Just today, I read the recent American Spectator cover story on George Allen. It’s not available online (to my knowledge, at least) but here is a salient bit:
Yet Allen’s identification with Jefferson may hit a little too close to home. Like Jefferson, Allen is full of contradictions. His social conservatism sometimes suffers when it conflicts with his libertarian sensibilities. Since his days as a gubernatorial candidate, he has refused to say whether he is pro-life or pro-choice, or whether Roe v. Wade should be overturned. When he uses loaded language like “there should be reasonable moderation of the excesses of abortion,” no matter what he intends, most pro-lifers will hear “safe, rare, and legal.”
It’s often said that the 2008 GOP primary race will come down to a liberal (probably McCain but possibly Guiliani) vs. a conservative (Romney or Allen). And based on the above, I think the choice for who “the conservative” should be is pretty easy. A red state senator who won’t even call himself pro-life? Next, please.
Going along with David’s point below, check this part out, too:
In the end, voters in 2008 may not look so closely at George Allen’s substance. If he succeeds, he’ll owe it to his style. But a February speech before a large conservative crowd suggests a presidential campaign will be a challenge for Allen. As the keynote speaker at the Presidential Banquet of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, where he won the presidential straw poll with 22 percent, Allen let down many attendees. Apparently uncomfortable with such a large crowd, he had difficulty finding his rhythm. And though armed with an opinion and a football metaphor for nearly every conceivable topic, he lacked an overall cause for Americans to rally around. The American Spectator’s John Tabin commented afterward, “If Allen really is going to be the Republican nominee, he had better prepare for crowds that will cut him a lot less slack.”
Allen easily charms small groups in Virginia, while the presidential trail is made up of many events on the scale of CPAC.
Point one: The Spectator is not kidding about the football metaphors. I’ve seen the guy speak twice (CPAC 2006 and the SRLC in Memphis). Football, football, football.
Point two: Look, I supported President Bush’s re-election most sincerely and I still like the guy probably more than 80 percent of Americans. But do we really want another president who, like him, can only sell things one-on-one? Is that how we get the popular support needed to confirm a real conservative majority on the Supreme Court? Even more importantly, is that how we win the war against the jihadists who want to kill us (which, as Vietnam showed and current events are proving, has its most important battleground at home in the court of public opinion)?
Sorry, Senator. To borrow your penchant for describing the world in terms of pigskin, letting quarterback this team sounds like a sure recipe for a three-and-out, if not an interception–not the touchdown we need.