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Virginia: Much Ado About "Macaca"

By now, serious political junkies are aware of the rhetorical blunder that Virginia Sen. George Allen (R) committed on the campaign trail recently.

Sen. George Allen
Did Sen. Allen ruin his White House chances? (AP Photo)

If you're not up to speed, Allen referred to a staffer for his Democratic opponent as "macaca" and went on to welcome him to America. The staffer, who was trailing Allen with a video camera, is of South Asian descent. Hence the controversy. (Watch the video of Allen's remarks here.)

Allen apologized for the incident yesterday. But what does "macaca-gate" mean -- if anything -- for the senator's 2008 presidential aspirations?

From the start, we've believed that Jim Webb's challenge to Allen carried the possibility of major risks and rewards for Allen's national aspirations. Beat Webb convincingly this year and Allen can make the case to Republican activists that he knows how to run against a Democrat who made the war in Iraq a central issue of the campaign -- likely to be a major theme of the '08 general election as well. Struggle against Webb and Allen's presidential prospects could well be jeopardized; lose and his national candidacy is over.

Allen now finds himself in a real race against Webb (although he remains the favorite), so every move he makes on the campaign trail is scrutinized. That scrutiny is only exacerbated now because the last two weeks of August are notoriously slow on the news front -- making the macaca remark front-page news in The Washington Post and the subject of an editorial as well.

Unfortunately for Allen, the comments also play into a growing storyline about his capacity for racial tolerance. Since Allen was elected governor of Virginia (way back in 1993), there have been lingering questions about his love for the Old South and -- by extension -- the Confederate flag.

Earlier this year the New Republic's Ryan Lizza penned a story that meticulously detailed Allen's infatuation with the Stars and Bars. (Lizza followed his initial story with a second offering even more details.)

Is Allen really racially intolerant? Whether Allen was simply botching the word "mohawk" (as he and his campaign insisted after the incident) or whether he was purposely using a racial slur (which The Fix doubts strongly) is unimportant. The perception -- especially among political insiders in Washington measuring the mettle of 2008 candidates -- is all that matters. And, for the moment, the perception is that George Allen may well have an tolerance issue.

Democrat Jim Webb
Despite Allen's verbal flub, Democrat Jim Webb is in an uphill race against the incumbent. (AP Photo)

The other question raised by the macaca incident is one of temperament. It's tough to tell what Allen's intentions were in making the remarks -- humor, anger or a mix of both. The political side of Allen assuredly must have known that referring to a young man of Indian descent with a derogatory nickname was not smart politics, but it appears as though he couldn't help himself. Given the level of press scrutiny the Allen will face should he beat Webb and decide to run for president, he must learn to keep his sarcasm/temper in check.

The episode makes Allen look like something of a bully, picking on a young man who stood out in the Republican crowd gathered in a rural corner of Virginia. Allen allies insist that the senator was gracious to the Webb staffer throughout the event (asking him if he had eaten, telling him to drive safely), but none of that was captured on camera.

Does any of the above derail George Allen's chances at being the Republican nominee? No. The reality is that this story is largely playing out inside the Beltway and in Virginia with little echo in places like Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina.

While it could negatively affect perceptions of Allen among the chattering classes, it's not likely to cause him to be written off by these insiders. But to the extent people outside Washington hear about this story it bodes poorly for Allen. He remains largely unknown to Republican voters nationwide, and this is not the kind of introduction that any candidate would want.

More generally, the macaca comment raises questions about Allen's readiness for the national stage. Taken in a vacuum the events of the last few days matter little, but Allen needs to be very careful not to give Democrats (and the media) any more fodder with which to further this story line over the coming months.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 15, 2006; 12:15 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008 , Senate  
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I do not believe everyone who uses a racial slur should be considered racist because racial slurs are so common today. Almost everyone uses them I do not think one person can say they have never used one or thought of using one. I believe the press is hungry for stories to try to make Allen look bad. If this is the best they can do then Allen has nothing to worry about. I mean if democrats can forgive sexist articles written by Webb to sway what men think about women and war then everyone can forgive Allen's one racial slur.
Rebecca McDonough

Posted by: Rebecca McDonough | September 21, 2006 8:52 PM | Report abuse

I do not believe everyone who uses a racial slur should be considered racist because racial slurs are so common today. Almost everyone uses them I do not think one person can say they have never used one or thought of using one. I believe the press is hungry for stories to try to make Allen look bad. If this is the best they can do then Allen has nothing to worry about. I mean if democrats can forgive sexist articles written by Webb to sway what men think about women and war then everyone can forgive Allen's one racial slur.
Rebecca McDonough

Posted by: Rebecca McDonough | September 21, 2006 8:47 PM | Report abuse

just curious, chris-
if i called you a wop, would you be offended?

you "strongly doubt" that a man whose mother is french tunisian and who speaks french himself knows what the word "macaque" means, and its usage?

access or integrity, chris?
access or integrity.

Posted by: chad | August 29, 2006 3:42 AM | Report abuse

I was actually surprised at Allen's comment. Not because it was offensive and arrogant (which it was), but because I did not think he was smart enough to know what macaca meant.

Posted by: Jim | August 24, 2006 11:54 PM | Report abuse

The "N-word" was frequently used by Allen at UVa...which is contrary to E Pluribus Unum...hence de facto un-American.

With a French colonial Tunisian for a mother...Doug Wilder's take on Clarence Thomas may very well pertain.

...racism...abuse...fascism... Good Bush company...not good for America.

Posted by: Will Jones | August 21, 2006 6:00 PM | Report abuse

To be sung to the melody of "La Cucaracha"

La Macaca La Macaca
Mr. George is not so smar-ta

La Macaca La Macaca
It is he who is the big monkey-eee

Posted by: Jim | August 20, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Why make a big issue out of Allen's remarks when so many others make remarks and seem to get away with it and actually make these remarks "on purpose". Do I smell "bias" here ???..... hmmmm

Case in point: McKinney, McKinney, McKinney !!! The "new" Black Panthers as her body guards??? Check out her website Talk about racist !!!

Posted by: Marlene | August 18, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I just looked at wikipedia...the post for macaca didn't seem to exist a week ago. It already has 100 edits.

Digital brownshirts or mcgovernites with'd think they'd at least get a picture of a monkey OR the offended party. I want to see the mohawk.

Posted by: mark | August 18, 2006 2:49 AM | Report abuse

I'd hate to hear the nickname, that he would have given him, if he was wearing a wig.

Posted by: ed | August 17, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

The irony is that Mr. Sidharth is more of a real Virginian than Allen will ever be.

Unbelievable that we should be represented by this "monkey" in Congress and an embarassment for true Virginians. At best Allen's a cartoon version of a "Virginia-wanna-be", and at worst a bigoted, sadistic bully.

Hmmmm, you'd think that the country persona from a mansion-bred frat boy schtick would be wearing thin at this point with flag-flyers of any stripe.

Posted by: cjt | August 16, 2006 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Why does The Fix "doubt strongly" that Allen purposely used a racial slur? This is a man who has publicly championed the Confederate Flag and opposed a national holiday for MLK - i.e., he has consistantly flirted with racism in his public life.

What's more troubling about the post is that you seem to imply that racism would play negatively among Republican primary voters. History puts the lie to that idea. Southern re-alignment to the GOP is a direct result of the Democratic party's support for civil rights. Reagan kicked off his campaign in Miss. on a site symbolic of opposition to the civil rights movement and Bush the elder won largely on his ads demonizing Dukakis for letting a Black criminal out on furlough. Even Ken Mehlman recently admitted and apologized for GOP use of racism (W.'s abandonment of racist campaigning is one of the most overlooked events in national politics in the last decade - although it has been largely replaced by appeals to intolerance of gays and plain ole Bible thumping to get the same votes). Get real, the GOP holds the South because it has been the racist party since the 1960's - Allen is just a continuation of that tradition. If Bush is serious about changing the party's ways (and I think he might be - although I disagree with him on just about everything else) now would be a good time to stand up and say something.

Posted by: HillBilly | August 16, 2006 9:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't buy Allen as a racist. That would have shown up in his four years as Governor of Virginia.

I do buy Allen as a demagogue; who intentionally caters to the worst aspects of his supporters for his own gain.

I wouldn't doubt that insulting Mr. Sidarth was a scripted move; just as the Bush 41 dust-up with Dan Rather was scripted by the Bush staff. Except that the Allen staff never thought that it would get beyond the people at the rally.

Posted by: Duh! | August 16, 2006 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Certainly looks bad from the video. I'm still curious, however, as to why the WaPo ignored Biden's and Hillary's racist remarks regarding Indians. The Democratic Party has long been home to virulent racists and anti-Semites. One needs only look to their Senate standard-bearer, Robert "KKK" Byrd, or see how they treated Lieberman in the primary race to understand how deep their hatred and intolerance truly runs. But the WaPo would never dream of reporting any of that. Afterall, along with the New York Times, they're nothing but the media wing of the DNC.

Posted by: Langdon | August 16, 2006 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps it's time to slice Virginia out of the United States...

Didn't really work out so well the last time.

Posted by: wingo | August 16, 2006 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps it's time to slice Virginia out of the United States...

Didn't really work out so well the last time.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Allen doesn't "look like something of a bully." He is one. And a racist, too. But I do know one thing--put him in a boxing ring with Jim Webb, and Allen would get his butt kicked.

Posted by: Patrick | August 16, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Don't miss the link that Daniel DeRito offered in his 2:10 posting, it is surely worth your time.

If this doesn't convince you that these bullies enjoy being bullies, you are brainwashed beyond repair.

Or you are just plain one of them. And probably proud of it.

"And they shall glory in their shame..."


Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"Yes, George Allen is a chump, but where was all this outrage when Hillary had a comparable gaffe"

While Hillary's light-hearted allusion to the many Indians in the convenience store/gas station business in New York may have fallen flat with her general public, it was not racist, derisive or demeaning.

It may have been bad timing,(any comedian worth their salt will tell you timing is everything). It is possible she may have actually met someone who looked a lot like Ghandi at one of those stores.

But it wasn't a racial slur.

"Macaca" is.

Atempting to equate the two only reveals the desperation this event has endendered in the conservative camp, particualrly in Allen's campaign.

Watch for the blogs and the MSM both to be peppered with Rovian reactions, they will all sound alike and use the same obscure talking points, but we have come to expect them in the course of regular blogging.

Allen was visibly conflicted, almost schizoid in his quick-change, speaking first to his base with about running a clean campaign, then turning hostile in a psychotic moment, and becoming a bully, leveling what was clearly a malevolent look and a more malevolent phrase at this young, democratically active (small "D")
American patriot... (is it safe to call a young person who is wholeheartedly active in the democratic process a "patriot"?)

Siddharth is a hero in my book, and anyone of color with the courage to shadow a group of dangerous neocons like Allen's campaign hacks deserves some kind of new publicly voted Medal of Democracy.

I consider myself pretty bold, and intrinsically involved in the democratic process, having worked as a staffer for more than one US Congressional campaign.
But I don't know if I would have the kind of gumption this young man showed in the face of such trepidation.

If Allen expects to have good numbers in future polls, he'd better stick to polling those folks he was speaking to at the infamous gathering, because any honest poll would show him with disastrous numbers.

Like I said in an earlier post, from the moment he blurted out the first "macaca" it was a done deal. This turkey's a cooked goose, just stick a fork in it.

Does anyone remember the event where he condescended so arrogantly and with such callous insensitivity to Cindy Sheehan, suggesting that higher military death benefits might replace her son?

Boxer was there, what was that event, anyone reading here remember it?

It would be interesting to gather some of these old Allen video clips (they are abundant, no doubt) and weigh them against the current prevailing political climate.

I would guess the pattern of arrogance, bullying and racism that we all suspected but couldn't quite define, will become much more transparent, now that the veil has been lifted and his true "colors" are revealed.

I would also guess it was there all along, just so thinly veiled that his redneck constituents always knew what he "really" said, and the rest of us just wondered what he meant.


PS Siddharth, if YOU ever want to run for office I would be proud to help.

Posted by: John Patterson | August 16, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I bet all those Indians working at 7-11s in Delaware are equally infuriated. you people need to get off the playground and find something important to gripe about.
but instead you will continue to trivialize actual tragedies like the fact that we are under attack and you all want to hide in your basements instead of going on the offense.
As far as elected vs not - who was that I saw standing directly behind Lamont in his victory speech. the usual suspects. Yet you have the honesty at least to admit these clowns are ridiculous. We are making some progress then.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 16, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

The offensive remarks made by Senator George Allen have all the makings of a Dick Wadhams campaign. Wadhams cut his political teeth in Colorado and has been seen as the person behind the rise of Senator Wayne Allard, a Colorado veterinarian. Wadhams went on to orchestrate the campaign against Tom Daschle in South Dakota and is now leading Allen's reelection effort.

Dick Wadhams is a man many have called Karl Rove's protégé. During Wadhams work in Colorado for Senator Wayne Allard's 2002 reelection, he gave one of the most acerbic victory speeches I have ever witnessed. While gloating at the defeat of Ted Strickland, his comments were vile and hateful. The man is Karl Rove absent a scintilla of decorum and decency...if you can imagine that! It appears that George Allen believes that two bullies are better than one.

Read full article here:

Posted by: Daniel DiRito | August 16, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

unbelievable. a us senator racially insults a minority, and derisively welcomes him to (white?) america, and this is "much ado about nothing"?

Posted by: rj | August 16, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I guess it depends on what your definitions of "comparable 'gaff'" and "apology" are. Allen's days-late whiny excuse -- "I promise I said 'Mohawk!'" is insulting to ALL of us.

