When the "macaca" runs deep

The Nation finds one more reason to think that George Allen's "macaca" moment was more than just a slip of the tongue.

Published August 30, 2006 7:04PM (EDT)

Are we making too much of "macaca"?

The case could be made -- if George Allen weren't the kind of guy who wore a Confederate flag on his shirt in high school, kept a Confederate flag in his living room at home and featured a Confederate flag, ever so subtly, in a campaign ad; if Allen hadn't opposed the 1991 Civil Rights Act and a holiday commemorating the life of Martin Luther King Jr.; if Allen hadn't hung a noose in his office; and if Allen hadn't courted the modern-day equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan while serving as the governor of Virginia.

That last little window into what it means to be George Allen comes courtesy of the Nation, which has unearthed a 1996 photograph of the then governor posing with National Rifle Association spokesman Charlton Heston and a couple of the leaders of the Council of Conservative Citizens, which the magazine describes as "the successor organization to the segregationist White Citizens Council and among the largest white supremacist groups."

How racist are the Conservative Citizens? The group's Statement of Principles declares the United States to be a "Christian" and "European" country, and it vows opposition to "all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called 'affirmative action' and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races." That's putting a pretty face on things. DailyKos offers a substantially less savory taste of CofCC-style thinking in the form of a letter written a few years back by Earl Holt, the co-host of a radio show with CofCC CEO Gordon Lee Baum.

Allen's campaign spokesman tells the Nation that he's "unaware" of the CofCC and can't comment because the campaign has "no record of the senator having involvement with them." But Baum, shown smiling at the center of the photo with Allen and Heston, says Allen knew exactly what he was doing when he cozied up to the CofCC booth at the 1996 CPAC convention and suggested that a photograph be taken. "It helped us as much as it helped him," Baum tells the Nation's Max Blumenthal. "We got our bona fides." Blumenthal adds: "And so did Allen."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

MORE FROM Tim Grieve

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2006 Elections War Room