UPDATED: George Allen and the "Phony Racial Incident in Virginia"

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Realizing that Jim Webb's campaign for U.S. Senate was seriously floundering due to lack of funding (recently being passed over for DSCC funding) and an inexperienced one-issue candidate... the campaign and its cadre of left-wing bloggers decided to play the race-card yesterday and attempt to create some momentum. There has been a great deal of commentary on this issue but I believe Real Clear Politics said it best:

Watch the video for yourself. It is pretty clear, at least to me, that Allen is good naturedly ribbing a guy who is following him around and harassing him. The reason for him being singled out is not because the Webb volunteer, is non-white, but rather because the guy is following Allen around, unwanted, trying to catch him on film in an embarrassing incident.

Do you honestly mean to tell me that if Sidarth was just there all alone, among a hundred people Allen would have singled him out because of his ethnicity? Gimme a break. The guy was singled out because he is there unwanted, filming.

James Webb has a lot of things going for him that many Democrats do not have, but stooping to cheap racial tactics isn't helpful and it is not smart politics in Virginia. He'd be better off sticking to the issues.

Yes, Allen mixed up the Webb staffer's name (and in all fairness it has been pointed out that even that may have been part of this race-baiting tactic and Sidarth may have deliberately given the Allen staffers a different name that sounded like an obscure racial epithet-- I have no idea if this is true and honestly doubt we'll ever fully know) but that is not the same as deliberately using a racial slur as the left would like us to believe. The blog A Shot of Southern Comfort delves into this issue:

He used a word that sounds like a racial slur, yes, but that doesn't mean that he meant it that way. The video plays MUCH kinder to Allen than the transcript reads, and the footage makes the Senator look downright playful. He looks into the camera. Allen is many things, but he is not politically stupid, especially on the stump. If he knew the phrase he was using was an ethnic slur, there is no way he makes the comment when he knows he is on camera. I really believe that the blogs/pundits who are portraying this as a "shuddering" statement are overplaying their hand to the point where they are bordering on "guilty by geography", as Lewis Grizzard famously termed faulty accusations o racism against Southerners.

The bottom line is that this was a comment poking fun at the Webb campaign and welcoming his staffer to America and Virginia as in Red America as opposed to the Blue America crowd to which Webb is pandering... Rural Virginia vs Hollywood (where Webb was off fundraising at the time of the comment). Anyone who views the video cannot possibly believe Allen is deliberately staring into the Webb campaign's camera and firing off a racial epithet... come on! And it seems rather hypocritical to me that these folks are complaining how Allen insulted and hurt Sidarth yet they were so willing to attack former Allen tracker Hunter Pickles' personal life including his significant other.

Kilo also has some solid analysis of the Webb campaign's desperate attempt to play the race card and shore up their African American base (which was solidly behind Miller in the primary).

UPDATE: From on High has some more coverage of this issue, including the ignored definition of the word "macaca":

I looked up the word Macaca in my handy English-Hindi dictionary. It reads:

Noun: Macaca mac kah' kah

1. One who goes around with chip on shoulder and foot in mouth.

Synonym: Moron
Derivation: Macaroon

No need for further explanation. Now it all makes perfect sense.

UPDATE II: Those playing the race-card tried to discredit Allen's claim that somehow the word he used was a variation of "Mohawk" by posting "photographic proof" of Sidarth without such a hairstyle (after all it would be impossible to simply cut his hair to discredit the argument and help his candidate, right?). Well I found this little picture:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Looks like a mohawk to me! Equally ridiculous is the fact that NLS is now trying to argue that criticizing "inside the beltway" elites is racist. I can't believe how quickly these folks throw intellectual honesty out the window in order to advance (apparently via the race card) their candidate's sagging campaign.

UPDATE III: James Young shares his thoughts here, and Chris over at the Mason Conservative has this great post:

The campaign is now ON. We know what the Webbheads are capable of now. Its a game of race-baiting gotcha politics now, and its clear that the left in Virginia cares little for any issue. Webb is a cnadidate who is still basically a Republican, but is running out of the same emotion that drives his adoptive party--anger. Its time to stop messing around and call it like we see it. Its time for the few GOP bloggers here on the right that are in Virginia to fight back. All gloves are off now, everything is fair game.

