In case you haven't been following the increasingly bizarre Senate race in Virginia, it just keeps getting wackier.
The incumbent, Republican George Allen, is running for re-election against challenger James Webb, a highly decorated Vietnam vet (and Reagan's Secretary of the Navy no less), turned Democrat.
Once holding a commanding lead, Allen has proved to be pretty much a giant dufus in the campaign. Or perhaps I should say a schmuck.
After bristling at a reporter who asked him in a recent debate if he was part Jewish, as had been reported in The Jewish Daily Forward, Allen yesterday went out of his way to signal to his good ol' boy constituents that he really, really isn't (gasp!) a real Jew, telling Virginia's Times Dispatch, the disclosure is "just an interesting nuance to my background." He added, "I still had a ham sandwich for lunch. And my mother made great pork chops."
Yes, folks, although he is technically Jewish, he still eats ham and pork chops. Whew, that was close. Can't have Billy Bob and Daisy Sue thinking he's one o' them Jew boys, ya know.
This clown really is a piece of work. Originally he was easily expected to cruise to re-election, and was even mentioned as a possible GOP presidential candidate for the 2008 race. Webb has now closed to within single digits of catching up to Allen in recent polls. Sadly, Virginia is such a conservative state, Allen still is considered likely to win – but it won't be for lack of being an asshole.
First, of course, there was the infamous “macaca” incident.” At a campaign rally several weeks ago, he spotted a “trailer” from Webb's campaign following him with a video camera. All campaigns dispatch a staffer to their opponent's speeches with a vid camera, hoping to catch them in a public goof.
The young Webb staffer, S.R. Sidarth, who was born in Virgina, was of Indian decent. He apparently stood out in the no-doubt lily-white crowd of Allen supporters, so the senator started berating him, and called him “macaca, or whatever his name is” and “welcoming him to America.”
It turns out macaca is a type of monkey and is a slur used in parts of the world to denigrate dark-skinned people.
The video was posted on You Tube and threw a serious wrench into Allen's campaign, as he spent the next several weeks apologizing and insisting he didn't mean anything racial.
And now there's the way he handled the revelation that his mother is Jewish – first with shock and outrage at the reporter who asked him about it during a debate, accusing her of casting “aspersions' on him.
Apparently, in Allen's good ol' boy world view, being called Jewish is an aspersion.
He later explained that he had known his grandfather had been “incarcerated” by the Nazis, but never really asked his mother about that or her background. She had raised him as a Christian. "Some may find it odd that I have not probed deeply into the details of my family history, but it's a fact," Allen told the Times Dispatch.
Now, I don't know about you, but I think if I found out my grandfather had been a Nazi prisoner, it just might spark a wee bit of curiosity. Maybe that's just me.
The pundits are now saying that even if Allen wins re-election in Virgina, he has no chance of getting the Republican nomination in 2008 after his many missteps. That's too bad. This guy would no doubt self-destruct on a national campaign, and almost guarantee a Democratic win.