Posted by: Jan | August 16, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

you're right - it was not a *deliberately* racist comment. it was exactly the type of inadvertantly racist comment you would expect from someone whose bigotry is so internalized.

Posted by: jethro | August 16, 2006 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Hey Democrats,

Yes, George Allen is a chump, but where was all this outrage when Hillary had a comparable gaffe:

January 7, 2004 - ST. LOUIS, Missouri (AP) -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton apologized for joking that Mahatma Gandhi used to run a gas station in St. Louis, saying it was "a lame attempt at humor."

The New York Democrat made the remark at a fund-raiser Saturday. During an event here for Senate candidate Nancy Farmer, Clinton introduced a quote from Gandhi by saying, "He ran a gas station down in St. Louis."

The director of a U.S. center devoted to Gandhi's teachings called the remarks stereotypical and racially insensitive, while an educator said the flap underscored the need for politicians to be cautious when trying to get laughs.

Posted by: Skeptical | August 16, 2006 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I really try not to post on blogs unless I've read every entry, but there are nearly 200 entries on this topic! (Chris, I wonder if that's a record?) So that dispells the notion that this doesn't "play." When I first saw the video, I didn't get the uproar because I thought the videograoher's name was "Macaca" and Allen was being nice to one of Webb's people. I really did. But once I read the history of the word on Talking Points Memo, and looked at the video a second time, the immediate reaction was: "Oh, this is going to be BAD." Upon reading Chris' graciousness in thinking maybe Allen is somewhat innocent I just looked at it again. The problems (plural) become glaring. To begin with, he started his diatribe by saying he is going to run his campaign based on positive, constructive ideas! So, phoney comes to mind. Then he truly makes fun of the guy. So, bully comes to mind. Then you realize that he actually knows the opponent's camera is pointed at him. So, stupid comes to mind. Then, he ends the video by launching into the "war on terror." So, Republican fearmonger comes to mind. Then you watch it one more time, just to make sure your eyes and ears aren't deceiving you. So, drunk comes to mind. And then you hear his lame excuse, and then you hear his lame apology. So, loser comes to mind.
Yeah, this is bad for Geroge Felix Allen Junior.

Posted by: Jan | August 16, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing what people will do and say when they think they're with their "own kind".

Allen used the word macaca because he didn't think anyone would know what it meant. "Mohawk - macaca" I speak a little French and they sound soooo alike to me - NOT. It's bad enough that he used a racial slur and then followed up by the ..."welcome to America..." comment.

Nothing or no one can defend Allen - your defense is absurd.

His racist ideas and racsim is so true to who he is that he can't keep it in check.

Posted by: Concerned Beltway Outsider | August 16, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

If nothing else, I enjoy the fervent media speculation over whether the gentleman's haircut was a mohawk or a mullet. Gary Condit was August, too.

Let's leave aside the extremes from both sides here. The issue isn't whether this is the French Tunisian n-word, and Allen used it as such. I think that's what Chris was getting at.

The real issue is that Allen singled out a dark guy to mock with a funny-sounding name at a good ol' boy rally. And that, whether for cheap points or from personal belief, he doesn't consider "foreign-looking" types to be Americans. Certainly a Rorschach moment.

...However, the level of public discourse on monkeys and mullets has been raised substantially.

Posted by: ab | August 16, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

KOZ wrote: "I didn't notice anything here about the withdrawal from the OH race because of spousal abuse. It was a Dem - no need to mention it then. how about McKinney's overtly racist staff?"

Um, if the former withdrew from the race and the latter was defeated in the primary, I'd say they have suffered more damage than Allen from this -- why keep talking about two people who no longer matter?

KOZ also wrote: "you dummy Dems"

Sorry, KOZ, but I'm not a Dem. I'd let you look at my voter registration but then you could come over and scare my kids. However, I am a Virginian, so I certainly have the right to comment when my senator does something idiotic. He doesn't just represent conservative Republicans.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 16, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Chris: you're a fine writer and we enjoy you on Hardball with Chris Matthews.
You DO look like Jeremy Pliven, however.

Posted by: Nancy NJ | August 16, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

If this is a one-day story, why does it still have legs on Day 3? Why was it featured front and center on the Daily Show last night?

In short koz-troll, your calling everyone in here partisan hack nutjobs has that wonderful ring of panic or delusion, take your pick.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Ah yes, you know koz had to drag out the straw man, that favorite GOP trope. "do you really think all Rs are bigots?" "some think we should just cut and run." "there are those who would have us yield to the terrorists."

Anyone else see a pattern here?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

McKinney wasn't punished KOZ? Who's won that primary again?

What elected office do Sharpton or Jackson or even Howard Dean hold?

Instead of kool-aid, you and your party need to fill up (to the tune of $3/gallon), cause you guys are OUT OF GAS.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Actually you did not find me defending this in any way, despite your inclination to paint me in a convenient fashion. My sole comment was how incensed you dummy Dems can become over anything that smacks as damaging to a R. I didn't notice anything here about the withdrawal from the OH race because of spousal abuse. It was a Dem - no need to mention it then. how about McKinney's overtly racist staff? No mention??? why?
I personally don't care much for Allen but wouldn't count him out yet. I can't assume any motivations which are not expressed by him explicetly, only negative implications by partisan hacks. this is a one day story confined to you nutjobs in here. Just another in the long line of acts you can't stand. Why was no one so incensed at the possible murder of 10 airliners full of people? Or the random shelling of civilian enclaves in Israel? Selective furor? Exactly how do your values exclude any purveyors who happen to have a D next to thier name? do you really think all Rs are racist bigots? This is just not realistic.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 16, 2006 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Confusing Mohawk with macaca?? Ha, ha, ha ... Plus, the kid's not wearing a Mohawk. He says it's a mullet. Now what hairstyle has more Southern credibility than the mullet? Senator "More Redneck Than Thou" Allen somehow "accidentally" used a word which is used in French circles and white supremicist circles to demean Arabs?

Allen is a bully, a racist, and a dumb bunny.

Posted by: Carla | August 16, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

What a stirring defense of Native Californian George Felix Allen by kingofzouk: Listing some of the biggest morons in the Democratic Party and saying "They did the same thing."

OK, I'm sold. LOL

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 16, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

The King of Zouk's self-appointed royalty is just one more bit of evidence as to the arrogant delusions of grandeur that the neocons depend on in their base to foment their hateful prejudice, and to get elected.

His line "no one cares what you think when something which actually might matter comes up" is downright laughable, considering the firestorm all our blogging has created on this issue. Millions of no-ones now know the truth about Allen.

If no one cares, why are Allen's presidential aspirations now in cinders?

Sorry, Publishers and Editors and Advertising managers, but this Allen turkey is cooked, stick the proverbial fork in his Presidential aspirations.

Allen's future as a well-financed presidential candidate, and therefore a substantial profit motive for your publications to ease-up on him in your coverage, is already one for the history books.

To misquote Yogi, "Allen's future ain't what it used to be."

And we have the blogs to thank for that change of political fortunes. Watch out, this may inspire "them" to re-up their attempts to control the internet.

In an age of instant information, they can no longer depend on the "facts fade with time" factor that has ruled their policy throughout the past.

The blogosphere is about the most ideally All-American democratic (small "D") construct in the world today. And,like so many of our American ideals, these neocons do not want it, and if given the power, they will try to stifle, if not eliminate it.


Posted by: John Patterson | August 16, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Chris, acknowledge that you made a titanic "rhetorical blunder" (to put it daintily, as you did about Allen) that is not sitting well with your readers, myself included. I think you should apologize for aiding and abetting an out-and-out, caught-on-tape racist. Macaca means monkey, period, and he knows it and you know it. Your judgment is seriously in question. This is *going to be very bad for your career*. I say this as a fellow journalist.

Posted by: Seth | August 16, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: F&B | August 16, 2006 11:14 AM | Report abuse

oh look, zouk has crawled out of his hole to defend a racist.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 11:14 AM | Report abuse

JEP is right... I give Chris too much of a hard time. It's just that he does some really good stuff, and then he goes all DC-disingenious, like with this wide-eyed, 'he couldn't really have meant it' story. But overall, this blog is great -- no censorship. Least none that i can tell. Unusual. Try posting comments on a lot of other newspaper blogs --they just never show up.

Anyway... couldn't resist this--Leiberman has GOP operatives working for him now:

'Holy Joe has brought in veteran GOP operative Dan Senor in order to try and pump up his numbers regarding his awful war by dragging in veterans to swiftboat Lamont. Never mind the fact that Lamont beat Lieberman amongst veterans in the primary (it seems those whom Joe has dispatched to risk their lives in his catastrophic war don't think it's quite worth it simply because Sore Loserman can't admit he was wrong wrong wrong). Holy Joe, however, doesn't want to get his white-gloved hands any dirtier with this business than he does with, say, actually fighting his own war:

The ad featured a photo of soldier Josh Clark, 24, of Willimantic, who was wounded in 2003 in Iraq, along with a quote attributed to Clark: "Senator Lieberman stood with me and my fellow veterans, and I am proud to stand by him."

The paid message was placed by the Virginia-based Vets for Freedom Action Fund, established last month under Section 527 of the federal tax code as a nonpartisan organization "to communicate with the public on veterans' issues and the war in Iraq."

The group has high-level Republican connections. It has used a public relations firm that includes Taylor Gross, a former White House official, and receives volunteer advice from GOP strategist Dan Senor.

Posted by: Drindl | August 16, 2006 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Matthew is right though. The best response is to donate to his opponant, which I just did.

Posted by: J. Crozier | August 16, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

amazing how all you Libs rush to fry a "racist" when he is a Repub. Yet you ignore it when a Dem utters these ideas. none of you can be taken seriously anymore. If any of you had an ounce of integrity it would be different, but since you don't , no one cares what you think when something which actually might matter comes up.
Sharpton, Dean, McKinney, Byrd, Jackson and many more have done similar "slips" with no challenge. At lease Rs punish this behavior.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 16, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Oh PLEASE Chris!

The Fix doubts that a Republican would deliberately use a racist slur? What an absolutely retarded comment.

I was all set to give you major props for getting on this story and making a long blog entry about it...up until the point you once again resumed your role as an apologist for the Republican party by trying to defend that racist trash.

If Howard Dean had made a similar comment you'd have leaped all over it about how he was hurting his party again, blowing it, etc.

What a double standard.

Posted by: J. Crozier | August 16, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Oh PLEASE Chris!

The Fix doubts that a Republican would deliberately use a racist slur? What an absolutely retarded comment.

I was all set to give you major props for getting on this story and making a long blog entry about it...up until the point you once again resumed your role as an apologist for the Republican party by trying to defend that racist trash.

If Howard Dean had made a similar comment you'd have leaped all over it about how he was hurting his party again, blowing it, etc.

What a doub

Posted by: J. Crozier | August 16, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Hey, folks, ease up on Cilliza, he isn't his Editor or Publisher, and I can guarantee you that a Washington DC newspaper publisher does not want to see Allen out of the race, they stand to benefit handsomely from his campaign money.

They are not going to let their rank and file writers administer any political coup-de-grace that might contribute to their own fiscal detriment.

So Chris has to walk that well-known fine line between journalistic integrity and unemployment.(Please, I'm serious here folks, no snickers from the extreme left OR the extreme right)

So lets all be thankful we have such a well-exposed forum as this blog to present our opinions, and cut "The Fix" a break.

Chris has been on TV lately, (with another Chris)and manages to convey a fairly fair and balanced perspective.

Also, keep in mind, it is not the story he writes that is making this big news, its the comments from all the blogs, this one included, that steers the political winds these days.

While no single posting or poster can be given this distinction, in the sum our our reason, a clear pattern of opinion has been revealed: Mainstream America now knows what only moderate and liberal Virginians knew before; that their Senator Allen is a bigot, a dullard, a drunk and a bully. All thanks to the blogs.

Bloggers unite!

Keep up the good work! Copy some of these posts and paste them onto other blogs, pick your particles for reason and truth and tie them together to form a bigger picture.

Drindl's "Xybernaut" posting is one example of how this works. This current Allen scandal, based on a racial slur, dredges up previous scandals that were clearly never resolved, old proof of the Republican culture of corruption that has faded with the news cycle.

This added information, which is publicly available but patently suppressed by the MSM, provides a peripheral issue insulating effect, surrounding Allen with uncomfortable truths that help keep the bigotry issue in the headlines.

What else do we know, publicly, about Allen that doesn't seem to hit the airwaves or print media?

As with Lieberwar, Delay, Abramoff, Ney and Cunningham, it will be the blogs, not the MSM, that administers the coup-de-tat, and not a coup-de-grace, this is no time for political mercy on our part.

These neocons are awfully proud of their ability to pitch hardball.

Lets see if they can catch.

And don't just go digging for dirt, dig for truth, and if it is dirty, so be it.


Posted by: John Patterson | August 16, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I am surprised that we do not see much discussion of the anti-immigrant tone of Allen's remarks. (At least I haven't so far). He seemed to be making an assumption that the young man was an immigrant - "Welcome to America" and, in some way, not familiar with the "real Virginia" (whatever that means - unrepentant, Confederate flag waving, nostalgia for Jim Crow perhaps?). There is a strong strain of nativism in the GOP, especially in the rural areas. Even if you give him the benefit of the doubt on 'maccaca' (which I do not), he was blatantly pandering to what he assumed (probably correctly) was anti-immigrant feeling among his rural Virginian supporters.

