Wednesday, September 20, 2006

VA Senate race: Who is genuine?

Senator Allen’s history of denials about his ancestry and his supporters’ claims that he was being “tarred as a Jew” followed by his odd admissions yesterday about his family history trying to portray himself as a victim only focuses attention on Mr. Allen’s faux Bubba persona he has been grooming during his political career. This is less about the king who had no clothes than about the king who had no redneck.

This is in contrast to James Webb who seems to be quite genuine. Margaret Edds writes in this week’s Style magazine about Webb:
Webb, a military man’s son who perfected his fighting skills on the
battlefields of Vietnam, reveres Tennessee’s Andrew Jackson. The seventh
president shocked sophisticates by opening the White House to buckskins and
boots, opposed a centralized bank and brought “a coarse but refreshing openness
to the country’s governing process,” the candidate writes.

It’s easy to see why Webb, a proud man whose campaign bank account
seriously trails Allen’s, might disdain courting wealthy donors. His book argues
that the country-club whites who ran the South through much of the 20th century
perpetuated class conflict between blacks and poor whites because it helped keep
them in control.

Heading into the fall campaign, the chief rap on George Allen is that he
supported the Bush administration on 97 percent of key votes. Reading “Born
Fighting,” it’s hard to imagine Jim Webb agreeing with anyone, anywhere, 97
percent of the time. Skeptics might legitimately wonder how such independence
would fit into the renowned (at least until recently) collegiality of the U.S.

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