- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Michael S. Steele of Maryland is black, in case that immutable element has escaped anyone’s attention, and George Allen of Virginia is a tobacco-chewing Christian whose maternal grandparents were Jewish.

Both are Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate and pose a challenge to their opponents and the party of inclusiveness. Their ruminations are especially important to members of the old media, forever preaching about tolerance until someone is at odds with their cult of nuances and reflective bent.

It is not really that Mr. Steele is black. It is that he is a black Republican fighting the good political fight in a state that reflexively votes left and imagines a black Republican to be a “traitor” to the black cause. At least one poll shows his race with Benjamin L. Cardin to be a dead heat, which is a testament to Mr. Steele’s campaign ability. The attacks on him — he is black, remember — are not resonating in the fashion the Democrats would have it.

Mr. Steele has been described as an “oreo,” an “Uncle Tom,” and, most recently, as having had “a career slavishly supporting the Republican Party.” “Slavishly” could have been an unfortunate slip or perhaps a reference to a possible Slavic background in Mr. Steele’s family tree.

The ridicule came from a congressional member of the party that promotes tolerance, inclusiveness and a moral relativism but only if it is convenient, apparently. The remark soon prompted a nonapology and a renewed call to speak of the issues, hopeless as that call may be.

The political mudslinging is typical, of course, and proof of nothing really, except it shows again the dishonesty and hypocrisy of the Democrats.

We could see that in the Democratic outrage in the Mark Foley page scandal, distinct from the scandal involving Gerry Studds, who died this month. Mr. Foley practiced his come-ons in cyberspace, while Mr. Studds lived up to his surname. Mr. Foley was gone the moment the scandal broke, while Mr. Studds lived off the public trough long after.

Mr. Allen has discovered in this campaign that he is both a “racist” and connected to a historically oppressed minority. He has contributed to the former, although only to those with a Tunisian background.

His deployment of the word “macaca” in describing a pesky Democratic operative in his midst initially prompted much head-scratching, if not taken as a cue to dance. Let’s do the “macaca.” “The “macaca” word eventually rose to the level of a national incident after an exhaustive investigation, and all good people took umbrage, even those who could not trace their roots to Tunisia. Mr. Allen has more than a decade in public service as both a governor and senator, but his campaign has been reduced to so much about nothing in the sound-bite age.

If you know little else about Mr. Allen, you know his use of the “macaca” word and the recent revelation of his Jewish ancestry. His ham-sandwich crack suggests he is not in touch with his contemplative side, a big no-no among those who require a certain amount of emoting from lawmakers.

That perhaps was the power of Bill Clinton. He could emote with the best, right down to the biting of the lower lip.

Marylanders and Virginians have 12 days left to consider Mr. Steeles blackness and Mr. Allen’s “macaca” outbreak and Jewish roots. It is impossible to gauge what kind of impact these issues would have on the respective states should the two be elected.

Will Mr. Allen come to be as impressed with the Israeli flag as the Confederate flag? Will Mr. Steele be able to help the party of inclusiveness get over his blackness in order to build a better Maryland? Politics is an ugly business, and everyone deserves better.


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