One other point, Drindl and others in here have noted that Allen's mother is French and from North Africa. I have not seen that in press accounts either. Frankly, it seems to be getting minimal coverage

Posted by: JimD in FL | August 16, 2006 10:53 AM | Report abuse

One more:

The truth is, Allen is from the Reich wing of the party, which is a big slice of it...from firedoglake:

'But if you back up and look at the even bigger picture, the Republican party's entire 2006 electoral agenda is based around punishing people for not being white. Republicans on Immigration equals Stop the Evil Brown-Skinned Latino Hordes from Coming Here to Live. Republicans on Terrorism equals Stop the Evil Brown-Skinned Arabs and Islamic Asians from Blowing Up Our Planes and Bridges. Republicans on Ned Lamont equals PLEASE Stop the Evil Black Voters from Banding Together and Forming a Legitimate Threat to Our All-White Boys' Club. The time has come to punch through their codified euphemisms and strike at the truth of their rhetoric. Republicans are melanin-ophobics. '

Just think how all this has been on view lately. The Weekly Standard had a picture of Al Sharpton on the cover --as Stepin Fetchit. Leiberman [de facto R candidate] was railing about how we needed to take back our country from 'the likes of Jesse Jackson and Maxine Waters]-- gee what do those folks have in common?

Allen is no abberation. He is the true face of his party. Why don't you admit it, Chris?

Posted by: Drindl | August 16, 2006 10:53 AM | Report abuse

It's unbelievable the depths of stupidity to which repugs can sink. Here's a paper in CT that opines that Ned Lamont is a commie! You know, like his grandpa, chairman of JP Morgan. Terrifying depths of delusion:

'But that doesn't mean that Ned Lamont isn't a Commie. Here are a few excerpts from the Waterbury paper's Sunday editorial. It's titled "Ned Lamont's True Colors" and I think you can guess what color they are referring to:

"(L)iberal journalists adore him because they share his world view on abortion, homosexual marriage, universal health care, racial quotas, loopy environmentalism and especially the war against Islamic terrorism.

"They are blood brothers, or more accurately, fellow travelers. Just as journalism has become a hornet's nest of socialism (communism not yet perfected), if you shake Mr. Lamont's family tree, a lot of Red apples will fall.

Posted by: Drindl | August 16, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

You doubt it? That's a laugh. How do you twice botch the pronunciation of "mohawk" with a racial slur? He was derisively welcoming the young man to America as well.

You doubt it? I doubt your sense. I doubt Allen's civility and whether he should be a United States Senator, let alone re-elected.

Posted by: Chris | August 16, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

You sound like a really decent guy, JEP. Pleased to meet you.

Allen all over the web this morning. Getting a lot more scrutiny than I'm sure he ever wanted.

Posted by: Drindl | August 16, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Webb's website is a good place to start, if you are looking for a way to help this candidate force one more warmonger, and apparently also a bigot, out of his comfortable catbird seat in the US Senate.

If you can contribute to his campaign, regardless of the outcome, it would surely be a good way to express your hope for the future of democracy and freedom in our country.


Posted by: John Patterson | August 16, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

"Mr. Patterson, the only way we are going to get past the racial barrier is when people like YOU quit dragging up the past sir"

I think Allen's comments suggest this is not a problem of "the past." This patent bigotry is part and parcel of an ongoing and profane subterfuge that dates back to the days of slavery.

What our conservative friend "Magnolia" would like, is for us all to forget those days and, in the process, turn a blind eye to the rippling repurcussions that linger even today, more than 1 1/2 centuries after the conflict that was fought to free all men.

Magnolia represents that last, tiny thread of blind Republican support, held by people who simply can not admit when they are wrong, no matter how desperate the stakes become.

No, Magnolia, until people like YOU stop enabling people like Allen, excusing their spiteful prejudice and lionizing them when you should be disempowering them at the ballot box, the racial barrier you claim to want to "get past" will remain in place.

Until you and your fellow Zombies are willing to wake up and admit you are wrong in supporting these neocon bigots, for ANY reason, racial prejudice will never find an end in this best-of-all-nations.

When you and your fellow conservatives decided we were the "lone superpower" in the world, you set the bar much too high for these "mortal throes."

Magnolia, I believe there is only one superpower in the universe. Our incredible national arrogance only defies that power.

Maybe it is time for us Americans to show some national contrition and humility, instead of national arrogance.

For starters, we could provide the world with food, not fear.


Posted by: John Patterson | August 16, 2006 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps it's time to slice Virginia out of the United States and float it out to the Atlantic..Then they can elect guys like George Allen there President..Chris C. can be the press secretary, bhoomes can be Defense Minister, and KOZ can be Secretary of State...Apparently i'll have to find a spot in there government for this Magnolia character...

Posted by: TheIrishCurse | August 16, 2006 10:07 AM | Report abuse

oh, fyi:

'Forget "Macaca"; What Does "Xybernaut" Mean? (Hint: Trouble)
Before his first Senate term began in 2000, George "Macaca" Allen (R-VA) sat on the board of a curious high-tech startup called Xybernaut. While Allen was on Capitol Hill, the company imploded -- audits revealed the books were a mess, and the company was in the hole for many millions of dollars. Probes and/or suits have been launched by the SEC, the IRS, and Justice Department prosecutors; investors are suing. Its key execs, backers, even its financial underwriter have come under scrutiny, mostly for hijinks (including nonpayment of taxes) they committed while Allen was supposed to have been overseeing the operation -- and while his law firm billed over $300,000 in work for the company. (American Prospect)'

Posted by: Drindl | August 16, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

'He's not even close to Allen either in money raised or in the early polls'

What a shame and a travesty. But that's the South for you. Sorry, Magnolia, you're just too accustomed to tiptoing aruond and forgiving and enabling racism. It's time for a change.

Going to Web's web now to contribute. Maybe he needs a long=distance volunteer, too...

Posted by: Drindl | August 16, 2006 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I am gratified that the vast majority of those posting here find Allen's behavior abhorrent. Now, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT:

Allen's got about six million dollars in cash on hand, Webb's got about $250,000. A contribution of $25, $50, or $100 WILL make a difference! Let's get Allen out of the Senate so he can have plenty of time to explore the "real America."

Posted by: Matthew | August 16, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who's really paid attention to Allen-- particularly when he became VA's governor-- knows he is fundamentally mean-spirited, and that nature pops out when he's got his guard down. If this helps torpedo his chances for running for the Presidency, then it's a good thing for all Americans. If you think Bush is bad, an Allen administration would knock your jaw to the floor.

Posted by: Ben from Richmond | August 16, 2006 9:12 AM | Report abuse

"Strongly doubts"? You're as much of a fool as the voters in Virginia!

Posted by: friareli | August 16, 2006 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Normally, I would agree that is of interest to us hard core news junkies, but the lazy days of summer are upon us and the story is showing some legs. Good Morning America had the story and the video. Youtube is also showing the video. The manner in which he says the term is clearly not mangling the word mohawk, it appears to be a slam. The fact that fits in several times, shows that he is proud of himself for using such a term. I think this story will be around a bit longer.

Posted by: Roger P | August 16, 2006 8:31 AM | Report abuse

>>>I don't know if Allen is an racist cromagnon hillbilly

He's NOT. He's a racist cromagnon silver spoon PSEUDO-hillbilly from California.

Posted by: F&B | August 16, 2006 8:03 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if Allen is an racist cromagnon hillbilly (J. Donne suspects he is) but his comments contribute a tiny bit more to THE GATHERING STORM. Argue all you want about jury-rigged districts and America's inherent conservatism, but I'm not buying it. The Republicans are going to lose alot of seats this November. Less than two years ago they seemed invincible.

Posted by: J. Donne | August 16, 2006 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Chris CIZZILLA writes:
"Whether Allen was simply botching the word "mohawk" (as he and his campaign insisted after the incident) or whether he was purposely using a racial slur (which The Fix doubts strongly) is unimportant. The perception -- especially among political insiders in Washington measuring the mettle of 2008 candidates -- is all that matters."

Where to begin?
1. The Fix "doubts strongly" Allen was "purposely using a racial slur"? I don't even believe you.
a) Reports say Allens MOTHER is French-Tunisisan -- where macaca is a equivalent to "n*gger."
b) Macaca (& sp. variants) is a common racist slur in Aryan/white supremacist circles.
c) George Allen said it THREE TIMES. Did he mis-speak? Mo-hawk-a, ma-ca-ca, ha-ha-ha.
d) He actually met S.R. Sidarth just before making the comments. So he knew his name, knew his accent was American -- yet still used the slam, then played to the crowd, feigning the nickname story.
e) It's classic Jesse Helms campaign method. Use "code" that the "real" America understands. ANY POLITICAL OBSERVER WILL RECOGNIZE THIS (any worth their salt, that is).

Further, your elision of the substance of the issue, to favor the meta question of perception, is also poor judgement. It is IMPORTANT.

What's NOT important is DC Insider perception -- What IS important is voter decision. I'm from Wisconsin, living in Jersey. Republicans may not care. Republicans may revel in exploiting the racist/immigration issue. But the country will knows the shame.

Either way, insider perception is irrelevant. Sorry to, you know, insist on the American Way and all.

Is this where I drive the point home? Cizzilla, hmm -- 'Cizzilly,' 'Zilly' -- sounds like 'Old Virginny' -- 'Old Ginny' -- 'Guinea' to George Allen.

Still think it doesn't matter?

Me neither.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Please bookmark:

Challenger casts Lynch as next Lieberman

By Brock Parker / Massachusetts Daily News

Westwood Democrat Phil Dunkelbarger is hoping to capitalize on the upset defeat of Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman last week.

Dunkelbarger is trying to unseat U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-9th, and much like the strategy of Lieberman-challenger Ned Lamont, Dunkelbarger is aiming straight for his opponent's support for the war in Iraq.

"I think it's a very uncomfortable position for him," Dunkelbarger said of Lynch. "He's no dummy. He understands that he is out of step (with voters)."

Dunkelbarger is criticizing Lynch's 2002 vote supporting President George Bush's bid for war in Iraq, and Lynch's June 16 vote against immediately withdrawing American troops from Iraq. Lamont used a similar campaign tack in his successful bid to upset Lieberman, a former candidate for vice president, in Connecticut's Democratic primary last week by 52 percent to 48 percent.

"I've been doing this longer than Lamont, but he had the money and he had a different stage," Dunkelbarger said. "We are positioned in exactly the same place that way. Some of his efforts will accrue to our advantage and that is fine."

But Lynch has balked at the comparisons between himself and Lieberman, saying he has voted against Bush 84 percent of the time while Lieberman voted with the president at a 50 percent clip.

Lynch said he voted for the war in Iraq because he received bad information in 2002 that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein posed and immediate threat to the United States. Knowing what he knows now, Lynch said he would have voted against the war.

Lynch also says he would support a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, but it must be a deliberate withdrawal that safely hands power over to the new Iraqi government.

"Congressman Lynch is one of the very few members of Congress who has put forward a plan that would create the conditions that would allow a safe, speedy and orderly withdrawal of our troops," said Lynch spokesman Matt Ferraguto.

Dunkelbarger said he supports a bill by U.S. John Murtha, D-Pa., that calls for the redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq. Dunkelbarger said he believes a civil war has erupted in Iraq, and that it is not up to the United States to resolve the internal conflict.

"It's unconscionable to me that we'd leave out troops in the middle of that," Dunkelbarger said.

Dunkelbarger insists his entire campaign is not based entirely on the war in Iraq, and he said voters can read more about his stance on other issues at his Web site,

But the candidate doesn't let the conversation veer to far from the war in Iraq, which he believes will be the focal point of voters as they head to the polls Sept. 19 for the Massachusetts Democratic primary.

"There are issues even more important than the war," Dunkelbarger said. "I'm realistic and I know that is the way the decision is going to be made. So with 30 days left, we're going to stay on message."

Posted by: che | August 16, 2006 4:03 AM | Report abuse

Come on Chris. You doubt he intended to use a racial slur? First off, he said it twice, meaning he clearly intended to use it and it wasn't something that just "slipped out." Second, how often have you or anyone you know accidentally referred to someone by a racial slur multiple times? The term Allen used is a fairly obscure epithet, but it is well known in white supremacist circles. Allen couldn't just outright refer to him as a "sand n----r," so he opted for a more subtle reference that he knew his audience would understand but most people would not. The fact that Allen is familiar with such words is disturbing in and of itself. I think it's obvious to anyone who has read up on George Allen that he is a virulent racist. There are just too many "odd coincidences" in his life regarding race. He "bucked authority" in high school by displaying the Confederate flag on his car and lapel. He had a "western motif" in his office that just happened to include a noose hanging from his tree. He just "happened" to have a Confederate flag that was part of a "flag display" he's got. He just happened to paint graffiti to incite racial violence while he was in high school. And he just inadvertently used a racist epithet to describe a Webb campaign worker. Allen's obsession with the Confederacy is particularly disturbing especially when you consider his family has no connection to the Confederacy. But even more disturbing than that is that an open and unreconstructed racist can be considered a serious candidate for President of the United States in the 21st century.

Posted by: Q | August 16, 2006 2:52 AM | Report abuse

Pardon me, Vienna, I've never supported the Iraq war.

I'm not giving Allen the benefit of the doubt and further because it isn't worth it, and apparently he doesnt deserve it. Though it was nice that Raj agreed that Allen knows better than to use a definitive racial slur in front of a camera.

Posted by: peter | August 16, 2006 2:21 AM | Report abuse

Allen looks like a total bully and heel and also a very dishonest man.

Before he launches in to the "Macaca" speech, he is telling the crowd how he is leading a "positive campaign".

Sure thing. "Let me positively ridicule this 20 year old lad in front of a guffawing group of sycophants."

Allen also gave another press release where he claims HE gave Sidarth the nickname.

Well, did HE give Sidarth the nickname or was it some nickname his staffers invented.

If he can't be honest about something like this.


