen to cut it out...nothing of the sort happened.

So yes, what Allen said was wrong, but what does it say about American society when we witness that type of behavior and do nothing about it? Much less laugh along? We have a long way to go. We ALL, red-state hicks and effete blue-staters, have a long way to go.

Posted by: lexisnexis | August 16, 2006 7:52 PM

Thanks, lexisnexis. I appreciate the response. As for what "we all" do, I think you're overgeneralizing; I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I tend to think in terms of intelligence rather than race or ethnicity when I'm irritated by someone else. Some of my students would tell you that I can't even manage racial epithets even when I'm quoting from a work of literature that uses them. So I don't think I should forgive Allen for behavior I wouldn't allow myself. Educators have to learn to avoid utterances that might be misconstrued, and I don't think it's too much to expect of a politician. I suspect that if I made a statement like Allen's in the classroom, my twenty years in the classroom would go out the window in a hurry--never mind the national and international recognition I've earned or my long term contract. Moreover, if we hope to end racism, we've got to stop permitting racist acts because so many people have racist ideas or racist worldviews. And I certainly don't think we should support any candidate who speaks to the lowest common denominator.
As for why the crowd did nothing but laugh, keep in mind that it was a partisan gathering in a part of Virginia no known for the high educational attainments of its residents. I wonder how Allen might have reacted if they had called him on his behavior.
I can't remember the source of the quotation, but in a democracy, people get the government they deserve. I think Virginians deserve much better than George Felix Allen.

Posted by: amstphd | August 16, 2006 8:30 PM

All Americans deserve better politicians, period.

Posted by: lexisnexis | August 16, 2006 9:12 PM

Allen was insensitive and a little mean.

I know lots of politicians who are just like that. Say dumb things, apologize, and move on. Biden, Lott, etc., etc. I'm not excusing the remark by Allen, I just think this whole issue has gotten a little out of hand.

By the way, I used to work for then Assistant Secretary Webb. Webb was insensitive and a little mean. Women DoD staffers did not like him one bit, and he has a written history of bashing women in combat, etc. Actually, come to think of it, we all celebrated a little when Webb "moved on" to DoN. He was a little napoleonic, and I cannot believe he has changed THAT much.

As far as real America and/or real Virginia, the beltway sure is not real America. Bristol, Staunton, etc. is real Virginia. Generations of families, completely unlike Northern Virginia--mostly transplants. That's why so many of you youngsters just don't get it, you never will--people in Virginia like George Allen because he is different, which makes him so much more appealing than Hollywood James.

Posted by: John in Fairfax City | August 16, 2006 9:47 PM

John in Fairfax city is the "real Virginia" that soon-to-be-former Sen. Allen is appealing to. I'll note that the two communities he mentions (Bristol and Staunton) and their counties, total less than 1/5 of the population of Northern Va. Virginians need to wake up to the fact that "Real Virginia" is Virginia in 2006, not 1861. Just because your grandparents didn't own a farm there, doesn't mean you're not a real Virginian.

But, for those "real Virginians" - I'll leave Rob Corddry's quote last night - "I'm not sure what Macaca is - but I'm pretty sure it's racist. And in this part of Virginia, we're not sure if that helps or hurts a campaign."

For the rest of the state, and the world, both inside and outside the Beltway, hopefully, this shows us what Sen. Allen is made of.

Posted by: Joe who grew up in Va | August 16, 2006 11:40 PM

Allen is doubly-xenophobic: to Mr. Sidarth and to the people of the southwest Virginia. For Allen to play on both racial and regional stereotypes in the space of a minute reveals a troubling look into his psyche.

What Allen seems to miss is that the real Virginia is all of us--from mountains to coast, cities, towns, and farms. That's what makes Virginia so great really. I grew up in Wise, where we studied Virginia history in 4th grade and took field trips to Jamestown and Richmond and DC--although we are closer to (I think) 5 other state captials. We learned that the commonwealth's diversity was its strength--that it, indeed, was a common-wealth. In high school there, two of my best friends were of Indian descent. My point is that in southwest VA, we all don't think that racism or regionalism is OK. We all are not the xenophobes that Allen would have us be.

It was good to see Webb today contest Allen's contentions. Webb actually has people in southwest VA; the first two words of his book _Born Fighting_ are "Gate City"; Sidarth stayed with Webb's cousins the night before the incident. Is it possible for Webb (or anyone) to bridge the space between Southwest and Northern Virginia? Of course, it is. We are and ought to be one Virginia -- that I believe is the real Virginia. We ought to be represented by a Senator that will represent all of us: our diverse interests, our diversity. Allen is not that Senator. Webb might just be.

Posted by: rek | August 17, 2006 2:28 AM

More and more, it's comments such as these that make me believe that the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William, as well as Alexandria and the cities within those counties, should secede from what Allen calls the "real" Virginia. Let's see how well it succeeds without northern Virginia's tax revenue, and let northern Virginia be able to take care of projects such as Metro expansion without interference from those backward southerners in the Assembly down in Richmond.

Posted by: Vincent | August 17, 2006 7:03 AM

Hey, we racists deserve representation, too. After all, there are more of us than there are of you.

Posted by: For Robb | August 17, 2006 7:39 AM

"For Robb" has a good point. It follows Valerie's excellent suggestion that "I just think we would be better off if more of us tried harder to make what we already have work."

