- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 28, 2006

RICHMOND — The Sons of Confederate Veterans in Virginia yesterday criticized Sen. George Allen, saying he has turned his back on them and their heritage for political reasons as he cultivates an image more suitable for a potential presidential run in 2008.

The group, which represents 4,000 Virginians and 32,000 people nationwide, thinks Mr. Allen, a former ally, has been trying to distance himself from the Confederate flag since the senator said “macaca,” to describe a staffer of Indian descent working for his Democratic challenger, James H. Webb Jr.

“Senator Allen is technically running for senator of Virginia, but anybody in reality has got to know he’s really running for president of the United States,” said B. Frank Earnest Sr., the state’s SCV division commander. “So he’s looking for a wider audience. So he’s dumping on us.”

Mr. Allen, 54, apologized for using the word “macaca,” which is considered a slur in some cultures. He had said that he made up the word and that he had moved beyond a fascination with Confederate symbols.

Several weeks later, Mr. Allen told members of historically black colleges and universities that the “macaca” incident taught him a lesson about the power of words and that he wished that he had learned much sooner that the Confederate flag was “an emblem of hate and terror — an emblem of intolerance and intimidation” for black Americans.

Mr. Earnest said Mr. Allen shouldn’t bring the Confederate flag or the group’s heritage into his defense.

“What has [the Confederate flag] got to do with him making the macaca statement,” Mr. Earnest said.

Dick Wadhams, Mr. Allen’s campaign manager, told the Associated Press the senator stands by his words.

The Washington Times first reported SCV’s criticism of Mr. Allen in its Sept. 18 editions.

Mr. Earnest’s remarks yesterday come as the Allen campaign continues to defend the senator against accusations by a former University of Virginia football teammate that he used “the n-word” to refer to blacks. The accusation, coupled with the macaca remark, has resulted in the resurfacing of questions about Mr. Allen’s racial sensitivity.

Mr. Webb defended himself against a similar accusation this week. A former acquaintance told The Washington Post that Mr. Webb used “the n-word” in the early 1960s. Mr. Webb’s spokeswoman, Kristian Denny-Todd, said the accusation was an “outright lie.”

“Where does this end?” she asked. “Next week the Allen campaign is going to find someone out there, and have someone say Jim has killed babies.”

Mr. Allen’s affinity for the Confederate flag has dogged him throughout his political career.

Mr. Allen decided to remove a Confederate flag from his log cabin office in 1993, when word of it spread during his successful gubernatorial campaign.

A civil rights groups later criticized Mr. Allen for issuing Confederate History Month proclamations while he was governor of Virginia.

Meanwhile, Mr. Webb has voiced some admiration for the sense of duty shown by Confederate soldiers, including some of his ancestors.

At the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery in 1990, Mr. Webb said the soldiers “must always trust their lives to the judgment of their leaders, and whose bond thus goes to individuals rather than to stark ideology, and who, at the end of the day that is their lives, desire more than anything to sleep with the satisfaction that when all the rhetoric was stripped away, they had fulfilled their duty — as they understood it.”

“We’re not talking about Jim Webb riding around with a Confederate flag in the windshield of his pickup truck because he was trying to be a rebellious kid,” Mrs. Denny-Todd said. “It goes far deeper, and the logic behind it is far more sincere.”

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