The question is not whether or not Republican Senators George Allen and Conrad Burns are racist. That’s a given. What is a surprise is that it took people so long to find out.
“I knew George Allen when he was governor of Virginia,” says Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, who worked with Allen while Governor of Vermont. “He was clearly not suited for the job.”
Anyone exposed to Allen for any length of time knows the Virginian, who openly displays the Confederate Battle Flag in his office, is a stereotypical white southern racist. At high-dollar private whites-only fundraisers in Virginia homes he calls Afro-Americans “niggers” and likes to tell racist jokes.
“I quit because I couldn’t stand his blatant racism,” says a former campaign staffer who asked not to be identified. “He’s a bigot, through and through.”
Allen added to his portfolio of racism recently when he slurred S.R. Sidarth, a native-born Virginian of Indian descent by calling him “macaca,” which can mean “monkey” or even “shithead” to those familiar with insults to people of color. Sidarth, a volunteer campaign worker for opponent Jim Webb, former Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan, is entering his senior year at the University of Virginia.
“This fellow here, over here with the yellow shirt, macaca, or whatever his name is. He’s with my opponent,” Allen said, “Let’s give a welcome to macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.”
Actually, Sidarth should be “welcoming” Allen to Virginia. Sidarth was born in the Old Dominion. Allen was born in Los Angeles and, unlike Sidarth, is not a native Virignian.
Allen’s obvious racism doesn’t faze President George W. Bush who headlined a private, closed-door whites-only fundraiser for the Virignia Senator Wednesday night.
Not surprisingly, Allen’s Republican racist cronies in Virginia jumped to his defense.
Salem Virginia-based Morgan Griffith, Majority Leader of the Virginia House of Delegates, claimed it all “just politics.”
“Not many people in southwest Virginia would think it is derogatory,” Griffith said. “I didn’t have a clue what it meant, and I doubt Allen did, either.”
In other words, Southwestern Virginia Republicans, Griffith says, are clueless as well as racist.
But racism is not limited to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwestern Virginia. You find it in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, home to another bigot, GOP Senator Conrad Burns.
In 1999, he referred to Arabs as “rag heads.” He also likes to tell racist jokes and has been caught calling blacks “niggers” more than once. Recently, he got into trouble again for referring to his house painter, Hugo Reyes, as a “little Guatemalan” and suggested he was an illegal immigrant. Reyes, it turns out, is a naturalized American citizen and owns the painting company that is working on Burns’ home in Virginia.
“I can self-destruct in one sentence,” Burns once told supporters. “Sometimes in one word.”
Racism is alive and well in the Grand Old Party – the political refuge of other well-known racists like Trent Lott and the late Strom Thurmond.