What we need are more leaders like the racist African-American politicians we have here in the District who are devoted to holding on to racism and making it work better.

Posted by: Against Change | August 17, 2006 8:46 AM

Well, I'm a native Virginian, 67 years, as a matter of fact. There is no definitive "real world of Virginia" any more. People move here to work, to be educated, to retire. After a while, if they decide to stay, they consider themselves Virginians. Seems reasonable to me.

Even more reasonable to me is the hope that Allen's blunder is enough to eliminate him from consideration as a possible presidential candidate.

However

Consider this (I know I'm using "consider" frequently, but I like the word, it fits):

George Allen has served in the shadow of John Warner. John Warner eventually will retire. Is George Allen "Senior Senator" material for the Commonwealth?

Is Webb?

Who will replace Warner?

All in the real world of Virginia. Something to think about...

For starters, I'm voting for Webb.

Posted by: Vintage Lady | August 17, 2006 9:09 AM

Vincent: How nice for your comment to follow mine. Northern Virginia should secede from the rest of us? The poor and the idiotic should be consigned to places down south? Good grief. Though I was born and raised near the Kentucky border, I'm as much as a Virginian as you are. Same goes for people in Danville, Warsaw, Hampton, and Covington. The talk of regional division is exactly the poison Allen wants (and needs, if he wants to get elected) to spread. Hey, I don't like Allen and his racist politics, but if Dems aren't careful, the regionalism will kick in and override anything rational. If it hasn't already.

Posted by: rek | August 17, 2006 2:14 PM

What boggles me is why it took 2 reporters to write this stupid article--and on the front page?

The Washington Post=a bunch of macacas.

Posted by: Jay | August 17, 2006 3:12 PM

Anyone with more than two functioning brain cells who has read news stories on George Felix Allen for longer than the past two weeks should not be surprised by Allen's comments. George Felix Allen is the personification of the bully in an all white fraternity.

Anyone who supports him -- I'm talking to YOU, lexisnexis -- is either a bigot or a fool.

Posted by: Mister Methane | August 17, 2006 10:58 PM

So, let me guess- we wont hear a word from mr. fisher about the comments andrew young, so-called "civil rights leader" said about jews,arabs, etc.

Posted by: washington dc | August 18, 2006 2:33 PM

wow, lexisnexis you're stereotyping is really amazing. blue staters are effete and red staters are hicks. let me guess, black men are good dancers and white men can't jump. racism is bad no matter who says it and they should be called on by their supporters. i'm sure that it would really hearten ole george to know that you're supporting him despite his little slip. would you feel the same way if he used a different word like ni*r? how about if good ole george had held up a noose and "jokingly" mentioned lynching. afterall, good ole george kept a nooose in his office until it became politically expedient to remove it.

i'm sorry but george allen is just a little too brokeback mountain to suit me. i mean he tries to hard to be that big strong cowboy that it just doesn't sit right me.

Posted by: quark | August 18, 2006 3:36 PM

i would say there is a difference between allen's comments and andrew young's, albeit slight. young is not an elected official--AND he had the smarts to step down after such an egregious statement. who knows what mr. fisher will address when he is back, but the allen news story is of more significance at the moment than young's resignation (though i am glad he resigned after such an idiotic statement).

Posted by: dc voter | August 18, 2006 4:49 PM

As a black man who lived in Virginia when Allen first ran for office, I knew then what all of you have since discovered; Allen is a bully and a racist unfit for public office. A noose, a love for the Confederate flag were enough for me. I often have to check myself to ensure that I am not being overly sensitive to what I sometimes percieve as racism but as I get older I become more convinced that I am not being overy sensitive and that what I feel is what it is.

Posted by: Allen is a racist | August 21, 2006 11:56 AM

Not only is Allen obviously a racist, but a chicken**** liar to boot. He doesn't know why he said it or what it means? Funny. His mother is of Tunisian descent the the term comes from that part of the world. Hmmmm......

Posted by: Twang | August 21, 2006 3:18 PM

If upstate and downstate New York can learn to work together despite their long antagonism (continually new immigrant populations in the City v. age-old Dutch and English plutocracy in the hinterlands), then so can Virginia.

As much as I love the idea that the state would split and the northern part secede (maybe it would be a new state of Washington, D.C.!)...

Posted by: Maritza | August 21, 2006 4:25 PM

The problem with both sides is a typical 20th century American one. Instant results! In the end neither George Allen not the student he insulted are "real" Tuckahoes. , i.e Virginians. BUT, GIVEN TIME THEIR DESCENDENTS WILL BE.

Being a Virginian is not as simple as stating "I'm a Virginian."

You have to grow up with some history, your parents and granparents have to have endured at least 20 VA summers.

In other words, VA identity is not a microwave dinner you can cook up in 4 minutes or less

Posted by: A real tuckahoe | September 3, 2006 3:43 AM

I can't believe that so many american are blinded by the growing problem of a violent and foolish race of people. Yes I know there are smart and foolish people in all races but...by and large, blacks are a violent and descraceful people by the numbers. Let us stop shouting hate and face the facts. We created the problem and its growing out of control. Dont blame George Allen for the thoughts of many Right Wing Decent people in america and in the rest of the world

Posted by: Jimmy | September 28, 2006 5:25 PM

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