Allen's Not a Stranger.


Adam Serwer remembers George Allen's 2006 Senate campaign:

As political scientist Brendan Nyhan documented at the time, Allen had an affinity for Confederate Lost Cause symbolism, hanging a noose from a tree outside his law office and displaying the Confederate flag in his television ads. As governor, Allen also issued a proclamation celebrating "Confederate History Month" and characterizing the Civil War as "a four-year struggle for independence and sovereign rights," without mentioning that the "sovereign right" being defended was the right to own human beings as property. The proclamation didn't mention slavery at all.

Allen was very obviously a neo-Confederate sympathizer, and there is no evidence that he has gone back on those views. That said, I'm not too worried about losing the seat to Allen or any other race-baiting bully. It's still too early to say, but odds are very good that Allen will face an electorate that looks like the one in 2008, where blacks, Latinos, and younger whites were nearly half of all voters. If Allen can't improve on McCain's performance, or if the Democratic nominee matches Obama's total, then Democrats hold the seat without much problem. Again, conditions can change dramatically over two years, but with any luck, this will be Allen's last gasp for political relevance.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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