Virginia Senator George Allen’s Confederate Past

A few days ago the Washington Post ran a story about George Allen’s flirtation with the Confederate flag.  Now the New Republic continues the investigation with an extended piece by Ryan Lizza:

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, 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.

2 comments… add one
  • Kevin Levin May 5, 2006 @ 15:17

    Cash, — I am no fan of George Allen, but I tend to agree with you re: the quality of the article and in terms of what it says about his overall character.

  • Cash May 5, 2006 @ 13:57


    I thought the two stories in TNR weren’t particularly well done. I discount any displays of the flag when he was a young man, since those are rebellious years and the confederate battle flag can be seen as “cool” and anti-establishment. Focusing on a high school photo and his driving a Mustang with a confederate flag on it in high school makes it seem like TNR was engaged in simply putting out hit pieces on Allen. He says in the Washington Post story that he has since learned things about the confederate battle flag that he didn’t know as a young man. I’m more interested in what he says he has learned and how he feels about it today.

    If the point is to show that Allen is packaging himself to give an appearance that is more broadly acceptable, my response is “Duh.” He’s a politician, and after all, isn’t that what politicians do?

    When we get right down to it I think you’re absolutely right. Whether he wins or loses will depend on far more than the confederate flag.


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