On the right, a debate is now brewing about what Allen’s four-decade embrace of the Confederate flag means for his presidential ambitions. Some are bothered by the revelations. At the influential conservative website Redstate.com, the blogger The Collegian, who volunteered for Allen in 1993, writes, “George Allen did not simply adopt an affection for the South, but the South at a certain time: a time when it was fighting to keep slavery legal. Even this would be ok if he had some family tie to the region at that time, but he doesn’t. I find that to be disturbing.”
But there’s a second view. It is best expressed to me by Stevens, now a consultant to John McCain. He argues strenuously that I should not write a piece about Allen and the Confederate flag. He says it would be unfair to Allen. But, when I explain Allen’s record on the issue, he makes another argument that has nothing to do with fairness, and I figure out why he is so forceful. “Well, you also realize you’re getting him votes for the primary, right?” Stevens says, alluding to key states in the South. He raises his voice to a shout: “You’re getting him votes! Big time!”
We shall see if there is any fallout, but my guess is that Allen’s choice as the Republican nominee for president will have little to do with his little Confederate flag fetish.