Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Allen upbraided, Romney absolved

A couple quick and telling observations about GOP '08 hopefuls George Allen and Mitt Romney, courtesy of the conservative media:

1. On the Wall Street Journal website today, Brendan Miniter tackles Allen's "macaca" misadventure (which I have written about here and here), and explains why it's politically important that Allen poked fun at a dark-skinned man standing in an all-white crowd, calling him a name that is a synonym for a monkey. Miniter sees the incident as an important character issue:

"(Virginia senator) Allen's problem is neither that he is a vicious campaigner nor that he is a modern-day George Wallace. Rather, it is that for more than two decades in state and federal office, he has displayed a dismaying indifference to his adoptive state's racial history. And it is this political tone-deafness that is now weighing down his political future with Southern baggage....A legacy of the South's long struggle with racism is that today its elected officials must take a stand on racially sensitive issues. What Mr. Allen is finding out is the same thing Trent Lott learned a few years ago: that Southern politicians who don't appreciate the sensitivity of race issues may pay a political price."

Allen has also slid in the polls since this incident occurred. His '08 prospects appear damaged.

2. On a lighter note, Kate O'Beirne of the National Review came up with his factoid about Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. It's a twist on what I reported here, about the Christian conservative discomfort with Romney's Mormon faith. Note the irony at the close of O'Beirne's item:

"The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Governor Mitt Romney's great-grandfather had multiple wives, and two great-great grandfathers had 10 wives each. The article allows that Romney 'is a confirmed monogamist of nearly four decades and polygamy has been absent from his family going back two generations.' While some might note the upside of generously sharing those handsome Romney genes in the past, current history is noteworthy. Should Mitt Romney join a 2008 race that included John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and George Allen, the only guy in the GOP field with only one wife would be the Mormon."