DEPARTMENT OF DELICIOUS IRONIES. The headline and subhead from this Washington Post article today are almost too good to be true.

Now, Even Allen's Apologies Are Getting Him in Trouble
Sons of Confederate Veterans Is the Most Recent Group Offended by Senator's Comments

So, after years of wrapping himself in the confederate flag, George Allen admits to finally realizing that "this symbol . . . is, for black Americans, an emblem of hate and terror, an emblem of intolerance and intimidation." Indeed, it is, and I might add that it says something about Allen's worldview that he only attributes those feelings to blacks. But of course there is nothing more dangerous in politics than dissing your base, which is precisely what Allen just did.

So now, according to the Post, even the Lost Causers are demanding their pound of flesh:

"He's apologizing to others, certainly he should apologize to us as well," said B. Frank Earnest Sr., the Virginia commander of the confederate group at a news conference. "We're all aware, ourselves included, of the statements that got him into this. The infamous macaca statement. He's using our flag to wipe the muck from his shoes that he's now stepped in."

As August Pollak notes, the lesson here is that: "Campaigning in a conservative state clearly shows the thin line right-wing candidates need to tread between upsetting constituencies who oppose symbols of bigotry and upsetting constituencies who honor them." Of course, you also have the option of trying to deflect attention from all your screwups by siccing some shady rightwinger on your opponent with totally unsubstantiated counter-charges of racism, as Allen has against Jim Webb.

--Ben Adler

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