Campaigns/Elections

I Should Be So Felix

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Non-Libertarian Sen. George Felix Allen is going for a record fourth week of idiotic campaign spin; first Macaca, now Fiddlergate (as in Fiddler on the Roof. I doubt that will catch on, but it's worth a try.). After the not-too-buried secret that Allen had a Jewish grandfather broke out, Allen's responded by accusing his opponents of anti-Semitism. He enlisted two Jewish friends to back him up; here's Rep. Eric Cantor's take:

"In the primary, Jim Webb produced and mailed a cartoon of his Jewish opponent depicting him with a long nose and money coming out of his pockets, calling him the 'anti-Christ of outsourcing'. His Democrat opponent rightly condemned this anti-Semitic ploy.

"Now, we learn that Jim Webb's campaign operatives, on his behalf, have been pushing a story that George Allen has Jewish relatives. In some perverse way Jim Webb believes that this will cost Senator Allen votes."

The first problem with this is that, well, Jim Webb's opponent 1)has a long nose and 2)never called the ad anti-semitic. The picture of the cartoon is posted above; see for youself that it would be tough to caricature Harris Miller and not give him some stereotypical Jewish features.

The rest of Allen's gripe is, if possible, even sillier. Allen blogger Jon Henke produced a list of "hateful" anti-Allen slurs including "George Allen has a nasty, sadistic, vicious, violent streak" and "What did [George Allen's mother] tell her son all these years, that her father was imprisoned by the Nazis because he was gay or a gypsy?" Can you locate the anti-Semitism in that? Because I really can't.

One complaint conservative activists have always had about Democrats, from my experience in college and in DC, was the mommy party's reflexive use of identity politics to deflect criticism. Republicans generally profess color-blindness in social and economic policy, and try to extend that to politics—they should be able to criticize Al Sharpton, for example, for being Al Sharpton. They should be able to attack him without being accused of bigotry. This new vein of Republican political correctness was annoying enough when it was limited to black GOPers like Condoleezza Rice. This iteration of Republican PC—tarring a half-Jewish senator's enemies with the ugliest slur in politics—is even worse.

NEXT: The President Who Cried Terrorist

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  1. Stephen Colbert had a thing about him this week. In response to the Macaca thing, Allen had a “diversity rally.” In one of the pictures (the only reason to do one of these), he has his arm around a dark skinned young boy, or as Colbert referred to him: “mini-caca.”

    I love that show.

  2. The “Your’re an anti-semite” accusation is being increasily used in a variety of situations where a group wishes to attack and discredit someone, as witnessed by the following incident with Professor Steven Jones of BYU:

    On September 5, Doug Fabrizio, executive producer of RadioWest on the University of Utah’s public radio station invited Jones to come on his one-hour program to discuss his 9/11 research.

    Before Jones could even discuss his research, however, Fabrizio was aggressively quizzing him on the “Neo-Conservative motivation” for the attacks, and repeatedly pressed him to comment on a subject far outside his field and competence to explain who within the government could have been involved in the attacks if not 19 Arab hijackers with box cutters.

    Because Jones is a physicist and is not engaged in the political background of “false flag” terrorism attacks, he reluctantly responded to Fabrizio’s question by citing the author Webster Tarpley’s analysis that individuals such as Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, who are linked to the “international banking cartel,” have been named, by Tarpley, as possible suspects.

    Jones was careful to say that these were not his ideas, but Tarpley’s, and that these were possible suspects that Tarpley had named.
    Jones is generally reluctant to discuss the political implications of his findings, and his comments about Wolfowitz and Perle on the radio program created quite a “buzz on campus,” the Deseret Morning News reported.

    After interviewing Jones for a brief 20 minutes, Fabrizio said goodbye to Jones and turned the remainder of the hour over to a discussion of conspiracy theories with two Jewish professors, a Robert Goldberg from the University of Utah and Gary Fine from Northwestern.

    The first caller was a William Tumpowsky, chairman of the Jewish Community Relations Council and board member of the local Israeli-fund raising organization, the United Jewish Federation. Tumpowsky charged that Jones’ was using code language to make anti-Semitic allegations. Goldberg supported this accusation.

    Starting from this outrageous allegation, Fabrizio continued the hostile discussion with Goldberg and Fine, with frequent allegations that the now-absent physics professor was nothing more than an anti-Semite indulging in conspiracy fantasies. The most significant evidence brought forth by Jones’ research was not even discussed.

    Within two days, the authorities at BYU apparently caved to organized Jewish pressure and put Jones on paid leave. Students who had already begun their fall physics courses with Jones will be taught by other faculty members for the rest of the semester as university administrators review his statements and research.

    Repeated calls to BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins about the banning of Jones from the classroom were not returned. Jenkins has not responded any of my questions left with BYU’s communications office.

    “I’m not sure we did it the right way,” Fabrizio said after he accepted responsibility for the radio program that sparked the sacking of Jones.
    Asked why he had pressed Jones to make a statement about who was behind the attacks, Fabrizio said, “I was interested in what motivated the science.” This is, however, a less than honest answer because Jones has always stressed in his presentations that it is the unexplained collapse of WTC 7 and the presence of molten iron in the rubble that motivate his investigation.

