A month ago on January 4th, the morning after Mike Huckabee won the Iowa caucus (the first one), I sent the following email off to a group of friends that I discuss politics with:
One word: Macaca. Imagine how differently this election would have been if George Allen hadn’t uttered that word. The fact that he’d be running right now is certain. He was the only potential Republican candidate that appealed to fiscal conservatives, national security conservatives, and religious conservatives. None of the current crop of Republican candidates can boast that wide appeal, which is why the Dems are sitting pretty. And it is all because of “Macaca.”
We have only to look at the Super Tuesday results map to show what happens when the base of the Republican party gets split in three. Huckabee took the religious South, McCain carried the national security conservatives and Romney the economic conservatives. This morning the Washington Post also started thinking about former Senator George Allen and how everything might have been different for the Republicans if it wasn’t for our boy S.R. Sidharth:
As Virginia voters prepare to go to the polls Tuesday to help choose the Republican nominee for president, state and national party leaders are left wondering: What if former senator George Allen had never uttered the word “macaca”?
After years of preparing for a 2008 presidential run, including trips to Iowa and New Hampshire and formation of a national network of donors, Allen’s use of the word on Aug. 11, 2006, changed the landscape of the GOP nominating contest… “A lot of us saw him as the 1,000-pound gorilla. He would have had so much clout and credibility within the party around the country,” said Chuck Smith, chairman of the Virginia Beach Republican Party.
Other Republicans say Allen would have been far from a shoo-in for the nomination despite his potential advantages. As the race heated up last summer, President Bush’s approval ratings were plunging to record lows among GOP voters frustrated over his immigration policies and his management of the war in Iraq.
With his signature cowboy boys and “aw shucks” personality, Allen could have been defined as the candidate most like Bush, some Republican strategists say.[Link]
The next time you think that one person can’t make a difference in politics, thing again 🙂
Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte (R-Va) said: “One of the problems with each of the Republican presidential candidates this year is each of them doesn’t connect with all segments of the party. Allen would have been able to do that…” Republican strategist Alex Vogel said that, were it not for the “macaca” remark, Allen would have had a major advantage on the campaign trail. “The fact is, George Allen comes across as a regular guy, and he had an amazing ability to connect with the people,” Vogel said. [Link]
But also remember that most politicians get a second chance. Allen could be back one day after he’s done laying low in the “Real World of Virgina.”