Saturday, September 30, 2006

Allen's self-inflicted wounds

Richmond Times-Dispatch political writer Jeff E. Schapiro analyzes the new Mason-Dixon poll in “Senate race a dead heat poll shows.”

“Virginia’s down-and-dirty U.S. Senate race is a dead heat. George Allen, the embattled Republican incumbent, and Democrat Jim Webb are both pulling 43 percent among likely voters, according to a new MSNBC/McClatchy Poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. of Washington.”

“...The poll suggests that Allen, hammered since August by allegations of racial insensitivity, faces a perilous political landscape in the 5½ weeks before Election Day. Allen’s lopsided advantage in fundraising and organization could help in the stretch against Webb, a Navy secretary in the Reagan administration whose main theme is his opposition to the Iraq war -- identified in the poll as the top concern of Virginians.”

Beyond what the savvy Schapiro had to say I must add this: No doubt, Allen’s dramatic fall from a 16-point lead in July has shocked and disappointed his followers. It has surely emboldened his opponent’s poorly financed campaign, which seemed stalled only seven weeks ago. But the most important thing to remember is that Allen’s lead disappeared because of self-inflicted wounds.

Allen’s performances in front of video cameras rolling tape opened the wounds, in both Breaks and in McLean. Rather than applying stitches and bandages to those cuts, Allen’s camp -- chiefly its official spokesman, Dick Wadhams -- went aggressive, trying to blame and punish the Webb camp and the so-called liberal media for the bleeding, which continued to spurt away Allen’s percentage points.

Foolishly, Allen’s most ardent bloggers have continued that tactic, oblivious to the obvious truth -- no one is buying it, except themselves. So the bleeding has never stopped.

On top of that Allen’s aggressive-only strategists have seemed blind to the trouble for Allen their galling blame-the-other-guy strategy is causing. It is drying up the reservoir of good will Allen had built up over his political career. It is flushing old grudges out of the woodwork because now some who held back before can imagine Allen, the longtime bully, losing this race.

To cast all that as something the Webb camp has orchestrated, as part of a conspiracy with the mainstream media, is preposterous. Has Mr. Wadhams come to Virginia to try to make us believe the conservative Richmond Times-Dispatch is in on that conspiracy?

It seems Wadhams only knows one way to play the game -- deflect all trouble by blaming it entirely on the prevaricating opponent. Well, that won’t always work. Sometimes, such childishness just pisses people off. This time it has.

At this desk it looks like Allen’s camp, with its blogging team aspect, has hurt Allen nearly as much as YouTube has, but still not close to how much as the candidate has hurt himself.

The contrast between the George Allen on YouTube and the aw-shucks, Southern gentleman public image he has fashioned for himself over the last 25 years is stark. And, some part of the reason that contrast remains so newsworthy is that his chattering apologists won’t stop pretending they can’t see it.


Maestro said...

And don't forget his on tape denial of ever having used the "n-word." This was an obvious lie that has since been contradicted by many credible witnesses.

Allen's not just a racist, he's a liar too.

F.T. Rea said...


It was no accident that my piece didn’t call Allen a racist. It's not a matter of forgetting anything, either. I'm just not on that bandwagon. Calling Allen a bully, a lout, a loyal Bush ditto, or a phony works for me.

Furthermore, it’s never been my style to use modern contrivances such as n-word, m-word, f-word, etc. So, thanks for reminding us that n-word silliness is all over the place. But, no thanks, I can’t use the word.