Allen's "Macaca" Slur May Not Just Derail His '08 Presidential Bid, New Poll Shows It May Also Cost GOP Virginia in Nov. Midterms
One slip of the tongue is all it takes in politics to ruin a once bright career. In the case of Sen. George Allen (R-VA), one little "Macaca" looks to have put a serious dent in his 2008 presidential bid and may end up giving Virginia to the Democrats in the Fall elections.
Despite his apology to web consultant S.R. Sidarth, a 20-year-old of Indian descent working for Democratic challenger Jim Webb, the damage has been done and it will continue to be a factor for Allen, said Merle Black, a political scientist at Emory University and presidential and congressional elections expert. "Clearly this has damaged his presidential aspirations. It just raises questions about his judgment and how sincere he is in how he deals with these kinds of issues."
What caused the flap was the off-color remark Allen made at a recent campaign event. Motioning towards Sidarth he told the crowd, "This fellow over here with the yellow shirt--Macaca or whatever his name is--he's with my opponent. Let's give a welcome to Macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia." Macaca is a genus of monkey used as a racial slur in some countries.
But more worrisome for Republicans is a new Rasmussen poll showing Allen's eleven-point lead over Webb last month shrinking to just five points. Webb is a former marine and Reagan-era secretary of the navy. Democrats have been counting on several key battleground states--Missouri, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island and Montana--and are now setting their sights on Tennessee, as well as Virginia thanks to Allen's loose lips.
"In politics, when you become fodder for David Letterman and Jay Leno and Jon Stewart, you know you've had a bad day," said Tom Rath, a Republican National Committee member from New Hampshire.