Webb's a joke of a candidate, and his can only win with cheap tactics like this. He can't touch Allen on policy, he is ignorant to what is important locally in the state, can barely find Hampton Roads on a map, and can only talk through press release. Its time for James Webb, the politician, to be a man. If he thinks George Allen is a racist, I DARE him to say it Sept. 18th when they debate in Tyson's Corner. I want James Webb to have the stones to back up what his fanatical backers say. I dare him. Lets see how tough old "Born Fighting" really is.

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Using an apparent racial slur against one of his opponent's operatives actually shows how smart George Allen really is. Read More


Webb needs all the help he can get, obviously - but I saw the video last night and I think it's going to work in Allen's favor if the dolts decide to keep pressing the issue. Allen is his normal, good-natured self. Maybe the transcript can make it look like he was saying a racist comment, but the video makes it clear he wasn't. The idiot is doing opposition research, following Allen around trying to get video clips that Webb can use in campaign ads: Allen is perfectly justified giving him a hard time.

Allen=Racist said:

This just in from a joint press release to bloggers who defend Allen:

You are cordially invited to a family friendly GOP cross-burning rally next week with special guests, Senator George Felix Allen. Dress casual, robes optional.

Allen=Racist said:

To replace the one you have!

Sophrosyne said:

Joe-- I couldn't agree more. I find it interesting most of the pro-Webb blogs are at best providing a fairly obscure link to the YouTube video... preferring the text instead. I think they realize the obvious.

Maybe we should post the YouTube clip at the top of the blog?

This really is a pathetic attempt...

eirishis said:

Thanks for the link. I still think it was a stupid thing for Allen to say, regardless of the intent - every campaign sends trailers to follow their opponent, and they should simply be ignored. Violating that simple principle caused this incident, and the Allen campaign's spin afterwards has been laughable.

All that said ... this is much ado about nothing.

Allen=Racist said:

George Allen calls an indian kid a N***** and you defend him? Party of Lincoln? More like the party of Hitler...

tj said:

Well, Allen claimed in the WashingtonPost piece that he didn't know what macaca meant. This is astonishing given that he used the term twice. If he meant the "chip on the shoulder" definition, why couldn't he defend himself with that?

Here's why - Allen knew it was a racial slur and now has to cover his sorry ass.


Great idea - the more airplay the video gets the better. Let me see if I can figure out how to do it while I'm eating lunch.

Sophrosyne said:


Please tell me WHY on earth Allen, even if he is this closeted racist as you claim, would look right into the eye of the Webb campaign's camera and use a racial slur? Obviously he wouldn't and that's what the tape bears out. He is taking a jab at the only Webb guy there who is taping his every move by welcoming him to Red-State Virginia. Keep hammering away at your talking points b/c frankly it is making you folks look ridiculous.

I didn't realize the Webb campaign was this desperate-- it's only August!

Looks like youtube.com is down for maintenance. I'll check back later but if you find another copy please post in a new post.

Sophrosyne said:


I wouldn't be surprised if the Webb campaign pulls the video so they can just use the more misleading transcript now that they got some MSM news outlets to run with it. Any way we can save the YouTube file once it comes back online?

zimzo said:

Way to spin, guys. Allen calls an Indian guy a monkey and--surprise, surprise--you think there's a perfect logical series of explanations. Of course, coming after this article about George Allen's race problem, it might make most people wonder:


Gnossis said:

So a tiny, un-credited, un-sourced (either here or on the HampRoads site) thumbnail of an Indian-looking male with a mohawk proves...what?

Oh well. At least Allen didn't call him a tar baby.

Here's a bumper sticker idea, gratis: "George Allen Hates Hindus"

The Webb camp should be assuming a home run with this topic during the debate. The damning video will become legendary in the annals of Virginia politics, much like DC's "bitch set me up" video in the 1990s. I highly recommend a series of television ads depicting George Allen superimposed over a night scene of burning crosses, men on horseback and screaming women.

Jonathan said:

Hi Sophrosyne,

So nice to see you back on the blog. Hope you enjoyed your vacation. For the record, I work with many Indians and I asked a handful of native Hindi speakers if they had heard of the word "macaca". The response was unanimous. It's not a Hindi word.