Posted by: Greg | August 16, 2006 1:32 AM | Report abuse

Ok. Here is another "macaca" going to Jim Webb's campaign and contributing....

Posted by: Bobby | August 15, 2006 11:32 PM | Report abuse

I can't really say it better than Eric did a few posts above. Simply put, vote him out. Let's be done with him.

Regarding Magnolia's remarks though, I agree everyone deserves an opportunity to make a mistake once or twice, to err is human right? Unfortunately though the margin for error when one achieves offices of responsibility (i.e. the Senate, or President for that matter) are so much higher. Witness the mess of Iraq. You make a mistake with an intern, not with the lives of patriotic soldiers. Big difference.

I don't know about anyone else but frankly I'm just tired of this force, call them Republicans or conservatives or whatever. Its time for something better.

Posted by: steve | August 15, 2006 9:58 PM | Report abuse


I think Hillary "joked" about Gandhi being a gas station owner in St.Louis. Even if one is not an ethnic indian , such tasteless, puerile humor is offensive; especially coming from a potential American president. If it had come from Dennis Miller or Jon Stewart, it would be regular comedic fare, of course.

I've experienced astonishing "racism", referring to my skin tone among other things, from "broad"minded white liberals for expressing support for gunrights (for e.g I think it would be a good idea to defeat the democratic senators who voted for allowing the govt agencies to confiscate guns -against all commonsense - during emergencies!) Nevermind that I'm a hindu, vegetarian, against hunting for sport, against animal-testing, and for tree-hugging, gas-saving, recycling and so on - MOSTLY by effecting ATTITUDE change, not by government mandates/threats. Its assumed that I must be a republican/white-wannabe etc even before I complete stating my case, and the barrage of racist slurs begins. As I'm an off-the-boat immigrant, its even suggested that I take the next boat "home" ;-) This, from alleged "liberals".

Anyway, I was just making an observation that low-brow behavior has become the norm among all public figures, but the democrats are able to make more hay out of the gaffes of the relatively more blunt-spoken republicans (hows that for stereotyping ;-)). I wasn't "defending" Allen. Hardly.

That was just detached speculation as to how his "thoughts" kind of "slipped" out..just like Gibson and the Jews..under the influence of some juice.


Posted by: Raj | August 15, 2006 9:26 PM | Report abuse

One other thing. Remember when the Republicans ranted and railed against "professional politicians." Until many of them chose to ignore their "I will serve no more than __ terms!" pledges.

What is Allen, other than a professional politician that these people hated so much. Anybody know if he ever had a private sector job after law school?

Short-term law partner between Governor and Senator doesn't count.

Why is "Hollywood Producer" supposed to be a knock on Webb? That's a real private sector job, with real bottom line consequences.

Posted by: Duh! | August 15, 2006 8:45 PM | Report abuse

There's no sense in quibbling about whether Allen slurred Mr. Sidarth. Allen was playing to the crowd; Siddarth was merely the prop.

Allen's campaign is trying to cover by claiming that he's been nice to Sidarth at other times on the campaign. Probably like the Segregationist Congressmen and Senators were to their African-American help at home. Rhetoric of convenience.

If there is as much vitriol against Allen as there appers to be in these postings, Jim Webb could sure you your help. He's not even close to Allen either in money raised or in the early polls.

Posted by: Duh! | August 15, 2006 8:30 PM | Report abuse

George Allen's behavior is an embarassment to every American. It is sad that a state so rich in political heroes, a state so integral to the formation of this nation of immigrants has chosen to hitch its wagon to a bigot. Any Virginian Republican who simply ignores Allen's behavior is a complicit rascist, not to mention completely out of touch with the "America" to which we're welcoming "Macaca"

Posted by: Eric Lynch | August 15, 2006 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Chapman, I will as soon as you can prove to me their are "saintly" democrats. My God, we are people, who make mistakes. Maybe Allen's comments were not a mistake. I dont know. Only he knows. Yes, I know somebody out there was reading his brain and knows exactly what he means. We keep looking for the perfect person on both sides of the aisle, but you know what he/she is not there. That is a democracy, we are not going to agree with everyones views and beliefs, but hating someone b/c of it is just as bad as being a racist. Obviously, I have no respect nor need for any real racist, like David Duke or the many others who we as voters have shamefully elected over the years. Society has no room for racism, but the only way my generation and younger ones will get past it is if those who raise us and teach us quit teaching us how to hate and be racist. Thats a thought isnt it.......And no the Republican Party did not teach me how to hate. And im sure the Democratic Party didnt teach its followers to hate either.

Posted by: Magnolia | August 15, 2006 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Ok, folks. Hold up a bit. Let's take Senator Allen at his word and believe that he meant to call Mr. Sidarth "Mohawk". Pray tell, exactly how this is better?

Presuming for a moment that Senator Allen somehow confused a South Asian "Indian" from a Native American "Indian", it still comes out as racist. Additionally, it makes him out to be even more ignorant than he appeared to be before this incident.

So, overtly racist playing to what he assumed was an equally racist crowd, or ignorantly racist, without a thought of how his comments would be perceived by the American public.

Not to mention so stupid as to make those comments when he knew he was being videotaped by Secretary Webb's staffer.

Wow. Before this happend, I didn't even know Secretary Webb was a Democrat, nor had I heard almost anything about Senator Allen. Now this race has made front page news out here in Seattle, and the liberal bloggers out here are having a field day.

The Fix asked:

"Does any of the above derail George Allen's chances at being the Republican nominee? No. The reality is that this story is largely playing out inside the Beltway and in Virginia with little echo in places like Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina."

Well, I don't know about Iowa, but Seattle has certainly heard about it!

Posted by: John Barelli | August 15, 2006 8:14 PM | Report abuse

For some reason my quotes from Raj's post didn't turn up. They were, respectively:

What he said was no less condescending in "spirit" than what Hillary... what with her alleged cosmopolitaniasm and all ;) said about Indians.


His Tunisian background, and his aides' referring to the youngman's haircut as "mohawk" (probably?) led to this confusion.


Overall, theres a dearth of men of aristocratic instincts and decency running for public office today. I can't think of a single individual who fits either the Jimmy Stewart or George Marshall (neither ran for public office) mould of decency and commonsense -The quintessential "American" personality - in public life today. Perhaps Richard Lugar comes close?

Posted by: Max S. | August 15, 2006 7:57 PM | Report abuse

In response to Raj, who wrote:

Sen. Clinton's said nothing about Indians -- you're thinking of Biden. And I agree, his comment was pretty astonishingly stupid and condescending.

You have a nice imagination, but every attempt to make Allen's slip sound innocuous comes off as desparate. Let me say that I'm a liberal, but I believe all candidates have to be looked at skeptically. I thought very little of the references to Mary Cheney's lesbianism made by Edwards and Kerry in the '04 debates and I wouldn't have tried to spin it away (were I a pundit). This likewise ought not to be spun away, least of all by your explanation which is the strangest to date -- "He had heard the word but the fact that it occured to him when looking at a brown face was entirely coincidental." Or is it, "He didn't know the word, and only the fact that he speaks French and has long been suspected of racism led anyone to assume otherwise"?

Have you taken a close look at Lamont? He strikes me as a transparently good-hearted, sincere, earnest person -- and a really well-spoken one in addition. He's been compared to Jimmy Stewart a number of times, and I think the perceived similarity is more than superficial. (That, or the superficial resemblance happens to point towards something meaningful). Like a lot of liberals I'm also fond of Feingold, Gore, even McCain (though I'd never vote for him), and take them to likewise be sincere.

Posted by: Max S. | August 15, 2006 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Something I don't talk much about on-line, but I'm Native American (Blackfoot) and I *know* what it's like to be belittled by some snot like Senator Allen. I worked at a big Oregon high tech firm (think oscilloscopes) from 1998 until 2001. My manager kept referring to me as "chief". It got so bad, several other engneers who worked with me wrote leters to Human Resources. They, of course, did absolutely nothing to the manager. The next round of layoff saw me with a ___ Fellow Award, for outstanding enginner, a patent, ....and a layoff. No, I didn't file a formal discrimination complaint. This was one fo Oregon's largest employers and big contributors to the Bush campaign. It would have been a waste of time. So, I simply let people know what sort of dirtbags run this company and let people know that swine like Senator Allen are walking the streets and otherwise using up space on an already overcrowded planet.

Posted by: MikeB | August 15, 2006 7:44 PM | Report abuse

George Allen maybe a 'saavy politician' but sometimes a bigot just can't help himself. It's the nature of bigots and bullies to use others to 'score points' with an audience.

I'm quite shocked, Chris, that you aren't suprised with Allen holding such beliefs, just that you think he was smart enough not to display them.

Being inside the beltway has rotted your brain.

BTW, the story's making the rounds in Texas too.

Posted by: Texas Kat | August 15, 2006 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh thanks B2O, come to think of it, it's really both.

Posted by: F&B | August 15, 2006 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Nor brain cells. Case in point "Presidential Candidate" Senator Macaca.

Posted by: F&B | August 15, 2006 6:59 PM | Report abuse



Small point but I think you meant simply "tragedy". A "travesty" is a sham or a grotesque parody. As in: "George Bush's approach to defending America - providing a boon to Al Qaida recruitment by attacking countries that had nothing to do with the attack on the US - is nothing but a travesty."

It's a common misuse of the word, one that I've done myself.

Posted by: B2O | August 15, 2006 6:58 PM | Report abuse

The conservatives won't get this, F&B, they don't have this many fingers.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 15, 2006 6:45 PM | Report abuse

This many dead last week:

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
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What a travesty.

Posted by: F&B | August 15, 2006 6:45 PM | Report abuse


More Iraqi civilians were killed in July than in apparently any other month of the war, according to Iraqi Health Ministry and morgue statistics, despite a security plan begun by the new government in June.

An average of more than 110 Iraqis were killed per day in July, according to figures from the Health Ministry and the Baghdad morgue. At least 3,438 civilians died violently that month, a 9 percent increase over the tally in June...

110. PER. DAY.

That's THIS many people:

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
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Posted by: F&B | August 15, 2006 6:40 PM | Report abuse

To Magnolia:
Sir, not all republicans are bad,
PROVE IT!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: robert chapman | August 15, 2006 6:34 PM | Report abuse

I hate the debate about whether "macaca" is a racist word or not. It misses the point. He easily could have said "This fellow here, over here with the yellow shirt, '(common indian name)', or whatever his name is", and it would have the same negative intention. I dont think he meant to use a racist term, but he clearly intended to portray the Webb staffer as a sterotypical indian immigrant who just entered the country in order to pander to his base.

It's not like the man had my vote anyway.

Posted by: Missing the Point - Arlington | August 15, 2006 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Have been out-of-pocket and just catching up with the Allen's latest antics and Chris's spin.

I'm disappointed in Chris.... but find the outrage from most of the posters gratifying. Hardball just has a report on this incident with accompanying video.

Say "good night" George.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | August 15, 2006 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Progressives are losing on the values issue because they are unable to frame their values narratively.
The Maccaca-Allen encounter is a narrative that frames progressive values positively.
A US Senator derides his opponent for meeting Hollywood Moguls, for being a creature of the beltway and then makes condescendly racist comments.
Note that Allen keeps referring to Webb as "his opponent," rather than "my opponent."
One might also opine on Allen's inability to speak clearly when he departs from his script.

Robert Chapman
Brooktondale, New York

Posted by: robert chapman | August 15, 2006 6:23 PM | Report abuse

In vino veritas -- He just had a Mel Moment. He'll have more. Classy.

Posted by: Driindl | August 15, 2006 6:21 PM | Report abuse

BTW, Allen called him macaca TWO TIMES. So to try and say that he was saying mohawk but twice got it wrong is total lies. Think this through, he doesn't know the word or that it is offensive, but he uses it twice? So he is racist, incredibly stupid, and a total liar.

Posted by: Wash DC | August 15, 2006 6:05 PM | Report abuse

A dumb, sexually confused, publicly drunken, white supremacist Senator. You 'conservative' folks sure know how to pick 'em...

Posted by: louisa | August 15, 2006 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Stop playing coy, Chris!

Allen did not botch the word "mohawk". He deliberately used a version of the word "macaque", which is a racial slur used by the French to designate Arabs and Berbers from the Maghreb, and people from Sub-Saharan Africa.

How does he know the word "macaque"? His mother was a Tunisian Jew. Being a French colony, Tunisia was French-speaking. Allen speaks French. He heard his mother use racial epithets against people whose skin color was less than white.

Get it now? And for your information, calling someone a "macaque" is more insulting than calling someone the N... word. If you do not believe me, try calling a dark-skinned person a "macaque" the next time you are in Paris or Marseilles. You won't live to report it.

Allen did not count on the fact that French-speakers (and others) in this country would immediately understand what he meant.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 15, 2006 5:53 PM | Report abuse

In other words, why do people defending Allen feel compelled to say "ask anyone, they've never heard of it" when all the speaker can really say is that they themselves weren't familiar? I don't live in Jim Crow-ville, for all I know "macaca" is every third word.

Posted by: seattleboy | August 15, 2006 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Drindl for u r 4:46pm comment. This brings me to a quote I made some time ago that seems to apply again. [Do not insult the crocodile until you have crossed the river.]

Posted by: lylepink | August 15, 2006 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I was pretty sure it was racist code when I first heard this, but what clinched it for me was reading that, for south/west Asians in Jim Crow-ville, this is a pretty well-worn epithet. Read this link and scroll to the bottom:

Posted by: seattleboy | August 15, 2006 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Well, I guess the message is that violence, sibling beating, and drunken racial slurs are all part of the "family values" of Republican Virginia. Gosh, I wish I were righteous enough to have Republican Christian values like those. I'll just have to settle for being a liberal heathen who tries his best to treat people decently.

