The editors of the Washington Post have, yet again, shown their extreme dislike for George Allen. Less than three weeks before Virginia's crucial Senate election, the liberal paper offered front page profiles of Republican Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine. On Friday, the Post's headline sympathetically declared: "A Man of Faith and Practical Politics: While Running for Senate in Virginia, Kaine Finds Time to Wrestle With His Conscience." (The paper endorsed Kaine on Monday.)
The headline for Thursday's profile announced, "A Humbler, More Cautious Allen." Not surprisingly, the Post dredged up Allen's 2006 "macaca" remark. Marc Fisher reminded that six years ago, Allen "found himself portrayed in news reports and voters’ minds as a colossally insensitive brute, a senator who publicly slurred an Indian American man who was working for his opponent at a campaign event, calling him 'macaca.'" The above description came from the third paragraph and made it onto page A1.
Fisher devoted 13 paragraphs to a section entitled, "The Macaca Incident."
Kaine's profile, however, was much different. The first three paragraphs of the article by Steve Hendrix touted the pro-choice Democrat's Catholicism:
It’s not unusual, on an election-year Sunday, to find a white candidate in a black church. But Tim Kaine, swaying this month to the gospel groove at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in a poor Richmond neighborhood, wasn’t on the campaign trail. He was taking a break from it at his home parish.
“How you doing, brother?” said Peter Thompson, 53, a lean black man in a green fedora, hugging the round-faced Kaine on the church steps.
The part-time Pizza Hut cook and the former governor have known each other since Kaine joined the church almost three decades ago. “We helped start the Men’s Group together,” Thompson said.
Hendrix assured readers that "religion saturates both life and politics for Kaine." He added, "A former missionary in rural Honduras, he talks frequently of how Catholicism informs his views on race and poverty and his deep embrace of cultural diversity, which he hails as 'God’s rich tapestry.'"
For Allen, the Post recycled the Macaca story one more time:
The insult — “macaca” is a slur leveled at dark-skinned people and derived from the Portuguese word for female monkey — dominated the rest of the campaign.
Allen lost his Senate seat and any presidential hopes.
In contrast, Hendrix heavily focused on Kaine's death penalty position and how he wrestled with it:
The deal he made with the public was not to block executions. The deal he made with himself was infinitely harder.
“I hope I can give a good accounting of myself on Judgment Day,” he said finally.
The journalist did offer a few tough lines, noting, "To Virginia Republicans, Kaine’s smooth rise can rankle, the nice-guy persona can feel like Teflon. They say Kaine’s record as governor was undistinguished. He failed to deliver on promises to reform transportation funding."
But Hendrix made sure to explain that "even his enemies make much of an attempt to demonize Kaine."
It should surprise no one that even the Kaine piece included a discussion of Macaca: "Kaine regularly defends Allen’s disastrous 'macaca' outburst by saying that anyone can make an off-the-cuff mistake. But then he deftly slips in the knife, condemning 'the sentiment behind it.'"
By election day 2006, the Washington Post produced 112 news stories and editorials about macaca. So, it shouldn't be a shock that the paper is still obsessed.