Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

George Allen vs. James Webb w/UPDATE


The infamous Senator George Allen (Republican of Virginia), of "macaca" fame, is in a contested senatorial race with former Reagan Navy secretary James Webb, who is running on the Democratic line. (Yes, this is pretty shocking, and just goes to show how far right the GOP has gone, to have a top Reagan military aide running as a Democrat.)

A Mason-Dixon poll for Virginia newspapers found Allen (a one-term Senate incumbent) leading James Webb 48-32, with 20% of voters still undecided. This isn't necessarily the worst news in the world, since the general incumbency rule is that if you are polling under 50, you're in some trouble, and you better get your butt out of Iowa and New Hampshire and pay attention to voters back home. Moreover, it reflects a very high name recognition for Allen which is understandable given that he used to be a Virginia congressman, and then Governor.

So now that we've laid the context for the election, let's look at the population. The 2004 updated Census figures show that African Americans make up almost 20% of the population.

VA US
White persons, percent, 2004 (a) 73.8%80.4%
Black persons, percent definition and source info Black persons, percent, 2004 (a) 19.9%12.8%
American Indian and Alaska Native persons, percent definition and source info American Indian and Alaska Native persons, percent, 2004 (a) 0.3%1.0%
Asian persons, percent definition and source info Asian persons, percent, 2004 (a) 4.4%4.2%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, percent definition and source info Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, percent, 2004 (a) 0.1%0.2%
Persons reporting two or more races, percent definition and source info Persons reporting two or more races, percent, 2004 1.5%1.5%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent definition and source info Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent, 2004 (b) 5.7%14.1%
White persons, not Hispanic, percent definition and source info White persons, not Hispanic, percent, 2004 68.7%67.4%

This is really not the greatest news for Allen, given his stormy relationship in the past with groups like the NAACP over his embrace of Confederate issues (from Wiki):

In 1995, 1996, and 1997, Allen proclaimed April as Confederate History and Heritage Month and called the Civil War "a four-year struggle for independence and sovereign rights."[1] The proclamation did not mention slavery and was subsequently repudiated by Allen's Republican successor, Governor James Gilmore.
Combined with the large immigrant boom in Virginia, this incident is going to remind minority voters why they should vote for Webb instead. (Plus, this incident is going to increase Webb's name recognition.) Given the coming Democratic surge, with an overall Dem-GOP advantage of 12-18 percentage points in multiple national surveys asking people: "If the congressional election were held today, would you vote for the Democratic candidate in your district or the Republican candidate?" This is a pretty major advantage that Dems and Webb will have going into November, as long as they can keep it.
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UPDATE: Crooks and Liars has the Daily Show's coverage of the "macaca" issue from last night. (I tried to find it on Comedy Central but I guess they haven't uploaded it yet.)

Best line? Rob Cordry saying "I don't know what 'macaca' is, but it sure sounds racist. This being Virginia, we're not sure if this helps or hurts Allen."

Sorry it's been George Allen week here. He just presents himself as such an easy target. And especially since he's been considered a frontrunner for the Republicans in 2008, I feel like it's only fair to expose him and his witticisms to a greater part of the population. Now, just because he happens to say "stupid sh**" (in the immortal words of Jon Stewart) doesn't mean that would derail his chances for 2008, would it? Besides, it would help boost his credentials with some folks. I mean, it would be so terrible if he lost his Senate seat and therefore any credibility as a presidential candidate. Sorry, just day dreaming here. . .

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