The following column contains language that some readers may find offensive.
Senator George Allen (R.-Va.) seemed a lock for reelection. That is, before the "stunning" revelation that, as a college student in the 1970s, he used the "N" word.
Allen, in addition, stands accused of racial insensitivity because he recently used the term "macaca." Here’s the story. Shekar Ramanuja Sidarth, who works for Allen’s opponent, followed and filmed Allen during the senator’s campaign stops. Sidarth’s parents came from India, but he was born in Fairfax County, Virginia. At a campaign rally, Allen pointed to the man and said, "Let’s give a welcome to Macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia." Apparently, some consider the term "macaca" — which can mean "monkey" — a racial slur. Allen publicly and privately apologized, personally calling the young man to express his remorse.
Let’s play who’s-the-racist-and-what-is-the-statute-of-limitations.
Consider the allegations that Allen’s Democratic opponent, Jim Webb, also used the "N" word. According to former acquaintance Dan Cragg, while a freshman from 1963 to 1964 at University of Southern California, Webb used to drive through Watts, a predominantly black area of Los Angeles, pointing rifles and shouting the "N" word at blacks. Moreover, Webb, a published novelist, liberally uses the "N" word in his work. Examples: "They want stupid n*ggers, they’d all pay to see a dumb*ss n*gger." — "Fields of Fire," p. 302. "Don’t know why I crave watermelon the way I have over the past few weeks. Jimmy says I must have a n*gger in the woodpile." — "A Country Such As This," p. 34.
What about the man known as the "conscience of the Senate," Senator Robert Byrd (D.-W.Va.)? He belonged to the Klan during the 1940s, where he served as a "Kleagle" — a Klan recruiter. Back then, Byrd referred to American blacks as "race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."
How about then-Arkansas governor Bill Clinton? According to Clinton’s bodyguard, Arkansas State Trooper Larry Patterson, Clinton frequently used the "N" word, using it to describe Reverend Jesse Jackson, as well as a local black civil rights leader. Said Patterson, "When [Bill Clinton] had black political leaders in the state and he disagreed with them, he would frequently use the ‘N’ word."
What about former First Lady and current Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D.-N.Y.)? She allegedly called Clinton’s congressional campaign adviser, who failed to secure her then-boyfriend’s 1974 election to Congress, a "f***ing Jew bastard." Not only did Paul Fray — the target — go public, so did his wife, as well as campaign aide and businessman Neil McDonald.
What about more recent examples of "racial insensitivity"? The then-First Lady, in 1996, gave a speech on behalf of an organization called "EMILY’s List." EMILY stands for Early Money Is Like Yeast. In her speech, Hillary mocked black then-mayor Willie Brown, who, according to Clinton, did not know this "person" called "Emily" and asked to be introduced to her. First Lady Clinton, according to the Los Angeles Times, used a "mock African-American accent" to imitate Brown, saying, "She’s supportin’ all these people. She’s supportin’ Senator Dianne Feinstein. She’s supported Senator Barbara Boxer. … She supported everybody. Why won’t she support me?"
What about the alleged racist strategy employed by now-Senator Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.)? In 1974, Jay Homnick, then 16 years old, says he attended a meeting in the Flatbush area of New York. Schumer, a newly minted Harvard grad running for State Assembly, was introduced to the audience consisting of local white, Italian, Jewish and Slavic immigrants. They wanted to rid three city blocks of Avenue K apartments whose tenants were almost 100 percent black. Schumer, according to Homnick, suggested a way to eradicate this infestation from the community.
Schumer told the group that, if elected, he planned to propose legislation to "help" the poor blacks by designating their buildings as being in need of extensive facelifts. With the residents "temporarily" relocated in government housing, the apartments would be renovated and sold as condos. The original tenants would be offered the right to purchase the new condos, wrote Homnick, but "we could be sure that — ha, ha, ha — the blacks would not be able to raise the cash required, which would not be inconsiderable."
What about the current congressional candidacy of Keith Ellison, running in Minnesota’s 5th district? In 1990, Ellison, then a member of the Nation of Islam and a law student at the University of Minnesota, wrote an article for the school’s newspaper defending NOI’s Minister Louis Farrakhan against charges of racism. Farrakhan has called Judaism a "gutter religion," pronounced Adolf Hitler "wickedly great," claimed that whites are the devil, condemned gays, and, on their website, his organization still calls for a separate region in America so that blacks may relocate and live there. Ellison now denounces Farrakhan’s views and says back then he failed to "adequately scrutinize" the minister’s positions.
Moral to the story, anti-Semitism and anti-black rhetoric counts against you — unless, of course, you’re a Democrat.