Did you find "macaca" and "sexual lifestyle" in the same dictionary?

Sophrosyne said:

Thanks-- I did have a lovely vacation. Ahh August.

I can't take credit for the definition found in the Hindi-English dictionary. If you read closely you'd notice that was from the blog From On High.

I take it you're with the rest of the pro-Webb crowd who honestly believe Allen deliberately looked into the camera of his opponent and uttered racial slurs (smart enough to know an obscure term for "monkey" but not smart enough to realize his opponent would use said film against him)?

Come on... this is even more outlandish than the red-herring arguments you guys are pushing to mislead voters on the Marriage Amendment! Watch the video... it is crystal clear he is singled out b/c he is a Webb volunteer and that while Allen goofed up his name there was nothing racist about welcoming the Webb staffer to rural Virginia. It is unfortunate Allen messed up his name but that isn't justification for these absurd charges. But keep it up… any person approaching this issue with a shred of intellectual honesty will see the charges for the bogus political move they are. Heck, some folks are now claiming that criticizing “inside the beltway” elites is tantamount to racism!

Jonathan said:

I take it you're with the rest of the pro-Webb crowd who honestly believe Allen deliberately looked into the camera of his opponent and uttered racial slurs

No Sophrosyne, I haven't been following this story, haven't seen the video and don't have an opinion about Senator Allen's motivations (although you seem to have an opinion about mine). To clear the air, I was fact checking you, an excercise that is very necessary since your posts generally contain scores of factual errors.

Sophrosyne said:

So you "fact check" From On High's citation of a Hindi-English dictionary by talking to multiple Indian friends yet don't even watch the footage ultimately in question? Interesting.

Anyways-- Good to hear you're not an automatic member of Webb's blogger-cult. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts once you view the footage (assuming you do).

James Young said:

Post No. 5 is the same pathetic talking point that some Lefty has posted at multiple blogs.

zimzo said:

Well I did watch the video. The first time he refers to the man as "Macaca" he adds "or whatever your name is." The man's name is Siddharth. Clearly, it wasn't an "innocent mixup," (how do you get "Macaca" from "Siddharth"?) but a deliberate attempt at ridicule by giving him a funny-sounding foreign nickname. The second time he says "Macaca" he then says "Welcome to America" again contrasting Siddharth's "foreignness" with his good-ole boy "Americanness."

But it probably wouldn't be a problem if there wasn't already this idea out there that Allen has a problem with race as amply illustrated in the disturbing article I linked to before, which you should read:


The fact that there is this perception out there that he has a problem with race is only confirmed by his ever changing explanations for his behavior and your desperate attempts at spin (I love the blogger who must think that Allen is fluent in Hindi and was actually making a sophisticated bilingual joke; even better that you guys repeated with a straight face).

zimzo said:

Sorry, but I can't resist. Here's even better spin: Allen is not a racist, he's a moron.


"Siddharth"? Hoo-ahh, that ratchets it up another notch. That sounds suspiciously like "Siddhartha."

"George Allen Hates Buddha!"

Or maybe:

"Buddha-monkey!" As in: "Another Buddha-monkey with a DV-cam showed up at my rally!"

Or maybe we should just cut to the chase:

"George Allen Hates YOU!"

Because as everyone knows, George Allen hates everyone who is not a white Southern male. That's why George Allen is our Senator - because Virginia is a backwater bigot-fest of a state.

Here's the line: "Hey, Virginia idiots, pull your collective heads out of your collective asses and realize Jim Webb is your man!"

Thank goodness for the Webb campaign: If not for it, we Virginians would be consigned to irrelevancy. I personally would still be sitting on my porch throwing rocks at black people and Jews. Thanks, Jim Webb, for attempting to pull all of us out of the ditch we live in down here in Virginia. Because it's been downhill ever since they took our slaves away.

zimzo said:

Wee bit defensive aren't we, Joe. Even many conservatives are saying that what Allen did represents racial insensitivity or xenophobobia or at the least profound stupidity:


One wonders why you are so eager to be an apologist for remarks most conservatives find deeply embarassing.

....thought it was obvious by now, but I'll be happy to state it plainly: I think people in general are WAY too thin-skinned nowadays, and I reject the concept of "hate speech" as it is most often used, and enjoy mocking those who believe in it (or pretend to do so, which seems more often the case).

