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George Allen Apologizes (Again) For Macaca Incident

You may remember back during the 2006 mid-term elections when Virginia Senator George Allen, who had until then had a huge lead in the polls and was considered by some to be a potential Republican candidate for President in 2008, referred to a campaign worker for Jim Webb using the word ‘macaca’ which some took to be  reference to the worker’s Indian heritage. The Washington Post famously kept pushing the story in the weeks that followed and, by the end of August, Allen’s 18 point lead had evaporated. Allen went on to lose the election. Now, he’s running to get that seat back in a race that is sure to be high profile in 2012 and, for some bizarre reason, he chose to bring the incident up again:

George Allen is really sorry about that macaca thing. Five years after he threw the slur at a Democratic tracker during the 2006 Senate campaign, Allen offered a long and emotional apology to a small crowd at the Faith and Family Conference.

“During our last campaign, I never should have singled out that young man working for my opponent calling him a name,” said Allen, who’s running again for the seat he lost in 2006. “He was just doing his job.”

The incident became national news and arguably derailed Allen’s run for another term in the Senate against challenger Jim Webb. Now, as he gears up his 2012 campaign, Allen is speaking about the incident with a sense of contrition that was absent from his 2006 bid.

“I was wrong to do that to him,” Allen said of the macaca moment, “and it diverted our campaign away from the real issues that families care about.”

Allen has apologized for this incident numerous times. It occurred five years ago, and it’s not even clear that it was ultimately the reason he lost the election 2006. Why he would choose to remind people of this is something I don’t quite understand.

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. It became a defining moment in his career and one he has yet to recover from. And while WaPo may well pushed the story, the thing that did him in was that the video went viral.

    Indeed, I think it will be a key case study for those who study the influence and evolution of new media and therefore live on for decades (in the same way that the Checkers speech and the JFK/Nixon debates are used to discuss the importance of TV as a new medium in politics–perhaps not at quite that scale, but in the discussion for sure).

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  2. Tano says:

    I don’t think the people needed reminding – it is the first thing that most people think of when they hear his name. I think it is probably a good thing that he place himself on the right side of this incident.

    And, btw, “macaca” is not, AFAIK, some slur against Indians. The word is the scientific name of a genus of African monkeys (and similar to the French common name for those critters), and was used as a racial slur against Africans by various racist types, both here and in Africa during the colonial period.

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  3. Southern Hoosier says:

    To err is human, to forgive divine. And liberals are neither.

    Liberals never make mistake. And once you make a mistake they will never let it be forgotten. So there is no point in asking for forgiveness of a liberal.

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  4. @SH:

    To err is human, to forgive divine. And liberals are neither.

    This is not the first time you have said something like this. It is inappropriate to state that your ideological opponents are not human. Please refrain from such formulations in the future.

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  5. Southern Hoosier says:

    @Steven L. Taylor
    I know. I think of all the people that have tried to apologize for the mistakes they have made, but to no avail. I’ll drop the err part and stick with to forgive divine. Even though some of these people think they are divine, they are not.

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  6. TG Chicago says:

    I don’t mind him calling liberals inhuman nearly as much as I mind his racism.

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  7. Southern Hoosier says:

    @TG Chicago
    And that is why I never bothered to apologize, it would be pointless.

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  8. @TG:

    Actually, I agree, although one is related to the other.

    This just struck me as an easy place to point out the unnecessary behavior.

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  9. @SH:

    The problem that TG is noting is one that I (and many others) have noticed as well: you tend to make statements that are racist in their basis. The issue is less one of apologizing than it is one of refraining.

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  10. Southern Hoosier says:

    @ Steven L. Taylor

    As unpleasant as they may be, are facts racist? Fox example I posted on here that the 10 most dangerous cities have large population of Blacks and the 10 safest cities have very small population of Blacks. Is that racist, since it is true?

    Most of the things that I say that are “racist”, are racist because someone disagrees with me and it’s just easier to call me a racist rather than show that I am wrong. Yes, I posted on Stormfront, and if that makes me a racist, what does positing on here make me?

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  11. John Peabody says:

    A friend used to drive a Pepsi delivery truck. He used to come to work, glance inside the pre-loaded truck, and infer the neighborhoods he would be visiting by the amount of fruit-flavored sodas were on board. Invariably, when discussing this, he would be called racist. Quite a stretch, eh?

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  12. @SH:

    Rather than review your greatest hits, I promise to point it out the next time you do it.