Posted by: B2O | August 15, 2006 5:46 PM | Report abuse

One quibble: the Confederate flag referred to as the Stars and Bars is not the one popular among Southern racists and Republican politicians today. That flag (the battle flag with the blue X covered with stars) is different from the Stars & Bars (the Confederate national flag similar to the U.S. flag except with 3 large stripes instead of 13 smaller ones).

Posted by: Staley | August 15, 2006 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Allen may even have said it 3 times. Twice it is very clear and one other time it may have been mumbled. Also, Allen is visibly drunk - note the red face, slurring of words, and also (as someone pointed out above), he refers to Webb as Sidarth's "opponent", which is just nonsensical. Sadly, drunken video tapes never hurt Bush Jr., so this probably won't hurt Allen in the redneck state of Virginia (there's even a town there named Lynchburg).

Check the video for yourself at:

Posted by: KKKarl Rove | August 15, 2006 5:37 PM | Report abuse

So long, George. Maybe Tom DeLay can get you a job.

Posted by: Susan | August 15, 2006 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Chris, google "macaque 'racial slurs'." You'll see that macaque is a popular word on the White Supremacist web sites, used to insult both Arabs and all dark skinned people.

Funny thing is that macaque was originaly a French insult, meaning "dirty Arab." So Sen. Allen learned a racial slur at his mother's knee, since Mama was a French-speaking Tunisian.

He also learned "caca" the French baby-talk word for feces, like the English "poo-poo." Easy to elide "macaque" and "caca" into macaca. Though the Tunisian-French dialect may pronounce macaque that way.

Look at the expression on Allen's face when he calls the brown-skinned guy "Macaca". Allen knew the insult he was using, he just thought no one but White Supremacists would get it.

Allen is too out of it to understand the Internet.

Posted by: Polly | August 15, 2006 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Obviously Mr. Allen who speaks French and who's mother is a French Colonial from Tunisia knew exactly what he was saying. Whether or not anyone there got it, he said, and he meant it. There's no place for bigots like that in serious government.

Posted by: Dave | August 15, 2006 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Oh, but wait! The first hint of recognition from the domestic(ated) media that Sen. Allen may have a temper/self-control issue! I almost missed this. Maybe there is a sliver of hope of objective coverage of the man:

"...he must learn to keep his sarcasm/temper in check."

Just what America needs with his finger on the button. A violent, hot-tempered nincompoop.

Posted by: B2O | August 15, 2006 5:31 PM | Report abuse

The Webb staffer doesn't even have a mohawk, so that excuse doesn't work.

Allen's racism probably helps him with the Republican base, but you are right on about two points; clearly this guy is not ready for prime-time and a loss to Webb would be crushing. I think much more should be written about Allen's racism. Still I think the GOP is much more likely to nominate an Allen type than a McCain-Rudy "centrist" type.

Posted by: Greg in LA | August 15, 2006 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Allen's "slip" isn't nearly as illuminating about his true feelings of race and diversity as was his half-baked quasi-apology. When anyone apologizes and qualifies it by saying "if that offended anyone..." they only show that they really don't understand the big picture and have little intent of trying to understand it. Please, spare me the false sorrows. Either mean it or don't respond at all.

Posted by: timmomd | August 15, 2006 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives, look at it this way. If this sinks Allen's presidential aspirations, that's one less candidate who will be begging you for money over the next three years.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 15, 2006 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Allen stepped in keep caca by calling an Indian man a "macaca". It's obvious Allen used the word as a slur, even if he didn't know exactly what it meant -- he knew it was derogatory to call another person that name.

Anyone who defends Senator Caca on this must be co-signing his KKK re-enlistment.

Posted by: Senator Caca | August 15, 2006 5:23 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | August 15, 2006 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Incidentally, on the "Mohawk" defense... the Post editorial says this:

"...Mr. Allen twice referred to Mr. Sidarth as "Macaca" -- is within the bounds of decency on the campaign trail?"

Yeah, I can see trying to say Mohawk and it coming out instead as a word that just happens to be a slur for those of dark color. And then doing it all over again. Just by accident. Sure.

Macaca is a French slur that Allen probably heard his French mom say growing up. He meant exactly what he said. Is that so hard to believe?

Posted by: B2O | August 15, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

"It isn't a common term in the United States at all, and even in some European cities where it is used, I've read that it is generally used in regard to blacks, not Indians."

Peter, to a good-old-boy Republican in Virginia, one dark-skinned person is the same as another. They's feren, that's all. Case in point was Karl Rove's phone campaign before the SC primary in 2000, whispering to voters that John McCain had a "dark-skinned baby". He did - a child he and his wife had adopted from Bangladesh. But the targetting and the message was "darkie". That's all redneck GOP base voters need to know.

Posted by: B2O | August 15, 2006 4:58 PM | Report abuse

As it turns out, it's one of those 'code words' that the white supremacists and neo-nazis use to identify each other.

Posted by: Drindl | August 15, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Has it occurred to anyone in the credulous mainstream media that Allen was trying to slip "Macaca" under the radar? Ie, code that the rednecks would understand, solidifying the California pretender's status as "one of us", while hopefully not raising a stir among the moderates?

Oops, didn't work George. Maybe the America you "welcomed" the Fairfax-born Siddarth to, has grown up and no longer has tolerance for your brand of racism.

Posted by: B2O | August 15, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Sounds to me like peter's had a lot of practice defending stances the Iraq non-policy to critics, so he's merely applying these tactics to what was obviously a defining and revelatory moment for Allen.

Posted by: vienna local | August 15, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Well Tony, around the blogosphere the wingers are now saying that Bush is actually a 'liberal' which is what they call all failed conservative policies. If something fails, it must be 'liberal'. Even the Iraq war is now called a 'liberal war' if you can believe their self-delulsion. It's frightening to watch.

Posted by: Drindl | August 15, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Chris, how can you be so obtuse: "whether he was purposely using a racial slur (which The Fix doubts strongly) is unimportant."?

George Allen speaks French, and learned the word "macaca" (<macaque) from his mother, a French colonist in Tunisia. "Macaque" was commonly used by French colonists to deride indigenous North Africans much in the same way that English imperialists used the word "darkie."

George Allen knew exactly what he was saying in appealing to an all-white crowd in what he thought was a backward hicktown in SW Virginia!

Posted by: iwsterling | August 15, 2006 4:53 PM | Report abuse

and the fact Allen says it TWICE -very distinctly - indicates it isn't some butchered version of mohawk. Maybe Allen is the presidential candidates for people who think Geirge Bush is too open minded and bright.

Posted by: Tony | August 15, 2006 4:53 PM | Report abuse

MIKE---perhaps forgivable if it was a one time gaffe..With this guy though it's all part of a pattern..Can't seperate this episode from the confederate flag he seems to love..Racially insensitive is one thing, but being a true racist is another..Isn't it time for a change??

Posted by: TheIrishCurse | August 15, 2006 4:51 PM | Report abuse

CHANGE! What a beautiful word.

Posted by: Drindl | August 15, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

You're right to suggest that this will go away provided Allen doesn't make further dumb statements. The people who say things like this, however, never stop with just one. Allen is a mortal lock to keep making offensive, insensitive remarks, because they are in character for him and eventually they will spill out of his mouth. I would guess that people who give money to Republican Presidential candidates, however charmed they are by the remark itself, will realize that this guy is not national candidate material.

What he has already accomplished is providing us with ample reason to hope James Webb beats him like a borrowed mule.

Posted by: LonestarJR | August 15, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Is there anything more pathetic that the Washington Post's head-in-the-sand pretense that Jennifer Allen, George's younger sister, didn't write a book ("Fifth Quarter") detailing Allen's repeated violence and abuse of his siblings and their friends?

Gotta keep in good graces with the powers that be. Oh for the days when we had an independent media.

Posted by: B2O | August 15, 2006 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Pink, the media hasn't been liberal for 30 years. That's one of the Big Lies perpetrated by the rightwing, in their culture of victimization.

Oh lawdy, lawdy, our folksy prez...

"The United States of America is engaged in a war against an extremist group of folks.."

LOL or I would be if he wasn't so terminally, relentless, hopelessly stupid and allegedly, the president. Every time I hear him open his mouth I want to weep for my country. My God how low we have fallen.

Posted by: Drindl | August 15, 2006 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the man's subconscious, subliminable(;)) racism spilled out; wonder how many other republicans and democrats alike are merely "suppress"ing it rather than blab out in a public forum like Allen did. What he said was no less condescending in "spirit" than what Hillary... what with her alleged cosmopolitaniasm and all ;) said about Indians. Its obvious that even Allen wouldn't be that indiscreet as to use a term which he knew for sure to be racist, on camera. His Tunisian background, and his aides' referring to the youngman's haircut as "mohawk" (probably?) led to this confusion.

Overall, theres a dearth of men of aristocratic instincts and decency running for public office today. I can't think of a single individual who fits either the Jimmy Stewart or George Marshall (neither ran for public office) mould of decency and commonsense -The quintessential "American" personality - in public life today. Perhaps Richard Lugar comes close?

Anyway, as an off-the-boat "macaca" myself, I am not even personally offended by the Allen's use of that word. He's dismissed rather on the grounds of being intemperate and ungenteel - conduct unbecoming a man running for the job of a "wise old man" -("senator" shares the same root with "senile"/aged). Ironically, I even considered contributing to his campaign once.

As a tidbit, The young fella's name Sidharth - was the Buddha's "real" name.


Posted by: Raj | August 15, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm still looking for the liberal media. The past couple days I've checked approx. 30 Newspapers and this IS nationwide. There is/are very little difference that can be noted. Where is it? Someone please tell me.

Posted by: lylepink | August 15, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Patterson and other replies to my post:
With all due respect sir(s)/madame(s), I was making a point that only white, male republicans are called out as racist when they have a "slip of the tongue" or actually mean it. My point was made when one poster made the point that Mr. Steele was not singled out for his comments about the holocaust. I never said what George Allen said was right or that I supported it. I tend to think the best of people, not the worse, so I would hope that it was just an honest mistake on Sen. Allen's part, but maybe not. Maybe he meant it. And if he did, then your right, we have no place for him in American Politics. Being im only 20 years old, and just began covering politics in the last five or so years, I was not aware of Newt's comments, because im guessing he made those before the 1994 election? Correct me if im wrong. And, no, Hillary's comments did not dominate the news. Maybe on Rush, Hannity, or Fox News, but not in the Post, NY Times, NBC, etc. As a southern, white, male conservative it offends me greatly when people (like you Mr. Patterson) accuse me of being a racist "right wing zombie" because I am not. I have friends of all ethnic backgrounds, work with people from all ethnic backgrounds, go to school with people of all ethnic backgrounds. Mr. Patterson, the only way we are going to get past the racial barrier is when people like YOU quit dragging up the past sir. What would my generation know of racisim and bigotry if we did not talk about it, and those older than us did not teach it to us. Yes, it is our history, a very dark part of our history and one we must pay respect to and teach the history. Not teach the racism and bigotry that accompanied those dark times. Sir, not all republicans are bad, not all are good, and the same with democrats and independents. But for you to lable me a racist and "right wing zombie" from a post I made questioning the reason why only a few are singled out for making stupid and dumb comments, sir that makes you the racist and bigot. I welcome any response you have to this post. Good day, sir.

Posted by: Magnolia | August 15, 2006 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, could it be that Allen is just showing that he's as dumb as a lot of us have always figured him to be? Maybe his ever-present smirk is less about his confidence and more about his ignorance? To the extent that this incident raises that question in people's mind, it is valuable. Otherwise, it's just slow news week around here.

Posted by: Shirlington voter | August 15, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

The writers here who are focusing on the "welcome to America/Virginia" comment are exactly right. Even without the macaca/mohawk comment/confusion, the fact that Allen assumed and pointed out to the rest of the crowd that his opponent's staffer must be an immigrant plays on the fear mongering, "they're not like us - look out" stategy that has been so successful for GBW and his cronies. He should be extra ashamed considering that this man attends the same school (UVA) as Allen did - they'll be attending alumni events together!

Posted by: patriot | August 15, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I just accidentally landed on the most repulsive blog called Blackfive. Really ugly stuff. The rightwing is america is really quickly turning into ghouls and nazis. This post was called 'On the virtues of killing children'. Which is a great idea, apparently, if they're this evil creature called 'The Enemy'.

Listen, Chris, this is a club Allen and quite a few other republicans belong to. When will you stop giving them a pass?

Posted by: Drindl | August 15, 2006 4:22 PM | Report abuse

'He went out and chose this identity for himself, both the 'cowboy' and the Confederacy-lover. That alone is weird enough. His fascination with cowboy culture is starting to look a little Village People, maybe even a little Brokeback Mountain.'

Yeah, agreed. The same as George Bush. He only bought his so-called 'ranch' becuase Rove thought it would be a good fashion accessory for Junior's presidential bid. The man rides around in his golf cart and his terrified of horses, with his brand-new boots and too-big belt buckle... I don't think any of 'em realize how truly Village People they are, how stereotypically gay. Or maybe they do.

All I know is, republican men got some serious manhood issues.

Posted by: Drindl | August 15, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Three points:

One, I'm surprised and disappointed by The Fix's assertion that it is "unimportant" if U.S. Senator George Allen used a racial slur when addressing a minority member of his constituency.

Two, if The Fix is willing to tell us what explanation it "strongly doubts" then I would be very interested in hearing what explanation it does not doubt.