"Grow a pair and shut the hell up" is my motto. Or it was. In the future it will likely be "Grow a pair and shut the hell up, Macaca."

zimzo said:

I guess having suffered discrimination all of your life as a white straight male you have a very keen understanding of what it is like for minorities, which gives you a perfect right to wonder why they have to whine so much.

charles said:

zimzo, your remark is typical of people who think discrimination is confined to narrowly defined classes, like gender and color.

I've not met Joe nor seen him, but if he had a birthmark on his face he would have been subjected to ridicule, if he was short or fat or ugly people would naturally treat him as untrustworthy, if he had a speech problem or a hearing problem or was dyslexic people would say he was stupid.

People discriminate against people for many many reasons, and the idea that only a few special classes count is silly.

I remember seeing a video of an interesting experiment where a school teacher illustrated groups by dividing the class by eye color, and within a week the minority-eye-colored children were being treated with horrible acts of discrimination and ridicule.

Webb is not a minority, so his campaign whining is silly, and the guy who was supposedly offended wasn't offended until they had reviewed the tape and figured out what to say about it, and by all accounts he grew up with all the privilege of any upper-middle-class child.

zimzo, you are wrong about "most conservatives", what most of us thought was offensive and deserved apology had nothing to do with the contrived "Allen is a racist" stuff being trotted out here.

Webb supporters/Allen detractors have admitted that this would be nothing if not for the "fact" that "Allen is a racist". In other words, Allen's comment is racist because we say Allen is a racist.

Allen is NOT a racist, but he is republican which for many democrats is the same thing. Which is why we can't discuss anything rationally, because whenever we try the race card comes flying out.

Nate said:

Allen is a racist, so was his mother who happened to be french. Macaca is akin to "nigger" in many french speaking countries. Allen knew what it meant and judging by the reaction here realized that it would help him, not hurt him. That is the sad part.

Everybody gets insulted in life - oftentimes right here on this blog! - and some react by growing thicker skin while others react by whining or acting out.

I know, I know - some people, because of skin color or whatever, supposedly deserve special consideration and need to be insulated or protected by society from verbal cruelty.

I don't buy it. I believe people should always try and treat each other decently, period, regardless of ethnicity or other status. Sometimes, however, people say things that are cruel or perceived as cruel. Generally, as a result, life goes on.

Politics is bloodsport. The camera guy was looking for something to hurt Allen with. Now his feelings are supposedly hurt. Boo hoo.

If Allen had thrown a crescent wrench at him, or said "get your f-ing ugly face out of my f-ing event before I put a boot up your f-ing fat ass," THAT would be a sign of personality disorder. A little verbal razzing...I can't even feign shock.

But then, I'm just a dumb polack for whom a seven-course meal is a six pack and a dish of potatos, so what do I know? (Oh yeah, I heard them all, all through grade school, not all in good fun. I want protected status so next time anyone calls me a bigot I can take them to court.)

Taking personal offense has become a profession, a friggin' industry, in this culture. I say it is time to stand athwart the mountain of maudlin self-pity and cry "halt!"

zimzo said:

Right, Joe, the ridicule you suffered as a kid for being Polish is the equivalent to the historical and life-long racism African-Americans have experienced and do experience in this country. The name calling you suffered is equivalent to the discrimination gay people undergo and your distress at being made fun of is directly parallel to the sense of physical danger most gay people have experienced at least once in their lives. Being a Polish-American you know exactly how it feels to be the only non-white person singled out in a remote area in a large crowd. I'm sure you know all this because you once mouthed these words of Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."

Sure, there are some people who whine about how they are treated and who use racism or homophobia or mysogyny or anti-Semitism as an excuse. As I have said before Google the words "anti-Christian bigotry" and you will see it is not only minorities who are whiners in this society. But to deny discrimination and even sometimes violence persists in this society against minorities is to truly be living in denial.

But while Mr. Sidarth may not have felt physically threatened and may not have suffered all that much for being called an obscure epithet, that's not really the issue here anyway. The issue is what does it reveal about George Allen's judgment? What does it tell us about his sensitivity to racial issues (you've already told us quite a bit about what it reveals about your sensitivity to racial issues)? What does it tell us about his intellectual and emotional fitness to be a Senator or the President of the United States? As I pointed out this incident has caused even many conservatives and Republicans to have doubts about him.