    The American Association of University Professors criticized BYU’s decision to place Jones on paid leave for his comments on the radio program.

    AAUP general secretary Roger Bowen called BYU’s decision “distressing” and said Jones shouldn’t be removed from teaching classes for statements made outside the classroom.

    “Academic freedom also protects extramural utterances, that is, statements made by faculty outside the classroom when they speak as citizens,” Bowen told the Deseret Morning News. “It’s very clear there never should be official retribution for faculty who exercise their rights as citizens, with the very careful disclaimer they are not speaking on behalf of the university.”

    The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education joined the criticism of the BYU decision against Jones.

    “BYU is literally the example we use of a university that does not promise strong free speech or academic freedom protections,” FIRE president Greg Lukianoff said.

    I had a similar experience with my blog; (vitaltruths.blogsource.com) When presenting evidence of Israel’s false flag attack against the Mexican Parliament, FBI allegations of “classified info linking Israel to 9/11″ the 5 celebrating Israelis near the towers with video cams and radio controlled detonators, URBAN MOVING SYSTEMS proximity & possible involvement in placing the Koran and flight manuals, etc.”

    I was called a nazi and an anti-semite, although none of those who so branded me refuted the information.

  3. Allen isn’t even .0001% Jewish if his mother isn’t a Jewess.

    That is unless he secretly converted at some point. Now that would be real news!

    …………

    Aspendougy,

    Don’t know if you don’t like Jews, but you sure don’t like Israel and your grip on reality reminds me of this guy and his theories … http://newnationaltheater.com/body.htm

    Tschussie!

  4. aspendougy,

    I have one explanation for how they treated Prof Jones:
    12′ lizards.

  5. Wow. Who woulda thunk that BYU would cave in to the gentiles, even if they are Jewish ones. 🙂

    Here’s what I find whacko (beside dougy.) BYU, a private U, is pressured into putting on the shelf a prof who spoke out in an area that he was reluctant to comment on, as it isn’t his specialty, by an employee of state government. When he does, he doesn’t even take ownership of the loony political theory.

    Meanwhile, the state-owned University of Wisconsin rehires non-tenured instructor Kevin Barrett, despite his intent to spread his 9/11 looniness as part of his lesson plan, at taxpayers expense.

    I don’t get it.

    It’s Friday. Disclaimer: Of course, the state shouldn’t own or run universities or radio stations.

    Drink up, everybody.

    Kevin

  6. True, the cartoon face does not, in and of itself, make it anti-Semetic, but you aren’t showing the money coming out of the pockets, which puts it over the line IMHO.

    “What did [George Allen’s mother] tell her son all these years, that her father was imprisoned by the Nazis because he was gay or a gypsy?” Can you locate the anti-Semitism in that? Because I really can’t.

    I can. The assumption in the question is that the Nazis only put gays, Gypsys and Jews in camps. (It’s false, of course: they also locked up Communists, Christians, democrats, and others.) So the snide question is the equivalent of “She must have told him her father was Jewish, and he’s been lying about it!” Now just substitute “Black” or “Irish” for “Jewish” and the prejudice becomes clear.

  7. So now accusing someone of being greedy and corrupt is inherently anti-semitic? Seems a bit of a stretch.

    “Now just substitute “Black” or “Irish” for “Jewish” and the prejudice becomes clear.”

    OK. “She must have told him her father was Irish, and he’s been lying about it!” I’m a proud Irish American, and the needle on my offense meter isn’t budging.

    Although if someone actually was lying to cover up an Irish ancestor, I would consider that person to be an anti-Irish bigot, or at least a panderer to anti-Irish bigots. In other words, the people making the accusation are equating Allen with anti-semitism. So the countercharge is that people who call others anti-semites are demonstrating their anti-semitism? Not terribly convincing.

  8. Joe, you’re just obfuscating now. Isn’t it obvious that Webb partisans are not making statements against anti-Semitism? When non-Jews say “Admit you’re Jewish!” in an election, it’s clearly not a pro-Jewish statement.

  9. “Isn’t it obvious that Webb partisans are not making statements against anti-Semitism?”

    No, that not obvious at all. Tell me, PapayaSF, which “Webb partisans” have you seen comment on the matter? Any, at all?

    The take I’ve seen on Eschaton, Daily Kos, and other Democratic sites I’ve followed from their links has been that Allen considers it embarassing to have a Jewish background. He’s been running around saying things like “I was raised Christian, my family is Christian,” and “My Mom made some mean pork chops,” and “I just had a ham sandwich for lunch.” They’ve been pretty rough on him for acting like being part Jewish is something he doesn’t want his voters to know about.

