Macaca-versary

A pioneering political videographer reminds us that two years ago the Internet politics era changed forever.


Thomas Schaller
August 18, 2008 7:56PM (UTC)

Dan Manatt, a pioneer in political video and Web video, reminds us that today is the two-year anniversary of the infamous "macaca" episode.

In a small town in southern Virginia, the then seemingly invincible, buzzworthy 2008 Republican presidential front-runner, George Allen, R-Stone Age, gift-wrapped for S.R. Sidarth and Democrat Jim Webb his infamous, petulant little tirade. Dummy he, Allen decided to attack the very person operating the opposition research video camera designed to record Allen's every public utterance for precisely such mistakes. (I always think here of Tom Cruise's “galactically stupid” line from "A Few Good Men.")

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Manatt writes:

Just two years ago, the modern age of YouTube/Web Video Politics began:

On 8.11.06, Sen. George Allen, a shoo-in for reelection and early favorite for the GOP 08 pres nomination, called Web Campaign video tracker S.R. Sidarth "Macaca."

On [8.14.06], the Webb campaign, unable to get TV stations to take the video and run with the story, posted it on the new video service, YouTube, which as of then was not on anyone's political radar.

The rest is history.

And so, too, is George Allen's political career. (Glasses clink.)


Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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