Correct: I am not sensitive to "racial issues." I think everyone should be treated decently and no one gets to claim protected status when they are not.

Back to George Allen, I think, judging by his votes, he's largely been a good Senator. I need to see where he stands on some key issues next year before deciding about his fitness for the presidency.

This incident doesn't affect my opinion of him at all, and obviously the doubts of "many conservatives and Republicans" mean exactly diddly in my book.

kevin said:

"Allen knew what it meant and judging by the reaction here realized that it would help him, not hurt him. That is the sad part."

Nate, I was chompin at the bit to get through the comments so I could say this but then you said it. Thanks. And that is the fact.

"race-baiting tactic and Sidarth may have deliberately given the Allen staffers a different name that sounded like an obscure racial epithet" That assertion is a LOL ROFL OMG WTF

and this: " Those playing the race-card tried to discredit Allen's claim that somehow the word he used was a variation of "Mohawk" by posting "photographic proof" of Sidarth without such a hairstyle (after all it would be impossible to simply cut his hair to discredit the argument and help his candidate, right?). Well I found this little picture:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Looks like a mohawk to me!"

forgive me, Joe, had me in tears.

"It is unfortunate Allen messed up his name but that isn't justification for these absurd charges. But keep it up… any person approaching this issue with a shred of intellectual honesty will see the charges for the bogus political move they are."


Kevin, I have come to the conclusion you are actually the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Don't even try to deny it, Sloar.

Moderate 5-19 said:

What George Allen wants us to believe is that he is calling another person a name and he does not know what the word means. Let us assume (for the sake of argument) that Allen really did not know the meaning to this word. Either Allen is calling a name he does not himself understand the meaning to, (how ridiculous would that be); or he did know what he was saying a chose to use this word anyway. I can’t see how it matters. Either way it was ignorant and wrong.

And BTW how can one really believe Allen did not know what he was saying when he followed it with the “welcome to America” comment.

Come on people stop drinking the kool- aid

M - I don't have the link but I think immediately prior to the part shown on the video Allen referred to the divide between "inside the beltway" and "regular America". Thus the "welcome to America" comment.

kevin said:

Good one Joe! If I knew how to spell touche' I would say it. However, I've never openly waxed on posting/commenting under 2, 3, 4, 5 multiple identities therefore mooting my point. You, however, have thus nullified yourself.

Incidentally, I am not involved in politics or campaigning for one or the other. I hail from Bmore so why should I care, right? But seriously, you have somewhat been placed in the position of having to defend Allen by his goofy remark. All of the defenses so far have seemed pretty ridiculous. He made a gaffe. Big deal. From what I read it's not going to hurt him any. Maybe in his bid for president but certainly not in your eyes or those who rally around you and him. So whatever. You look foolish trying to come up with alternative conspiracy theories. He himself said he didn't know what the word meant (though I doubt it) and even if he didn't know what the word meant he should be a good enough politician not to screw up and say something potentially inciting. Unless he meant to incite. Unless he knew his audience. Unless he was so convinced that no one stood in his way and he would win favor by making racial slurs. No need to obfuscate, Joe, it's f-in' politics right? Isn't that what politics are?

Maybe it's generational or something, I don't know. But it was either strategic or a character flaw. That's just plain politics. Call a spade a spade and quit coming up with goofy explanations. Otherwise you seem like mindless drones.

As far as what I've seen he's not saying he had actually said "mohawk". He's saying he said Macaca, for reasons he can't explain (particularly in that he doesn't even know what macaca means according to him). So he said Macaca for some bizarro reason (I mean really truly twilight zonian). He's fumbling. Or he's strategic. Either way it smells bad.

kevin said:

I mean, even Mary Katharine Ham thinks it was stupid


Well FAR BE IT FROM ME to disagree with Mary Katherine HAM. I mean if Mary Katherine says it was stupid then me and my mom and my sister and the whole Ham-worshipping clan here better take a step back and....

...oh, forget it. I just don't have the energy tonight.

