Sen. Allen’s self-inflicted wounds in 2006

I guess I understand the interest in the allegation that Sen. George Allen used a racial epithet while at the University of Virginia. Given other recent and not-so-recent behaviors, his alleged derogatory comments in the early 1970s spark valid character questions. However, I’m not in a rush to damn him over this because I still believe in innocent until proven guilty. Hearsay is not enough. (Someone should ask the Senator how he feels about that.) Also, I don’t need to go into the past to know I won’t be voting for him in November. Consider:

“This story and these allegations are false,” Allen told reporters after a news conference yesterday morning with primarily black pastors in support of the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Virginia.

This Senate race isn’t really about the proposed amendment in Virginia. Ultimately, Sen. Allen doesn’t need the issue because the amendment will pass without his cheerleading. His support is nothing more than predictable pandering to a small-minded minority of his base who want the appearance of values rather than the possession of values. Demonizing one group of citizens to gain a few votes he’ll receive anyway is a much bigger character issue to me than allegedly using racial slurs in the distant past.

People make mistakes. Those mistakes are revealing and relevant, but what he may or may not have said while in college doesn’t interest me much. The valid question is who the candidate is today. Embracing blacks to attack gays is shameless and not the mark of a statesman. Sen. Allen’s support for Virginia’s bigot amendment, among many other departures from his absurdly self-professed libertarianism, demonstrates that he is not worthy of a continued position in the United States Senate.