After devoting two front-page stories this week making a mountain out of the molehill of Sen. George Allen joshing with fellow Republicans about a Democrat opposition researcher's haircut, calling him "Macaca," the Washington Post put the story back on top of the front page Saturday with the headline "Allen Flap May Give A Boost to Webb: Reenergized Va. Democrats Gain Support."
Could we be any more transparent in using our front page as an advertising vehicle for the Democrats? The headline is a little incomplete. It could read: "Allen Flap May Give A Boost to Webb: We're Certainly Trying Hard to Make It So." And the subheadline could be "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes."
The Post's home page headline was "Allen Flap Rallies Opposition." Reporters Tim Craig and Michael Shear are back again, trying to play it straight that the Post-manufactured brouhaha "has given Democrats new hopes in a race many thought would be difficult to win in a historically conservative state. Before Allen insulted a native Fairfax County man of Indian descent, many Democratic officials were privately doubtful that James Webb could mount an aggressive challenge to the former governor and possible 2008 presidential candidate."
And of course, the "Even Republicans" make an appearance: "Even Northern Virgnia Republicans who support Allen say they are a bit worried." Rob Jackson of McLean slashed Allen for a "stupid remark that a senator shouldn't have said."
Inside the paper, the headline was "Allen Fallout Invigorates Democrats." Political expert Charlie Cook is brought in to state the obvious, that national Democrats are showing a growing interest in the race. We're told internet traffic to Webb's website "doubled on several consecutive days this week, and several Democratic leaders, including Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), began asking their supporters to donate to Webb."
Notice how the Post suddenly begins telling the reader how bad the Democrats thought it was going -- after they think the political picture has improved. "Democratic activists across the state have complained for weeks that Webb hasn't been visible enough, was slow in hiring staff and had limiteed knowledge about many issues." They throw in the Craney Island goof.
The Democrats must be happy that the Post is there to make up for the insufficiency of the Democratic nominee.
The story does include some Republican rebuttal from Allen campaign manager Dick Wadhams and state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, but the last seven paragraphs are an energetic rehash of how "Allen's recent comments are providing Democrats and others with an opportunity to talk about the senator's past controversies involving race."