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George Allen Not Kosher

September 20, 2006

Virginia Senator George Allen has once again confirmed the wisdom of the old aphorism that when stuck in a hole, stop digging. Just days after the "Macacagate" episode highlighted Allen's neo-Confederate proclivities, his ham-handed response to revelations of his Jewish ancestry put Allen in hot water.
During his September 18 debate with Democrat Jim Webb, a bitter Allen reacted angrily to reporter Peggy Fox's question about his Jewish roots. Perhaps sensing that stories of his grandfather (and namesake) Felix' Jewish faith might alienate his conservative Christian base, Allen raged that Fox was "making aspersions."
Seeking to deflate the ballooning controversy over his angry reaction, Allen proclaimed on Tuesday:

"I was raised as a Christian and my mother was raised as a Christian. And I embrace and take great pride in every aspect of my diverse heritage, including my Lumbroso family line's Jewish heritage, which I learned about from a recent magazine article and my mother confirmed."

But just to be on the safe side, Allen had the chutzpah to reassure the religious right by joking:

"I still had a ham sandwich for lunch. And my mother made great pork chops."

George Allen seems perfectly comfortable in dissembling to the people of Virginia. Apparently, he does not feel the need, as the Hebrew National hot dog ad proclaims, "to answer to a higher authority."

One comment on “George Allen Not Kosher”

  1. I have watched and listened to the video clip of Allen responding to the Fox reporter a number of times, and it is clear to me that he is offended by the question for all the right reasons, and that she is the one who brought religion into a situation that demanded none and was, in fact, inappropriate. Her sole purpose was to entrap Mr. Allen into a sound byte that could then be exploited by her media, and not for "honesty", as she claimed. Now, being from Canada, I don't know anything about Mr. Allen's politics or religious beliefs, so I feel I'm an impartial observer. Mr. Allen did not "rage at the reporter" about "casting aspersions". In fact, that comment about "casting aspersions" was the last thing he said, and it didn't even make the video I watched. I had to find it in the transcript.
    I believe that was a bad choice of a phrase. He could've said "bringing ones religion into a politcal debate...". However, I do believe he was deservedly upset, especially since this whole exchange was a "follow-up" question to the one which subtly implied his mother was, herself, a racist.
    I'd like to agree with one commentator who viewed the incident as a "tempest in a teapot", but, although he could've made one different choice of words, I think the media, and now the blogs, have spun this into a real hurricane that threatens the real issues. In fact, one might say that, in fairness to Mr. Allen, all candidates should be subject to the same probing in the search for "honesty", and where will your precious religious protections be then?
    Mr Magoo


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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