Three, even if Senator Allen did mean to call him "Mohawk" why did he mean to call him that, or more to the point why did Allen's campaign staff give the guy that nickname? Considering the fact that pictures of him don't appear to show a mohawk and he has described his hair as being a "mullet" (which you would assume a Virginian senator and his staff would recognize), I think there's a real possibility that he got this nickname because he's of Indian descent. Get it? Some funny Allen staffer thought it would be funny to nickname the young (Gandhi) Indian guy after a haircut identified with Native American Indians.

Posted by: Why Mohawk? | August 15, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

just remember magnolia that newt used the term plantation to describe the way the democrats ran the house of representatives before he became speaker. hilary was just returning the compliment. unless of course, you're just totally horrified that newt would used the expression plantation since it horrified you when hilary used it.

Posted by: quark | August 15, 2006 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I almost always vote Republican (actually, anti-Democrat). Have never been keen on Allen, but thought he was better than the alternatives. His comments are totally stupid and really cause me can anyone think such a comment is appropriate. What a moron. Worse than macaca (which I have hardly ever heard, so it sounds like gibberish), his comment "welcome to Virginia" was anti-immigrant...that is even more offensive to me as it was anti-american. Indian-americans are as welcome as Irish-americans, etc. His comments show he is a poor politician...he is not some intern or staffer...he is the candidate. If he cant be inoffensive, he warrants lambasting in this PC era. If the Democrats can put up a decent candidate for a change, I will vote against Allen. Otherwise, I will vote for him reluctantly . One key will be if his Democrat opponent or the press is going to harp on this to the point of annoyance or not. The Democrat guy has the high ground...saying less is better than saying more. Raise the issue selectively so the people do not tune out...otherwise, it becomes just noise. Allen is a jerk who said a dumb thing in the heat of the moment (recall the Dean scream?)...understandable, but never acceptable...the question is wither it is possibly forgiveable.

Posted by: Mike | August 15, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Also interesting, note the quotations around "war on terror."

Posted by: peter | August 15, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

From the Post article:

[After saying that Webb was raising money in California with a "bunch of Hollywood movie moguls," Allen said, "Let's give a welcome to macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia." Allen then began talking about the "war on terror."]

From that description it sounds more like Allen was constrasting the "Hollywood" image he's trying to pin on Webb with his own good old boy approach to campaigning, meaning he wasn't supposing Sidarth an immigrant but rather attempting to portray the Webb organization as out of touch with Virginia.

I don't agree that the "real world" of either Virginia or America is an all-white cast of hicks with money to blow, and to me that proposition is more ridiculous than an assumption that Sidarth is an immigrant.

Posted by: peter | August 15, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Well I am relieved that 'The Fix' doubts "strongly" that Allen was not purposely using a racial slur to demean the Webb staffer. Unfortunately, there is little doubt of Allen's purposeful use of the term. I would have found "Perhaps feeling a little too familiar amongst his friends, he got off message and had a Gibson," a more believable explanation.

Your analysis is wildly off the mark. Whether Allen intended the slur is important. Whether Allen singled out a constituent for repeated derision because of his skin color does matter. Allen's conduct confirms past suspicions of questionable leanings as matters of record. The real question is will media and voter indifference give Allen a pass.

Posted by: Todd | August 15, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse


Your convoluted defense of Allen's ingrained racial bigotry,using Hillary's very acknowledgement of that bigotry, reeks of the kind of ignorant confusion that is the hallmark of Right Wing zombies.

No matter how weak your argument or how lame your excuses, you will invariably refuse to consider that you might just be wrong.

The simple reason us white folks carry the burden of bigotry is that we enslaved other races for hundreds of years. There is still a great deal of southern wealth that can still be traced back to those evil times.

Then, when that cheap labor supply was lost to the abolitionist cause in the Civil War, the leftover Rebels who couldn't give up the stars and bars proceeded to create the Jim Crow south, lynching their former slaves and forcing them out of the Democratic process, as a conservative-dominated Supreme Court (sound familiar?) sat silently by in overt collusion.

And now, after the Civil Rights movement of the 60's took even that power away from them, they do stuff like Allen did in Virginia, and like Bush did in Florida in 200, as if none of those laws matter.

It just goes to prove that these Republican neocons are lawless, their only compass being corporate profitability at any cost. And until people like Magnolia wake up from their stupor, they will continue to enable these rogues at the ballot box.

Hopefully, a new, moral mainstream majority will unfold in the near future, tempered by history to be tolerant, not prejudiced. All the signs are there.


Posted by: John Patterson | August 15, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

George Allen is the real deal, the true face of the Republican Party, a sick and pathetic collection of freaks, fakes, phonies, perverts, thugs and low lifes. A sicker, more America-hating circus sideshow has never been assembled. I'm truly saddened to see Chris thorw his support to such vermin.

Posted by: tab khan | August 15, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

George Allen's bizarre fascination with faux country culture and faux confederacy identification just weirds me out. He can't even say it was a cultural thing - he ain't exactly a small town boy from Alabama.

He was a white boy of privilege and considerable education outside of the traditional bastions of race hatred in the US.

He went out and chose this identity for himself, both the 'cowboy' and the Confederacy-lover. That alone is weird enough. His fascination with cowboy culture is starting to look a little Village People, maybe even a little Brokeback Mountain. I mean, sheesh, give it up already. We've seen the boots. Yes, Sen. Allen - we know, you're All Man, from Shiny Baptist Hair to Buttkickin' Boots. Can you give it a rest already? Nobody is questioning your sexuality. We get it. You dig chicks. A lot. Now, how about actually representing all Virginia citizens, not just that look like your odd century-old view of 'Old Virginia'. Some of us remember the Old Virginia. It wasn't so pretty for an awful lot of people.

Posted by: Hillman | August 15, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

How did you overlook mentioning that since the incident, it has been asserted that Macaca is a French slur against North Africans and that Allen's mother is French Tunisian? If true, it should have been mentioned. If untrue, a comprehensive report would dispel the rumor. I am sure someone at the Post could have helped you track down this aspect of the story. Instead, it appears you prefer give him a pass without doing any work. I think if you were objective, you would have done a little work instead of being the Senator's PR scribe. I wish the Post would employ in reporters instead of stenographers.

Posted by: GordonShumway | August 15, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Macaca is a variation of macaque, as many pointed out in the comments section. It is also the Spanish word for monkey (macaco or macaquito) and used by some in South America to refer to the dark skin on those of African ancestry.

I was surprised to see a white American from the south using this term until some pointed out his mom's French Tunisian connection.

Putting the "macaca" term aside, the fact that he welcomed him to America (Siddarth is native Virginian) just because of his looks is more proof of his beliefs.

Posted by: GCH | August 15, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I just want to note that this is the guy who said that he was glad Tony Snow was picked, because he knows "what's going on in the real world," "like Laura Ingraham and Tony and Hannity and Rush Limbaugh."

Those are the people that he thinks are "on the pulse of the people in the real world." Yeah, I'm sure Rush Limbaugh is very familiar with the real world...

I can't wait til November - I've only got one vote, but we have GOT to get this guy out.

Posted by: SB | August 15, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Magnolia, Hillary's comment dominated the news for days, so I have no idea what you are talking about. Compare it to Michael Steele, who received comparatively little press when he compared stem-cell research with the Holocaust.

Hillary's comment was insensitive---it made a comparison which went too far (just like Steele, who went further). But Allen's comment is a direct use of a racist slur to a person that slur is designed to denigrate. He knew what it meant ("mohawk"---come on, have you seen the guy's haircut? it looks nothing like that).

Posted by: JoshA | August 15, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

NOTE TO KRISH and other hyprocrite liberals:

Why is it only a big deal when a white, male Republican makes comments (which I belive are not meaning to be racist, but the 24/7 media reads into being), and when a other politicos (i.e. a senator from NY) make reference to the GOP leadership running the house "like a plantation" which is a very RACIST comment it is overlooked. Hell, all Trent Lott had to do was make a old man feel good and the damn media went crazy. Just think we wouldnt have had to put up with Frist and his do-nothing Senate.

Posted by: Magnolia | August 15, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

It troubles me that Allen would make the "welcome to America" comment especially considering that his own mother is an immigrant, which makes Allen a first generation American - just like the Webb volunteer he was so willing to ridicule.

Immigration has been and is good for America. Not just European immigrants - but all immigrants.

Posted by: Fellow Immigrant (and proud of it!) | August 15, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Note to Chris Cillizza: This isn't really important, but the "Stars and Bars" isn't the rebel flag that George Allen seems so smitten with. The Stars and Bars was the first national flag of the Confederacy and looks kinda like the Texas state flag. Go to Wikipedia and check it out, since you're probably going to be writing about this over the next year. (A lot of writers get it wrong...)

Posted by: Wingo | August 15, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

It is a shame that America has people like Allen in public office. This country is changing in its ethnic make-up, and changing fast. People like Allen should realize this basic truth and reform themselves to remain relevant.

Posted by: Krish | August 15, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Chris, you set the bar to a new low with this post. I didn't think it was possible for anyone to be this disingenuous.

Right now it looks like a race to the bottom between you and Garance Franke Ruta over at Tapped.

Posted by: Corinne | August 15, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Allen's got a handful on his hands, that is for sure.

And I wonder just how that small "handful" became a voting majority in the Lieberman election.

When the neocons are forced to acknowledge the true will of the American public, they typically label the main-stream as ex-treme. In this case, Peace itself is now being called a left wing conspiracy.

One of these days, that manipulative framing just won't work any more.

That day may have already come.

And, not usually one for "I told you so's" I have to remind regular readers that an earlier post of mine suggested the Brits had been forced by our American neocons to pull the trigger a bit early on their terror plot investigation, as a fear-mongering response to Lieberwar's fall from political grace.

Apparently I was right.


Posted by: John Patterson | August 15, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Why is Cillizza trying to gloss this over?

OK, maybe it's tiresome seeing these type of gaffes brought up in political campaigns again and again.

But come on. Allen's a United States Senator meeting with a room full of his own supporters, and yet he STILL had to single out the only non-white person in the room for ridicule using an obvious racial slur. Is this the kind of person we should consider for President?

Posted by: d g | August 15, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

By focusing solely on the word macaca and whether Senator Allen knew what it meant Chris conveniently ignores the Senator's "welcome to America" comment. At least according to the news accounts I've read, the kid was born if Fairfax!! If racism is singling people solely on the basis of race, this would surely fit the bill. Chris, do you really think Allen would have "welcomed" a white heckler to America????

Posted by: SP | August 15, 2006 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Something I just found on Josh Marshall's site that's relevant:

'As that blogger you linked yesterday demonstrated, "macaca" and its derivatives are well-known among white supremacists and neo-nazis. What about the thought that Allen used the epithet, knowing it would be reported, as a subliminal way of telling these people (and they're out there in greater numbers in the south, unfortunately) that "I'm one of you"???

Let's review that this guy used to have the Stars and Bars on his car in southern California 40 years ago, and was noted in his high school yearbook as being "pro-Confederate" with the things he wore. You weren't around then, but I was, and I can tell you that any white person doing that was a racist and a white supremacist, identifying with the "southern resistance" to the civil rights movement.

This guy is not just dangerous like Bush is, he's dangerous as "the next progression" of the Republican far right.'

I think the fact that Allen is who he is, and where he is, demonstrates the very creepy and insidious direction the republican party is taking.

I ask again, Chris, when will the 'liberal media' stop enabling these creeps?

Posted by: Drindl | August 15, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

'reading the handful of far-left liberals who rant about this stuff''

Well, you know you're right, son. We're the only ones who care. I'm sure you're one of those republican folks who think racism is pretty damn funny.

I spent a lot of time in the South when I was younger visiting relatives, and I clearly remember people calling their black neighbors and fellow townspeople 'porch monkeys'. No matter how many times it was repeated, hilarious laughter always ensued.

The republican party openly embraces these people, as you can see by the few comments in support of Allen. It's no big deal--just like it's no big deal for Ann Coulter to incite people to assasinate judges. Just a little joke among friends. You know, when they used to lynch black people, not so long ago, it was like a big party. People brought their kids and picnic baskets. Some things never change.

Posted by: Drindl | August 15, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

If the democratic staffer's grandparents had come from mainland China, and Senator Allen had referred to him as, say, "Mr. Ching Chong," the fact that "Ching Chong" doesn't have a specific translated definition would be irrelevant.

Whether Allen knew specifically what "Macaca" meant or not is also somewhat irrelevant: He was trying to stigmatize the fellow because, aside from working for Webb, he wasn't white. He was an "other," pefect fodder for the narrow-minded bigots that Allen has always appealed to.

Posted by: Matthew | August 15, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

What Chris really meant was that he didn't think Allen wanted to see the item in the newspapers or on television.

Really, George Allen was just putting out the welcome mat for a new immigrant and being as inviting as Republican candidates are nationally this mid-term. This is part of the "Welcome to America" immigration reform hearings that the Republicans are having throughout the blue states.

Of course, Allen about twenty years too late to welcome the Fairfax-born Indian-American to the US. But real-Republicans (not the Rhode Island or Maine types) know that you CAN tell *real* 'Mericans by looking at them -- if you are a Patriot fighting the War on Terror.

Posted by: wetback | August 15, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

PS I don't speak French yet when I saw the word Allen used I immediately thought of macaque -- a kind of monkey. His denial is laughable.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 15, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Looks to me like Allen -- a native Californian -- was trying to reinforce his Old Virginny bonafides among the good ol' boy crowd.

This story brings to mind Byron De La Beckwith, the notorious Klansman. When he was arrested for the Medgar Evers murder, the Jackson newspaper headlines started with "Californian..." Beckwith was born in California and moved to Mississippi as an infant.