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  13. Southern Hoosier says:

    I just wish some of the people on here would go to Stormfront. org and see what racism is all about. I get the strongest impression that a lot of the people on here that call me racist live in lily white community while I live in a racially mixed one. I bet a lot of people on here think Fuzzy Zoeller’s remarks about collard greens and friend chicken was out and out racism.

    If I show you that Rosa Parks had nothing to do with integrating the Montgomery Bus system, is that racist?

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  14. Southern Hoosier says:

    Steven L. Taylor says:
    Friday, June 3, 2011 at 16:58

    @SH:

    Rather than review your greatest hits, I promise to point it out the next time you do it.

    Good! And I’ll back up what I say.

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  15. Although I am not sure that starting with the assertion that Stormfront is much worse than the stuff you say is exactly an auspicious starting spot.

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  16. Southern Hoosier says:

    Steven L. Taylor says:
    Friday, June 3, 2011 at 17:11

    Although I am not sure that starting with the assertion that Stormfront is much worse than the stuff you say is exactly an auspicious starting spot.

    In my opinion Stromfront is really over the top, that is why they kicked me of there, I wasn’t white enough for them. You really need to check out their site. Are you sure you even know what a racist is?

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  17. Tano says:

    Stromfront is really over the top, that is why they kicked me of there,,

    So I guess that just makes you a racist wannabe, eh?

    Thats actually exactly the vibe I picked up from you…

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  18. Southern Hoosier says:

    Tano says:
    Friday, June 3, 2011 at 18:15

    So I guess that just makes you a racist wannabe, eh?

    Thats actually exactly the vibe I picked up from you…

    What have I said on here that you think is racist?

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  19. Jason says:

    Dude, you just hung yourself with this quote:

    In my opinion Stromfront is really over the top, that is why they kicked me of there, I wasn’t white enough for them. You really need to check out their site. Are you sure you even know what a racist is?

    Why in the heck were you hanging out their in the first place….before you got kicked out?

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  20. Southern Hoosier says:

    Jason says:
    Friday, June 3, 2011 at 18:38

    Why in the heck were you hanging out their in the first place….before you got kicked out?

    Same reason I hang out here.

    What have I said on here that you think is racist?

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  21. Jason says:

    I am not saying that you have said anything racist here on this thread or forum, as others claim.

    Given the mission statement and overall tone of that website (Stormfront.org), I would question the mindset of ANYONE that actively participates in that forum. Question not accusing. That’s common sense.

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  22. Southern Hoosier says:

    @ Jason

    Do you always talk to people you agree with or do you like to talk to people that you have a difference of opinion with? I find people on here I agree and disagree with. The same as Stromfornt or any other website. I am surprised how intolerant people on here are of differences of opinions .

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  23. Jason says:

    @ Southern Hoosier

    I like a good argument every now and then. Point taken. All I am saying that sometimes people make judgements based on ones stated actions or spoken words whatever one’s real motivations (neither you nor I or anyone on this forum are mind readers). Right or wrong. From the Left or the Right.

    Maybe you just picked the wrong example……Stormfront.

    Peace!

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  24. Southern Hoosier says:

    @Steven L. Taylor
    This is what I mean by people being clueless about what racism is. I hope no one on here ever finds out a have a drawer full of white T Shirts.

    Wearing White T’s means White Supremacy According to One School

    Wed, June 1, 2011
    Fox/ The Blaze
    Dateline:USA

    Students who wore white t-shirts for a class picture were suspended due to accusations that they were white supremacists.

    http://goo.gl/3Xv1w

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  25. An Interested Party says:

    Oh yes, on the one hand we have one ridiculous story about white t-shirts and on the other hand we have Stormfront…sure, they are exactly the same thing…keep digging, Grand Dragon Southern Hoosier…

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  26. Southern Hoosier says:

    we have Stormfront

    We do? Where?

    And I believe your ideas of racism are about as ridiculous as the that of the high school principal.

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  27. Jay Tea says:

    I gotta say, when the “macaca” thing happened, I was reminded of a classic Bloom County cartoon. Binkley got on a bus with black kids, never having encountered any, and was terrified. Oliver (who is black) approached him, and Binkley freaked out, lashing out with the worst insult he knew — “HONKEY!”

    While Oliver stood there, puzzled, Binkley cowered and pleaded “don’t hurt me!”

    Ah, the humor of the inadvertent, misapplied racial epithet…

    J.

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  28. An Interested Party says:

    We do? Where?

    Oh, sorry, we don’t, you do…by the way, white t-shirts don’t equate with racism…but being afraid of the demographic changes that are going to happen in this country over the next few decades certainly does…

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