Sen. George Allen To Officially Stop Digging

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What's the best advice if you're an asshole in a hole? Stop digging, right? Sen. George Allen, the embattled Republican incumbent from Virginia, can't seem to catch a break these days.

Here's his apology to a black group for his youthful infatuation with the Confederate battle flag:

"What I was slow to appreciate and wish I had understood much sooner," Allen told a black audience last month, "is that this symbol . . . is, for black Americans, an emblem of hate and terror, an emblem of intolerance and intimidation."

Which led to this outburst–and call for a new apology–from the Sons of Confederate Veterans:

"He's apologizing to others, certainly he should apologize to us as well," said B. Frank Earnest Sr., the Virginia commander of the confederate group at a news conference. "We're all aware, ourselves included, of the statements that got him into this. The infamous macaca statement. He's using our flag to wipe the muck from his shoes that he's now stepped in."

More here, from the Wash Post.

Reason Managing Editor and North Carolina native Jesse Walker looked at the right-wing embrace of identity politics here. And he wrote about an odd permutation of the Confederate battle flag here.

NEXT: State Departments and Democrats: Axis of Evil

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  1. Let’s not make fun of the next President of the United States.

  2. There probably aren’t too many middle aged guys who didn’t, when they were teenagers, identify with the romance of the Lost Cause. And for any Southern teenager, it was always about 2pm on the afternoon of July 3, 1863.

  3. I doubt many teen-aged boys outside the Mason-Dixon line got very romantic about the Lost Cause (keeping the right to own slaves). And Allen, as has been pointedly noted many times, grew up in Southern California, not the South. Thanks for using one of my more famous quotes to defend a worthless ignoramus.

  4. I doubt many teen-aged boys outside the Mason-Dixon line got very romantic about the Lost Cause (keeping the right to own slaves). And Allen, as has been pointedly noted many times, grew up in Southern California, not the South. Thanks for using one of my more famous quotes to defend a worthless ignoramus.

  5. I doubt many teen-aged boys outside the Mason-Dixon line got very romantic about the Lost Cause (keeping the right to own slaves). And Allen, as has been pointedly noted many times, grew up in Southern California, not the South. Thanks for using one of my more famous quotes to defend a worthless ignoramus.

  6. I doubt many teen-aged boys outside the Mason-Dixon line got very romantic about the Lost Cause (keeping the right to own slaves). And Allen, as has been pointedly noted many times, grew up in Southern California, not the South. Thanks for using one of my more famous quotes to defend a worthless ignoramus.

  7. Normally, I just assume the commenter hit Post too many times, or the squirrels are acting up.

    But it’s William Faulkner, so I can only conclude that it’s some kind of modernist avant guard literary conceit.

    Brilliant, Mr. Faulkner. Any true intellectual will recognize that four was exactly the right number of repetitions.

  8. I agree with Joe. Four was exactly right.

  9. I can forgive romantic teenagers. I can forgive mean and ignorant teenagers, but when the same ignorance recurs years later…

    Here’s something Id like reconciled by any resident ‘southern romantic’ reason poster. George Allen, and undoubtedly his numerous supporters, repeatedly push for the anti American Flag Burning amendment. Yet they get misty eyed for the flag of the most murderous people ever to fire black powder against the people who fought to keep that there American flag.

    As my southern romantic father likes to say, however untruthfully, ‘We’re the only Americans ever to lose a war.’ uhhh, the doublethink is eye-crossing. Can anyone improve on that at all?

  10. I don’t remember the CSA issuing any demands that the Union replace or redesign its flag. And in terms of killing, they attempted from day one to establish peeaceful relations with their neighbor to the North. It was the Union that insisted on the killings. The irony of all this is that part of Webb’s rationale as a canidate was that unlike Allen, he was the real confederate, not the poser from SoCal. Today really should have been a great day for him. But with the macaca this and nigger that this race has descended into, I fear all that may be lost. I think most Virginians have just tuned out. My guess is Allen wins by default.

  11. It’s a slaver’s banner and the good guys won. End of story.

    More seriously, if the South had freed the slaves and then seceded, they would have made war actually about states’ rights and drawn the abolitonists out of the war. Never mind Lincoln’s “determination to save the Union,” slavery was the issue that made the war a Northern crusade, even if it wasn’t the only thing they were fighting over.

    After the dreadful first two years, it was the fanaticism of the abolitionists that kept the North in the war. Meanwhile, the South was forced to keep large numbers of militia on guard against the possibility of a slave rebellion hundreds of miles away from the front line. The slavery issue held back foreign recognition and led to the creation of an abolitionist fifth column in the Confederacy.

    All this to save an institution that had been decisively proven unnecessary and even counterproductive by abolition efforts in other places. After the war, the plantation system was gone but the landowners simply put the “freed” slaves back on the land as sharecroppers. How could racism not be the cause when all logic and objective analysis commanded emancipation?

    Denying the importance of the slavery issue is nonsense. Yes, they had other grievances. But slavery was the one point on which they consistently refused to negotiate. In the end, when forced to choose between winning liberty for themselves and denying it to others, they chose to gamble everything on Keeping The Black Man Down. For that, they fully deserved to lose.

  12. as a central virginian, i have pretty much tuned out but will still pull the lever for allen on election day, as “FatDrunkAndStupid” says, “by default.”

  13. I’m no fan of the confederate flag. However, for a libertarian magazine, Reason seems highly excited about attacking Allen for what amounts to being politically incorrect. In fact, lately I’ve noticed that your magazine seems to be more partisan in general than it used to be. I realize that the Bush administration has been hostile to civil liberties on many fronts, but lets not pretend the Democrats haven’t been about the same. If Reason plans on continuing its transformation from the libertarian bible to a New Republic clone, can you at least give some of us a heads up so we can start looking for a new, fair minded, source of libertarian news.

  14. Hank,

    I don’t disagree with you about the general leftward shift of discussion around here lately, but, to be fair, the cover of the current issue of the Weekly Standard features Allen with a macaque on his shoulder. The man has been a walking PR disaster the past few months, and a big player in meltdown mode is one of the most entertaining acts in the political drama.

  15. Regardless of what you think about the South and its cause, there are many people who like to dress up in gray uniforms and hoopskirts and salute the Southern Cross. In a free country there ought to be room for that.

    The Confederacy is no more romanticized than the Union was, or indeed the Revolutionary Rebels, cowboys, Native Americans, the Greatest Generation, Doughboys, and so forth.

    Besides, if Black leaders ever actually get the Confederate battle flag banned it will be one of the more disastrous of their victories.

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