Just what we need as president -- a violent racist.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 15, 2006 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Imagine being born and growing up in a state only to be "welcomed" to it by the senator twenty years later. The senator who grew up in california, by the way. Shame on Mr. Allen. Forget the monkey comment for a second - just the "welcome to Virginia, welcome to America" statement is an affront to Americans ALL over the country.

Posted by: Max | August 15, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Read this Chris, then tell he misspoke or doesn't know what the french wword means:

Here is a quote from the president of the University of Virginia, Patricia Cormier at UVA's commencement exercises in Spring 2005 introducing Senator George Allen:

"A little known fact about Senator Allen is that his undergraduate education was enhanced substantially by his excellent performance in French class, taught by none other than Dr. Raymond Cormier, visiting professor of French at Longwood, and my husband! I have up here on the podium the gradebook, and he got a very good grade. No wonder the senator can applaud his superior education."

Posted by: Scott | August 15, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"but I gave him a small benefit of the doubt because I thought he would know better than purposely to make a racist remark in front of a camera."

Please, Peter, don't take it personal...It is not personally pejorative to suggest that you are cutting Allen a bigger break than most clear-minded people would.

I simply question double-sided logic that allows for both extreme ignorance and extreme expertise in the same paragraph and people. And your arguement to that effect did not convert me or many others to your logic.

You might want to reconsider, I know it can be a hard thing to do, but we are all wrong at one time or another.

Your supposition that Allen did not know what macaca meant is much too forgiving. And, at the other end, your suggesting that he is a political whiz is also not lent much support when perusing his recent political history.

He's struggling against a virtually unknown opponent, and if the polls keep sliding, Allen may well find himself plopping down into the political cesspool of history, right behind Joe Lieberman.

Why? Because his inner hubris and his inner circle won't allow him to perceive and respond to what his constituents actually want.

If that is being politically savvy, we should hang the label on Lieberman, too.

The fact that Allen will be forced to run a real campaign to keep his supposedly comfortable senate seat, is just more proof that his Presidential ambitions are already an exercise in futility.

But don't expect the press to tell him so. They desperately want that stars-and-bars campaign money.

And they don't care where it comes from.


Posted by: John Patterson | August 15, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Let me understand--You strongly doubt Allen intended macaca as a racial slur?

So, what are the chances that the son of a native French speaker accidentally calls a person of color the French equivilent of the n-word?

Posted by: dclocal | August 15, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Par for the course for our worthless, do-nothing, one-term Senator. Confederate flags, cowboy boots, racial slurs and tobacco chewin' don't make a man, husband, father or Senator. It's good to see Bubba show his true colors. Your are OUTTA here, boy!

Posted by: Robert | August 15, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

The problem with intolerant people is that they are rarely aware of it.

Surrounded by a group of peers of homogenous racial makeup, he awkwardly rambled through his monologue that included his disparaging remarks. A stupid but common politico mistake.

This is in no way any attempt to downplay the effects or spin the outcomes. But I have seen this before in other contexts and circumstances.

In Cleveland, our previous Mayor often tried to play to black audiences with off-hand comments (once "referring to black persons time" for being late) that were intended to connect her with the audience but were done poorly and had the opposite effect.

Now this mayor was in no way racially intolerant but in an effort to make political gains, overstepped her common sense and fell flat.

From reviewing the video and its context, I would say this was an ignorant attempt at both humor and making the Webb staffer uncomfortable by pointing out the differences between him and the audience. To be sure, it was intentional. Was it intolerant? Undoubtedly. Was it intentionally meant to be racial intolerant? Just plain ignorant if no, completely stupid if yes but unknown, but that matters less and less as the story grows.

It certainly plays into and builds upon the perception. Allen was certainly miffed by the young man's presence which leads to questions about a temper control problem.

We certainly don't need another chief executive of this country that can't control what comes out his mouth and in what manner.

Posted by: RMill | August 15, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I love the fix Chris, but it's time for you to admit you're wrong when you say you don't think he intended it as a racial slur...he studied french...he knows what the word means...his mother is french Tunisian...and it is a word specifically used as a racial slur. He just didn't intend on people being smart enough to figure it out and it being national news.

Posted by: Scott | August 15, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

In response to this post, whoever wrote it:

>>Peter wrote: "Ask the same 100 people if they've ever heard the word "macaca" at all."

So, you're publicly saying that you buy the explantion that "macaca" was simply misspeak for "mohawk" - a word that sounds nothing like it?

Thanks for clearing things up. I now know that you're an idiot and I need not read anything else you write.<<

In a post I made shortly before that I said the mohawk defense was ridiculous. Exact quote: "The mohawk defense is ridiculous." The point was that most Americans have never heard the word macaca and don't readily associate racial tensions with it.

Additionally, I don't think it's at all conflicted of me to recognize Allen's political ability and at the same time to doubt his intellectual prominence. GWB himself, for example, may have approval ratings in the swamps and be dumb as a doorknob, but his POLITICAL skill makes him a huge attraction at Republican fundraising events; I'm not aware of anyone else in the country who personally raises more money, and it's because even when he's lost most of the country, he knows how to talk to his base. What do you think Allen's doing? I don't think it's at all impossible that Allen is a racist, but I gave him a small benefit of the doubt because I thought he would know better than purposely to make a racist remark in front of a camera. Maybe I shouldn't have, but man, read the entirety of a post before you comment so pejoratively on me personally.

Posted by: peter | August 15, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

A special note of personal gratitude to all the Iowans who have challenged Chris's naive supposition that Allen's monkeyshines don't matter in Iowa.

Clearly, Chris has never spent an afternoon in the Des Moines bus depot. Even Iowa is becoming ethnically diverse, more every day.

And I think that is a good thing.

No doubt "George The White" obviously would disagree, and at the same time he would likely assume all those "macacas" and "trogladites" were born abroad.

But he would be, as usual, quite mistaken.

I was raised in Iowa and now live in Kansas, and I guarantee that my "macaca" and "trogladite" friends don't take kindly to such patent prejudice.

And neither do the good-hearted white folks in the mid-west who know better.

I look forward to seeing how the international press handles this one. It will surely hold Allen to more account than our own greedy media. The international press is not protecting future political-ad profits.

Particularly, all self-respecting Virginians should be appalled at this wannabe Texan. His hungry ambitions reek of political deception and desperation.

Ambition is commonly labeled "blind," but it is much worse when it can be called pernicious.


Posted by: John Patterson | August 15, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh MY God! A racial slur out of a Repubs mouth, say it aint so! Look, the people on the FAR Right, spew hatred about Gays, anyone protesting the WAR, to anyone who doesn't agree with BUSH and their Neocon crap! Allen new exactly what he was saying you would have to have the brain the size of a pea to not believe that he wanted to single out this person and of course the smart remark of "Macaca" wasn't just some word he thought of at the moment. I think "coultergiest, Rove Vader, Bill O Really, Rush "where's my pills" Limbaugh, and can't shoot straight Cheney and the rest of this bunch including Bush need to be shipped off to some remote island where they can all live by themselves and they won't have anyone to deal with who isn't White, Rich and ready to invade the next island. I hope the ship is leaving soon and all these idiots will be on it, unfortunately, it seems this party has many more to replace them. Guess they all drink the kool aid huh? Sue F

Posted by: Sue F | August 15, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Josh Marshall's blog links to somebody who did some research on the use of the word. It makes a pretty clear case that the word is used as a slur on racist websites.

Chris, please go over there and check it out. It makes a pretty clear case about the word and its awful usage.

Posted by: dc reader | August 15, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

How much does everyone want to bet that Allen drops the N-word all the time behind closed doors? I still am in disbelief that this isn't a bigger story. 2 possibilties that I see: (1) the media is at least semi-racist, or (2) the media realizes that its audience is at least semi-racist, so it doesn't want to upset the audience by publishing too much about this.

Posted by: aviswana | August 15, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Bigot: One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ. There are lots of bigots on this board.

Posted by: Steve | August 15, 2006 1:52 PM | Report abuse

It's worth pointing out that Webb has praised the Confederate army in the past (and still features this speech on his own website). I'm surprised that Cillizza doesn't even mention this point, in the interest of context.

Posted by: Tom T. | August 15, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I have ripped George Allen for the last year here as Chris likes to push him as the gop "front runner"...Put aside the fact he is an out and out racist, and of course as a kid got a huge rush out of beating up on his sister...Bottom line is the guy is an idiot..Haven't we seen over the last six years the result of an idiot running the country? To top it off bhoomes defends him..What else needs to be said?

Posted by: TheIrishCurse | August 15, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Senator Allen has a bad case of "George Syndrome." In fact, he has it so bad he makes the original patient, George W. Bush look like a genius. For the life of me I can't figure out why the networks keep inviting him back to the Sunday morning political talk shows. Every time he opens his mouth I am stunned by the stupidity the flows past this lips. It is, however, easy to see why the puppet masters in the Republican party are grooming him to be the next president: He will be even easier to control than Bush. Did he mean to use a racial slur? You bet he did! Why did he do it? Because he can, he doesn't care, and he knows it really doesn't matter if anyone is offended by it. He is the crown prince of the far right wing of the Republican party, he will be their nominee, and he will be the next president. Pretty scary, huh?

Posted by: Ken in MN | August 15, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Macaca - the word was new to me and I was willing to consider that maybe Mr. Allen didn't know what it meant, until I realized that his mother is French from Tunisia. Of course, he knew what it meant and he used it as a slur.

He was trying to bond with the all-white crowd of good-old-boys (he presumed) that he was addressing. What a jerk!

I'm from Ohio and I'm offended.

Posted by: OhioBlue | August 15, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

This is the first I've heard of the incident, and I didn't know what a "macaca" was until I looked it up. Chris Cillizza doesn't even mention that it's a racist term.

When I first started reading the blog entry, I assumed the word meant "dummy" or something, since Cillizza was taking it so lightly.

But no, he's apparently helping cover for a racist.

Posted by: Brian | August 15, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Chris, are you on a retainer for the Allen Campaign? That is hte only explanation I have for your explanation.

Posted by: Roger | August 15, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Shorter 'Real Virginia': "I support racists."

Posted by: Gaithersburg, MD | August 15, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

sorry, add " the GOP" to that last bit.

Posted by: F&B | August 15, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

More disgusting than Allen's obviously racist remarks are the namby-pamby apologetic remarks coming from this blog.

Stop focusing on whether or not he knew what "macaca" means (which he probably did, and how does one mistake a mullet for a mohawk anyway, what a lame-ass excuse that is) - start focusing on the fact that he welcomed this guy to America. That one sentence shows just how nasty Allen actually is; he implied that, because the guy didn't look "American," he must be foreign. Whether or not he actually believes that is irrelevant; he decided to use it for political gain.

And seeing as how not every American is some kind of neocon apologist, I disagree with your assertion that this will not be noted outside the Beltway. It's an insult to Americans to say that nobody would care if they knew the full story (and also shows a bit of Eurocentricism on your part - there are non-Whites outside the Beltway who would care very much about this).

Jesus. Katharine Graham must be spinning in her grave.

Posted by: whatever | August 15, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Shorter 'Real Virginia': "It's ok to be a racist"

Posted by: F&B | August 15, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I really enjoy reading the handful of far-left liberals who rant about this stuff.

Chris, you are right on the money. Allen was sloppy and insensitive, but that means little three months from now on election day. Unless he keeps putting his foot in his mouth, then this story will continue.

This story will die nationally by Sunday while the liberal left echo chamber nutroots will keep talking to themselves.

Posted by: Real Virginia | August 15, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I suspect he learned the word from his Mom, not knowing what it really meant. He probably thought it was French for Arab.

This is Mr. Allen's wake up call, because if he learns from it, it will blow over.

The America as Allen knew it growing up is gone. The melting pot is here.

That means the guy of East Asian decent who was born and raised here in Virginia, or any other state, is the rule, not the exception. His demographic is changing quickly and he needs to take swift action to adjust and to really learn about people and cultures.

Mr. Allen is like any politician and he's protecting his power. That defensive stance is aggressive by nature. He needs to be more responsible than to direct it at his oponnent's subordinate, who wasn't speaking himself.

Posted by: Deana | August 15, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

George Allen is as dumb as a rock. I guess on that basis he should be a natural for the Republican nomination in 2008.

Posted by: maria | August 15, 2006 1:29 PM | Report abuse

This item should be noted with Bush's supposed reading of 'The Stranger' by Albert Camus. Allen calls someone a racial slur and Bush is reading a book that details a person who murders an Arab for no reason and feels no guilt. Senator Allens 'rhetorical blunder' is about as real as Bush 'exploring existentialism.' Time for Cillizza to realize these two are playing to their base for the mid-terms.

Posted by: Terry Green | August 15, 2006 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"Somehow" Chris missed including this scathing editorial from (how?)

Posted by: F&B | August 15, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Peter wrote: "Ask the same 100 people if they've ever heard the word "macaca" at all."

So, you're publicly saying that you buy the explantion that "macaca" was simply misspeak for "mohawk" - a word that sounds nothing like it?

Thanks for clearing things up. I now know that you're an idiot and I need not read anything else you write.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 15, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

The really sad part is that for every person that Senator Allen offended with his obviously racist remark, there will be at least one person who agrees with what he said & enjoys making derogatory racial comments towards minorities. Yet, if you throw a Giuliani or other more moderate Republican onto the ticket, then Allen would waltz into the White House. This - along with the fact that the media has largely ignored this story - shows that America is a very long way from conquering (or even tempering!) its racial demons.

Posted by: aviswana | August 15, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Chris, You are wrong about Allen's comments not having an effect in Iowa. I am offended by his comment and your assertion. It is an insult to me as an Iowan and more so as American of Indian ethnicity. Iowans care because they are decent folks and abhore bigotry when they see it.

