The new post-“macaca” home page of Virginia Sen. George Allen’s website.
In an apparent attempt to control the fallout of his ostensibly racist “macaca” remark, Virginia Sen. George Allen has updated his website with a picture of him embracing a woman with dark skin. But the damage has been done. He’s losing in the polls to his rival for the Senate (and Allen was until recently being touted as presidential material…).
Ana Marie Cox says historians will study this episode as an example of how NOT to do damage control.
Ana Marie Cox:
We did as much as we possibly could to keep the Macaca story afloat, we admit (come on, it?s August), but we are still fairly amazed by the results of the Wall Street Journal/Zogby Interactive poll showing whatsisface (you know, the Dragnet guy) ahead of a man who, up until this month, had been thought of as a good bet for the GOP Presidential nomination. Sure, it?s by one point, but who knew veiled racism had political consequences! In Virginia! Now all the challengers with nothing to lose will be getting their own Indian kids.
Smarting from the poll, the Allen team rushed into action and brought out the big guns on the campaign website:
Someday political scientists will study the Allen campaign as an example of how not to do damage control. First, do NOT “dismiss…the issue with an expletive and insist…the senator has ‘nothing to apologize for.’” Second, do NOT try to “explain” the offensive remark (He said the word sounds similar to “mohawk,” a term that his campaign staff had nicknamed Sidarth because of his haircut.). Third, do NOT offer a SECOND, possibly more offensive, explanation after the first one proves inadequate. Fourth do NOT leak a campaign memo that blames the media for the offensive remark. Lastly, do NOT wait a week to actually apologize. Oh, and do NOT be an idiot.
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