So George Allen is a born Jew. Hear all about it.
But in the context of the debate and the campaign, it just felt right. Watch the video for yourself, and you’ll probably agree with Rich Lowry’s assessment: his reply was pitch-perfect. That’s how it struck me as I watched the debate — the man was thinking on his feet and was rightly angry at such a ridiculous question. If a reporter is writing a profile, and could lightly couch the question, it might be appropriate. Debates are for issues, not gotcha.
Why gotcha? When Allen turned the tables on the reporter, Peggy Fox, she said she asked the question because, “Honesty, that’s all.” Shaun Kenney was rightly suspicious: “Of course, this idea of ‘coming clean’ about being Jewish isn’t an isolated idea.” Kenney suggests this issue smacks of anti-Semitism. Either that or the Webb supporters expect Allen’s Jewishness to peel off support from Allen’s base. Expect the clamor to only increase today when folks read in the Washington Post that Allen’s mother told him about it last month — and so Allen knew Monday at the debate.
The Allen-is-a-closeted-self-hating-Jew story line (yes, that’s the undercurrent of “What does George Allen have against Jews” posts) is simply not supported by the evidence. The guy just confirmed it with his mother last month, Michael Shear reports in the Post story. (Allen’s mother is not known for her discretion, so the likelihood of this account being false is very low.) She swore him to secrecy. So Allen is expected to betray his mother for an irrelevant question from some reporter? I’m not buying.