Allen vs. Webb

So I’m listening to an older clip from CNN, and I have to say this. To ask George Allen whether he is Jewish or not is a scumbag question. The “he’s just a celebrity” excuse is lamentably lame, and I for one got the impression that Arianna Huffington would just as soon the person who said it stop helping her. However, Ms. Huffington’s defense of the question as a “test of honesty”—while passing a basic credulity test—does not quite stand up to the example given by David Frum, that of Clinton’s infidelity. To my mind, at least, lying about cheating on your wife is at best a few hairsbreadths away from lying about your Semitic heritage in Virginia, not coincidentally because both are done to save your political ass from ignorant bigots.

Which is the real point about this story: candidates from both parties are actively courting what amounts to the KKK vote: George Allen calls an Asian-Indian kid a monkey like it was nothing; a reporter outs Allen as a Jew.

It’s the most vile, disgusting debasement of politics that I’ve seen in my adult life, and there is no excuse for it. It’s 2006, gentlemen, scarcely concealed racist crap as an electoral strategy is like, sooo 1988. As a good friend of mine used to say when confronted with that kind of shocking, throwback racism: They still make people like you?

Apparently so, and they’re still thick as theives in Virginia.

To add a rather quaint, pre-Internets layer to the story, party hacks up here (i.e. the North) are making hay by painting the other team’s player as a bigot—an obvious embarrassment to their party. So far the Democrats have had better luck at this than the Republicans, in part because Webb appears to be smart enough to know what “plausible deniability” means—have people not linked to you actually do the dirty work—whereas Allen’s bigotry tends to come out of his own dumbassed mouth.

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