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.