... George Allen's campaign is saying that the word was Allen's mispronunciation of 'Mohawk,' but reasonable people can discount that answer. The word 'macaca' (three syllables) is no closer to 'mohawk' (two syllables) than are the words 'Madison' or 'Mac n' Cheese.' And since Allen pronounced the word twice in a short period of time--each instance with emphasis, as if he was setting up 'macaca' to be the keyword that everyone would hear--we can conclude without hesitation that his use was conscious. He used the word because he chose to use it in advance at that moment and to make sure that everyone in the audience heard him use it. 'Macaca,' in other words, was the keyword in his communication strategy to handle the situation of a campaign staffer from his opposition following him around with a video camera.
With this issue dominating his campaign, Allen will now face extremely stiff opposition from a number of fronts:
- Northern Virginia voters (mostly liberal to moderate)
- Immigrant voters
- Definitely Black voters
Possibly White conservative Republican voters in the Commonwealth? We doubt that, because Virginia - once cradle of the Confederacy - harbors some pretty deep seated, edgy bitterness against folks of color, especially immigrants.
We have an unusual theory about this nasty episode: Allen may have been set up. We're not defending him and we've never been the biggest George Allen fans - in fact, his flirt with 2008 has made this blog a bit naseous. However, politics is a dirty game, and much of that dirtiness is played through using the misery of Black folks and other people of color. Notes the Washington Post:
Big-time campaigns often assign trackers to shadow their opponents, hoping to catch the candidate making a gaffe or shifting the message to accommodate different audiences. Virginia Republicans have tracked Webb this year. Often, videos can end up in campaign commercials.
That was the job of Sidarth, a University of Virginia senior who attended Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County. His father, Shekar Narasimhan, is a mortgage banker who has contributed more than $35,000 to Democratic causes in the past decade, according to a review of state and federal campaign finance reports.
Sidarth joined Webb's effort this summer, initially working as a field organizer. Last week, when Allen kicked off his statewide "listening tour," Sidarth was asked to trail Allen, he said.
Someone in Webb's campaign had a pretty good hunch that Allen would mess up. How couldn't he? Here's Sidarth, brown-skinned and standing out in a sea of White people, with video equipment - obviously, he's not with the Allen camp. Obviously, he's not really with the crowd of supporters, either. Hence, it ends up becoming a recipe for Allen's eventual self-destruction.
Says Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA) in that same Post article:
Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), who during his campaign last year was dogged by young GOP operatives with video cameras -- usually called trackers -- chided Allen. "It's insensitive," Kaine said. "Campaigns are tough. But George has been in campaigns. He knows there's trackers. It's just a fact of life. You should just do your thing and not single them out."