Carol Platt Liebau: Allen's Travails

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Allen's Travails

Contrary to many whose judgment I respect, I've never been a big fan of George Allen. Even so, who would ever have foreseen the gravity of the political wounds he's inflicted on himself, as laid out in this comprehensive Weekly Standard piece by Matthew Continetti?

Obviously, Allen's behavior, as the article documents, has been distasteful on a couple of levels. But his handling of the "macaca" incident and the discussion of his mother's religious heritage has been as destructive of his presidential hopes as the actual substance of the incidents.

One of the key elements any party wants in a presidential nominee is a certain nimbleness, an ability to transcend mistakes and missteps. Certainly, no one has this skill like Bill Clinton (and frankly, he's got a little too much of it, hence the "Slick Willy" moniker).

But Allen has shown the remarkably disturbing skill of worsening a bad situation simply by his "management" of it. If he's struggling to overcome problems of his own making in a statewide campaign, how, exactly, is anyone supposed to be optimistic that he can move past other issues that would undoubtedly arise -- through both the MSM and his opponent -- in a national campaign?


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