Annabel Park on George Allen: "I don't think he has the strength of character"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The thought that George "Felix Macacawitz" Allen could possibly make a comeback in politics is almost as laughable as the thought that Sarah Palin was qualified to be vice president of the United States. Oh wait, the Republicans actually nominated Palin to be John McCain's running mate, so maybe they'd be crazy enough to resurrect George Allen as well. The first problem, of course, is what happened 3 years ago today. I'll let the Washington Post take it from here:
... that grainy Internet footage of a sarcastic, aggressive Allen inciting regional and cultural tensions has taken on iconic proportions. To this day, people still refer to a revealing, game-changing political gaffe caught on tape as a candidate's "macaca moment."

Allen has apologized for saying "macaca," a racial slur meaning monkey in some countries. He has said it was nonsensical and not aimed at S.R. Sidarth's ethnicity.

In his office, Allen groped for words as he tried to articulate what happened that day in Breaks, Va.

"It was alliteration or something," he says. "I don't know the word. I should not have called him anything aside from the fellow in the yellow shirt. . . . It was a mistake. That was not intended to insult anyone. It's not my nature. I'm a generally jovial, happy person. Nonetheless, it was a mistake on my part and I apologize for it even if it was unintentional."
My god, it's incredible, he's STILL in denial! The fact is, as we discussed ad nauseum in 2006, the word "macaca" is a common racial/ethnic slur in Tunisia, where Allen's (Jewish) maternal grandparents lived and where his mother grew up. You might also recall Allen's lame, laughable excuses for his use of the word "macaca" back in August 2006: that he really meant to say "mohawk" (Sidarth didn't have a mohawk, of course, but whatever); that he really meant to call Sidarth "caca" (as if that's any better), that he just made up the word out of thin air, blah blah blah. Well, it appears that Allen's settled on the latter story as his semi-permanent excuse for using a racial slur, that it was "alliteration or something." It's particularly fascinating that someone who ridiculed fiction writing is now familiar with literary techniques like alliteration. Of course, Allen is planning to write a book and all...(eye roll).

On the other hand, Allen didn't get elected Governor and Senator for nothing; obviously, he's got something going for him. For instance, here's the conclusion of the Post article:
...In April, at an annual fish fry in southeastern Virginia that typically draws the state's political elite, someone had put up a "George Allen 2012" sign. The idea struck Annabel Park, founder of a group called "Real Virginians for Webb" during the 2006 campaign, as so absurd that she snapped a picture.

Then Park met Allen. To her surprise, she found him "warm, friendly and engaging," she said. "I was like, 'Oh, wow, he has something.' My opinion of George Allen changed a lot at that moment."

Still, she believes his missteps unmasked the racist strains that still run deep in American society. It would take a bold statement against those forces for Allen to recover his image, she said, and "I don't think he has the strength of character."
And there lies the entire problem; until George Allen truly comes to terms with what happened three years ago today, his chances of a political comeback are minimal. Unfortunately for him, I agree with my friend Annabel: "I don't think he has the strength of character."