    All of the pro-Webb sites I’ve seen have been putting forth the argument that he’s worried this story would hurt him with his voting base in rural Virginia. And you can see why; Senator Cowboy Botos, Spittin’ Tobacco, Noose In His Office, Let’s Welcome The Macaca To The Real World Of Virginia must be terrified that this is going to eat into his carefully-cultivated “authenticity.”Whether you buy that or not, that is not an anti-semitic argument. Just the opposite, it’s an argument accusing Allen of pandering to anti-semities.

    This accusation represents a continuation of the longterm Democratic narrative about Allen’s racism, along with bashing him over “Macaca,” Confederate nostalgia, and his longstanding relationship with the white separatists at the Council of Conservative Citizens.

  10. I’m just going by the list linked in the original post. I don’t automatically side with all supposedly offended minorities, but caricatures of big-nosed guys with money coming out of their pockets referred to as “the anti-Christ of outsourcing,” and comments like “George Allen’s New Jew Revue” sure sound like anti-Semitism to me.

    And I find it odd that you and other Democrats find things like the “macaca” remark evidence of racism, but you don’t see any racism in harping on the ethnicity of someone’s grandparents.

  11. “I don’t automatically side with all supposedly offended minorities,”

    Gee, you don’t say. For what I can tell, you take the side of supposedly offended minorities when doing so helps the Republicans.

    “…but caricatures of big-nosed guys with money coming out of their pockets referred to as “the anti-Christ of outsourcing,” and comments like “George Allen’s New Jew Revue” sure sound like anti-Semitism to me.”

    Lots of things can sound like anti-semitism if someone with a enough determination takes enough quotes out of context.

    “And I find it odd that you and other Democrats find things like the “macaca” remark evidence of racism, but you don’t see any racism in harping on the ethnicity of someone’s grandparents.”

    Nobody’s harping on the ethnicity of Allen’s gransfather. There are, however, quite a few people harping on the fact that Allen tried to hide his grandfather’s ethnicity, flipped out at a public debate when asked about it, and spent several days trying to distance himself from that ethnicity.

    When you only give a damn about racism on the rare occasions that seeming to do so can advance a conservative politician’s interest, you run not having a very good understanding of how racism manifests itself. Like now. However, when opposition to racism is one of the central principles of your political philosophy, and when the history of the political movement you support is dominated by the Civil Rights movement and its offspring, you develop an ear for the difference between honest and dishonest charges of racism.

    Talking boogey-boogie language to make fun of a dark-skinned person: racist.

    Calling attention to the fact that a politician with a long rap sheet of pandering to racists is acting embarrassed that he has Jewish roots: anti-racist.

    If Allen had simply given the same answer to the reporter at the debate in Virginia that he gave to Wolf Blitzer, this whole controversy would have never developed. Instead, he went off on a tear about how terrible it was to mention his family’s story, and then kept talking about eating pork products.

  12. So calling attention to a politician’s part-Jewish ancestry is actually anti-racism in action! My, what a confusing world we live in these days.

    And I’m sure that, being an anti-racist with a well-developed ear, you’ve also condemned all those Democrats and leftists who’ve used obscure (or not so obscure) racial epithets or appeared in photos with or pandered to the Nation of Islam, the PLO, Hamas, Mecha, etc., right? Or is it just simpler to define racism as what your political opponents are for and what your allies are against?

  13. I’ve explained this to you enough. If you want to continue playing dumb to save your spin, it’s not my problem.

    Victimhood is not a flattering garment for a manly-man like George Allen. Especially when he has to strain so hard to put it on.

  14. I understand your frustration, Joe. You think victimhood/racism is your private trump card, and it must be annoying when your opponents can play it against your side. But you know what they say about goose sauce.

    And you’re right that victimhood is not a flattering garment for Allen, but of course, it’s not flattering for anyone. If the left realized that, they’d win more elections.

    Really, though, going after the ethnicity of someone’s grandfather in the name of anti-racism is rather like burning the village in order to save it.

  15. Senator Allen’s wife wouldn’t happen to be named Gracie Burns, would she?
    That would have been a tip-off.

    “Say goodnight, George.”

  16. “I understand your frustration, Joe.”

    Frustration? Sinking this silly victim act has been a lot of fun.

    “You think victimhood/racism is your private trump card, and it must be annoying when your opponents can play it against your side.”

    Actually, the poor quality of Republican claims of racial victimhood has provided me with quite a bit of mirth over the years. Remember when Ted Kennedy was supposed to hate Catholics, because he voted against anti-abortion judges?

    If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times; conservatives can’t play a race card to save your lives. At least Allen was smart enough to figure this out, drop the phoney victim act, and admit to Wold Blitzer that his response was over the top. Too bad his partisan shills haven’t kept up with him. That was a nice little performance he gave on CNN, where he completely distanced himself from that argument, admitted he over-reacted, and blamed it on his desire to protect his Momma.

    “Really, though, going after the ethnicity of someone’s grandfather in the name of anti-racism is rather like burning the village in order to save it.” Yes, it would be. It’s a good thing no one has done anything remotely similar to “going after the ethnicity of someone’s grandfather.” And no, I’m not going to explain the distinction to you again.

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