Posted by: Another voter from Iowa | August 15, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

The really sad part is that for every person that Senator Allen offended with his obviously racist remark, there will be at least one person who agrees with what he said & enjoys making derogatory racial comments towards minorities. Yet, if you throw a Giuliani or other more moderate Republican onto the ticket, then Allen would waltz into the White House. This - along with the fact that the media has largely ignored this story - shows that America is a very long way from conquering (or even tempering!) its racial demons.

Posted by: Washington, DC | August 15, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Chris, did you even watch the video? Sit back and watch it again while you sip some RNC-flavored Kool-Ade. Also, listen to the tone in Felix's voice. I don't think Allen would be so comfortable as to say the same things in Falls Church, Alexandria or Arlington. But we don't see George up here too often. He sneaks in for fund-raising and runs back to SW VA.

Posted by: Webb-footed | August 15, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Peter, you seem conflicted...

"Allen is a relatively savvy politician"

"but I have no problem believing that neither Allen nor any of his supporters in that room had any idea what the word "macaca" means."

I get it... he's so smart, he would never make such a stupid mistake, but he's so stupid, he doesn't know what his own words mean...

Reminds me of George of the Jungle...

He's trying to replace George of the Bush...

Its as if foot-in-mouth disease is some kind of pre-requisite for Republican Presidential campaigners.

Allen will be chewing on his toes for a long time on this one.

But don't expect the mainstream media to go after him, at least in the headlines. They want that 08' campaign advertising money, and Allen promises to yield a fountain of conservative contributions.

Exposing his naked character in response to this event would dry up that fountain before it can be turned into advertising.


Posted by: Anonymous | August 15, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he meant Daniel Akaka. Most non-caucasians look alike to a bigot.

Posted by: F&B | August 15, 2006 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I often accidently throw racial slurs into my speech. I have no idea what things mean, I just say them. Now, I'm not a sitting U.S. Senator, but I imagine Senator Allen just accidently said that. I don't know why anyone wouldn't believe him. It's not like he has a history of this type of thing. It's not like his excuse isn't believable. I mean, I've always had a hard time saying Mohawk. It's a tough word. Kinda like nuclear.

Posted by: Evil | August 15, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I always enjoy reading your articles, Mr. Cillizza, because it's sooo entertaining to see just how far you'll bend over backward to spin the latest Republican stupidity. Sen. Allen's 'macaca' comment is a case in point! I guess he didn't purposely call him a little dark monkey - it was just a natural reflex!

Keep up the great work!

Posted by: J B R | August 15, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

It's just another one of those 'it's okay if you're a republican' incidents. For some reason, the genteel DC pundits will swallow anything the repugs say. If a Dem said this, there would be furious protestations.

But if it's repugs, they 'didn't really mean it'.

Look at Ann Coulter. She can get away [on TV, no less] with agitating for the murder of judges, teachers, doctors, policemen. She can use the most outrageous racial slurs and insults. She can say that Maxine Walters [a Dem congresswman] 'should never have gotten any job that didn't require a paper hat'. And what does our 'liberal' media do? Giggle and invite her back. Oh Ann, what a character...

This is someone who, quite literally, plagarizes Hitler. And she's just one. Limbaugh, Hannity, that Laura whatever her name is--the whole crew of rabid, foaming unhinged racists and zealots and pundits, get away with murder. They incite mentally unstable people to 'kill liberals'. They get away with it.

Chris, when are you and other DC media outlets going to stop enabling these terrorists? The sickening stench of this rhetoric is your responsiblity.

Posted by: Drndl | August 15, 2006 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Ask the same 100 people if they've ever heard the word "macaca" at all.

Posted by: peter | August 15, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Yup - as others have noted.

Macaca sure rolls off the tongue exactly like the word "mohawk"....almost an exact homonym....NOT.

Chris, you lose credibility when you write stuff that does not pass the "common man" test. If you buy the "I meant mohawk" explanation, you really don't deserve to be a paid writer for the WP (dead tree edition) or

Honestly, I defy you to walk up to any 100 people anywhere in the country and ask if "Macaca" can be perceived as misspeak for "mohawk". I'll let YOU, Chris, pick the 100 people. What do you suppose the results will be?

That's right. You already know the answer.

Posted by: Gaithersburg, MD | August 15, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

So, you doubt that Allen was making a racist remark, in spite of the fact that he has a long history of making them (including being kicked out of school for racist graffiti)?

Howard Cosell and Trent Lott lost their careers for making racist remarks, yet you think this is "much ado" about nothing?

Mr. Cilizza, it seems Mr. Allen isn't the only one who isn't "ready for the national stage." Shame on you.

Posted by: Tlazolteotl | August 15, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

oops, i meant pejorative...or did i mean mohawk?

Posted by: sharon | August 15, 2006 1:07 PM | Report abuse

the only time i've heard the word 'macaca' used it was in france and it was used as an ethnic slur against arabs. allen's mother is french; perhaps he picked it up from her.

that anyone can doubt that it was used in a perjorative fashion is mind-boggling. the man is a bigot.

Posted by: sharon | August 15, 2006 1:04 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting to read this front-page story and then to look at the other front-page article titled "Area Immigrants Top 1 Million." Allen is going to have enough problems picking up votes in VA's DC suburbs (some of which are increasingly leaning left politically) as it is-seems like he pretty much shot himself in the foot with yesterday's remarks. Also, his "explanation" for his comments (i.e. saying he meant Mohawk) sounds pretty lame, especially in light of the line about welcome to I guess that means no Americans have mohawks or mullets right?

Posted by: Robby | August 15, 2006 1:04 PM | Report abuse

The reason The Fix doubts that Allen's remark was a determined racial slur is that Allen is a relatively savvy politician, albeit within the confines of Virginia politics. That he would purposefully and unabashedly throw out a racial slur in front of a camera is difficult to believe for a seasoned politician, whatever his background. It was certainly a lapse in judgment to single the young man out, but had a white Webb volunteer been present, I've no doubt he or she would have been similarly singled out, though probably by a different name.

The mohawk defense is ridiculous, but I have no problem believing that neither Allen nor any of his supporters in that room had any idea what the word "macaca" means. It isn't a common term in the United States at all, and even in some European cities where it is used, I've read that it is generally used in regard to blacks, not Indians.

I think the abuse accounts and other history regarding Allen's Dixie fascination will matter much more than this incident. Chris said it all - this is a slow time for political news.

Posted by: peter | August 15, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Just goes to show why Allen will not be the repubs guy in 08. I will repeat [LISTEN FOR WHAT THEY DONT SAY.} In this case, he made a boo boo Big Time.

Posted by: lylepink | August 15, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Before signing off, I would like to add that there is one more clear proof of Allen's systemic prejudice.

Obviously, he simply assumed that this person of color was a foreigner, despite the fact that the object of Allen's racial derision was American-born and Virginia-raised.

That alone should be evidence enough to prove Allen and his fellow southern Republicans harbor an abiding and systemic racial prejudice, so deeply ingrained that they do not perceive non-white Americans as Americans, at least at first glance.


Posted by: John Patterson | August 15, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I am from Iowa and I would like to refute your false notion that Allen's comment does not have any effect out here. Allen is a racist and this incident is just one of many in his career. What your story now proves is that you're an ignorant racist as well.

Posted by: Iowa | August 15, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Let's get it straight.

Macaca is not just french for monkey (which would be bad enough). It's a common racial slur for Arab or Black in Europe and Allen knows it. Allen mother is French lived in Tunisia where the slur was used for the local population.

Come on. This story deserves a higher profile. Mel Gibson is not a "presidential fontrunner"., Allen is. Where is the press on this?


Posted by: Jon | August 15, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Go to wikipedia or any dictionary and the first thing that comes up is 'monkey'.

no matter how you spin it, allen was definately using the word macaca as a pejorative.

Good this came out of the man before he went to the white house. It would have (note the verbiage) been a pity to have this man there...

Posted by: Randall | August 15, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

The "Welcome to America" line and the fact that he singled out the only non-white person in the crowd, in context with the bullying issue and the confederate flag issue...the guy's got problems.

Posted by: Pol | August 15, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Is George Allen living proof of evolution?

(This is a re-post from the last blog...)

It is no surprise that Allen used such a racial slur, he is one of the most insensitive, arrogant and condescending dullards in our government.

I remember when he tried to tell Cindy Sheehan that a bigger death-benefit payment might make the loss of her son Casey somehow acceptable.

She told him she would prefer having her son back to Allen and his neocons' blood money.

I doubt that Allen's offspring will ever face the same imposed and profane duty Casey was stuck with.

And Allen should refrain from ever using the "macaca" reference again, it just makes him look like a stupid gorilla, and gives one more solid proof of evolution.

Who needs a missing link when we have people like Allen in Washington DC?


Posted by: John Patterson | August 15, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

"or whether he was purposely using a racial slur (which The Fix doubts strongly) is unimportant."

Wrong on all counts...

That a white, Virginia son-of-a-coach would entertain his white Republican audience with a thinly veiled racial slur should come as no surprise to anyone. Prejudice is a bad habit with an entrenched, profane history, and is alive and well, especially in the Republican Party.

"The Fix" (Chris?) "doubting strongly" something any good-old-boy prejudiced redneck knows to be true, only suggests a hopeful, forgiving naivety that those same rednecks will surely get a chuckle at.

Sidharth's dillema was typical for anyone of color in the presence of the real Republican party.

Either they are condescendingly tolerated and thrust to the front row for the cameras, or they are subtly ridiculed with not-so-secret catch-phrazes (like macaca), or they are openly subjected to pernicious ante-bellum contempt.

But even their election-fraud poster-boy in Ohio, Blackwell is the object of derision from southern Republicans, who, try as they might, can never erase the stars-and-bars tattoo from their collective soul.

And I would guess, if you snuck into their private, all-white smoke-filled clubrooms, you might find they are proud of the fact.

There are still hundreds of those clubs that Blackwell could never join.


Posted by: Anonymous | August 15, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Sounds to me like he may have had a couple brewski's. He kept talking about "macaca's" opponent instead of candidate. No one had mentioned that in any reports I've seen.

Posted by: Joe | August 15, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse

He's a racist. Come out and say it. He has a history of this sort of thing. He's just used to being in the South where nobody cares, especially not the republican circles he hangs out in. Harmless? From the geographic homeland of lynchings? Hardly.

Put that together with his brutal beatings of siblings and you've got one sadistic mofo.

Posted by: Drindl | August 15, 2006 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget, by way of context, the things Allen's sister has to say about him in her book. "Bully" may in fact be a charitable way to describe Allen -- he sounds like a repugnant individual.

As for whether Allen did in fact mean calling an indian a type of monkey to be a racial slur, I agree that it seems hard to believe. BUT,the sheer unbelievability of the initial Allen defense -- "he really meant mohawk" -- makes me wonder. Not to mention the arrogance displayed by the Allen campaign hack who was first asked about the issue. And the attempt to turn the incident into a reverse-smear, trying to paint Webb as an anti-semite, is just mind boggling for a "safe" incumbent.

Not ready for prime time? I think so. Webb is just getting started -- once he starts to spend some money, Allen's real vulnerability will become apparent. When the "dominant Republican" figure from VA for the "past decade" isn't even at 50% when the democratic nominee is still an unknown, how comfortable can Allen be?

Posted by: david ward | August 15, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't Trent Lott forced from the Majority Leader's post for making a similar deviation from the script?

And what's worse: calling someone a racist term or following up by saying you don't know what it means?

Allen's a disgrace and should be removed from the Senate either now or in November.

Posted by: Arlington | August 15, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Why do you seriously doubt that it was a racial slur? Macaca sounds nothing like Mohawk, which everyone who was raised in the United States knows how to say. It sounds exactly like a racial term used in some circles. And Allen has a history of opposing MLK day and displaying the confederate flag in his office.

The evidence should have you leaning to this being what Allen considered harmless, but what is an indelicate, race-based remark. Maybe not racist or truly harmful, but definitely predicated on the staffer's racial background.

Posted by: NAR | August 15, 2006 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Good post! Thank you for following up on this very important issue. Though you dont even mention the guy's actual name. Why not? B/c it is so far off from the slur he used?

Of course, you also say that you doubt he was using is as a racial slur. Pray tell, HOW was he intending to use it? And do you really think that he just butchered "mohawk"? They dont sound anything even remotely alike?!

The most embarrassing part of the whole thing, as I posted on the thread below, was that Allen "welcomed" Sidarth to America and "the real world of Virginia" even though the guy was born and raised in Fairfax County. What an insult to America and our ideals.

Posted by: F&B | August 15, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Oh please, Chris--don't be disingenious. Stop trying to save this racist's bacon.

'or whether he was purposely using a racial slur (which The Fix doubts strongly)'

He called the only dark-skinned person in the room a 'monkey'--even your own front page admits it.

'The WP fronts Sen. George Allen, a likely presidential candidate, razzing--real racistlike--a young, dark-skinned man who was filming the senator on behalf of Allen's opponent. Allen twice referred to the kid--the one nonwhite person in the crowd--as "macaca."

Asked by the Post to clarify, Allen said, "I don't know what it means." Macaca appears to be a French slur against North Africans; it refers to monkeys. Allen, who once had a thing for Confederate flags, is American, of course. But his mother is French Tunisian.'

Posted by: Drindl | August 15, 2006 12:34 PM | Report abuse

The media must be really bored trying to make this in to some type of issue that no one really cares about. But it does tell you that the mainstream media is taking Allen seriously and is looking to derail his wh hopes. Chris, if you want to be an astute political observer who calls more right than wrong, you have to quit letting your wishes color your objectivity.

Posted by: bhoomes | August 15, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

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