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Allen’s childhood was on the road, much of it spent in the South. The Allens spent Christmastime in New Orleans or Florida for bowl games while his father scouted college players. They bounced around from Whittier College to the Chicago Bears to the Los Angeles Rams to the Washington Redskins. By all accounts, this boy from all over took to Virginia when Coach Allen landed in the area.
Sen. Allen has answered for the noose and flag for years — Lizza’s questions aren’t the first. He dismisses Allen’s explanation of the noose as part of a Western motif. Not so fast. The noose was on a tree in his office, along with other Western memorabilia, I’m told. The noose was just as much a Western object as a Southern one, and in the West it played a civilizing influence. One well-known biographical detail, which Lizza doesn’t mention, is Allen’s time as a buckaroo near Winnemucca, Nevada, during the summers of 1974-76. Larry Sabato, the University of Virginia politics professor and Allen’s classmate there, told Newsweek that Allen is “really more West than South.” Displaying a noose may be a politically dumb act, but Allen’s explanation is as plausible as Lizza’s.
AND WHATEVER LIZZA AND the New Republic find automatically offensive about the Confederate flag, Allen need not answer to liberal speech enforcers for it. This is an old story and an old culture clash. It means different things (many quite odious and wrong) to different people. Again, displaying it may be politically dumb. But that doesn’t make it racist.
I asked John Reid, Allen’s communications director, about the graffiti stunt yesterday. “It’s not like he’s walking around telling everybody that he was a saint when he was 17 years old,” he said. “He admits that he was rebellious, and he wishes he’d never been involved in that school prank.” No amount of apologizing, “civil rights pilgrimages” throughout the South, sponsoring anti-lynching apologies in the Senate, or helping minorities is enough atonement to Lizza.
One man who knows Allen well thinks otherwise. J. Scott Leake managed his first campaign and is now executive director of the Virginia Senate Republican Leadership Trust. He said yesterday, “In addition to the fact that I’ve never heard him say anything that could be construed as racist, I’ve always seen him embrace people of all races, regardless of their station in life. There’s no one he’s not comfortable shaking hands with, or putting his arm around.”
The New Republic is usually — or should be — more sophisticated than this gotcha hit piece. But this is what happens when a reporter writes an article while wearing ideological blinders. The story line is written in advance, and square details fill the round holes.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?