Let me just say this to you Kevin, because you seem like a good egg: I'm NOT defending Allen so much as ridiculing the whole circus of false indignation. I'm certainly not coming up with "alternative conspiracy theories" - I think you'll grant me that, right? I just think the whole pretend-outrage act, which I'm REALLY sick of, needs to be exposed.

Like I said, I support Allen for Senate because he's done mostly good things in the Senate. But I'm not one of his "boys" and when 2008 comes around I'll be looking very critically at his positions before making a commitment. In particular, I think he'd better out-Tancredo Tancredo or I will be in the Tancredo camp.

But "mindless drones"....well, I can live with that. With Dave Barry I'll posit it's an excellent name for a rock band and perhaps, just perhaps, it's the corporate identity I've been searching for my entire life.

kevin said:

And I'll live with being a good egg. Thanks for your reply.

Hitler Youth said:

Macaca controversy

Allen points to Webb volunteer, Sidarth, referring to him as "Macaca". SEIG HEIL!On Friday, August 11th, 2006, Allen twice called S.R. Sidarth, a 20-year-old Webb campaign volunteer, a word that sounds like "macaca" or "macaque". Sidarth is of Indian ancestry, but was born and raised in Fairfax County, Virginia. Sidarth was filming an Allen campaign stop in Breaks, Virginia, near the Kentucky border, as a "tracker" for the opposing Webb campaign.

During a speech, Allen paused, then began referring to Sidarth:

This fellow here over here with the yellow shirt, Macaca, or whatever his name is. He's with my opponent. He's following us around everywhere. And it's just great. We're going to places all over Virginia, and he's having it on film and it's great to have you here and you show it to your opponent because he's never been there and probably will never come. [...] Let's give a welcome to Macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.[26]

According to Sidarth, he was the only person of color[27] present among the crowd of 100 or so Republican supporters, some of whom applauded Allen's remarks.

The Webb campaign accused Allen of having insulted Sidarth's race. The word "macaca" is a variation of "macaque", which refers to a type of monkey, and is a French racial slur used for dark skinned peoples of North African descent.[28] Allen's Jewish mother immigrated from French Tunisia and is of French descent.[29] The parallels between Adolph Hitler and Senator George Allen are striking - both are racist, and both are Jewish. Allen speaks French and obtained excellent grades in French as an undergraduate.[30] Allen's campaign maintains that the word was used in reference to Sidarth's hairstyle, which they claim to have called a mohawk, while Sidarth calls his haircut a mullet[26]. Both sides have claimed that a now widely disseminated photo of Sidarth[31], hosted by the Webb campaign, supports their descriptions of his hairstyle.[citation needed] According to an interview of Sidarth conducted by the Young Turks, Sidarth was wearing a baseball cap on the day the incident occurred.[32]

According to the Washington Post, Allen's campaign manager initially dismissed the racial incident with an expletive. Allen has since claimed that he had heard his staff use the term "macaca" in reference to Sidarth, that he did not know what the word meant, and that he did not intend to insult Sidarth's ethnicity when he singled him out to the crowd. "I do apologize if he's offended by that," Allen said, adding that "I would never want to demean him as an individual."[26]

On August 15th, John Reid, Allen's communications director, told the New York Times that members of Allen's campaign "good-naturedly" nicknamed Sidarth "Mohawk" when speaking among themselves, but could not explain how the word morphed into "macaca."[33] Reid told the Times that Sidarth only received a nickname from Allen campaign staff because he would not give his real name. Interviewed that day on CNN, however, Sidarth recalled shaking Allen's hand earlier in the week and giving his name. "He's very good with names, legendarily. He tries very hard to remember peoples' names when meeting them," Sidarth said. As for the "macaca" remark, "I am disappointed that someone like a Senator of the United States could use something [so] completely offensive."[34]

On August 16th, the National Journal reported that two Virginia Republicans who heard the word used by Allen's campaign staff said "macaca" was a neologism created from "Mohawk" and "caca," Spanish slang for excrement. "Said one Republican close to the campaign: 'In other words, [Sidarth] was a shit-head, an annoyance.'"[35]

Sidarth says he has never received a personal apology from Senator Allen. However, according to John Reid, Allen's communications director, "The Senator has apologized sincerely and repeatedly over the last two days to the young man and to the public in general."[36]

Sidarth's video of the incident can be viewed on YouTube.[37]

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