Judging by how Republicans focus their attention, you would never know that we're having the bloodiest month of 2006, in a civil war for which the GOP leadership can do nothing but get us in deeper and make us profoundly less safe. You wouldn't have a clue that North Korea has joined the nuke-of-the-month club or that we've gone from being respected throughout the world when we had a real president (Bill Clinton) to being arguably the most despised nation on the planet since the Republicans took over.
And you damn sure would never know that the new century has seen us with a net loss of high-paying jobs, the biggest budget deficit in U.S. history, 46 million of our citizens with no health insurance and a federal minimum wage that continues to keep Americans working 40 to 50 hours a week below the poverty line.
But what is Virginia Senator George Felix Allen focusing on when he's not wallpapering his den with confederate flags or spitting out racial slurs? He's fighting off the political challenge of his career from Democrat Jim Webb by harping on.... Same-sex marriage, of course.
Granted, Virginia is one of eight states voting on Constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage next week, but the fact is, Virginia's state initiative has nothing to do with national issues of concern to a United States Senator and everything to do with Allen's pathetic and struggling campaign pushing a wedge issue to get right-wing bigots to the polls.
And, boy, is Allen all over this one. In just four days last week, Allen's campaign issued not one, not two, but five press releases exploiting the subject of gay marriage. More accurately, the statements were designed to persuade Virginians into thinking that, if Jim Webb is elected to Allen's Senate seat, the majority of heterosexual couples in the state will careen irreversibly toward divorce.
"I have long believed that the family is the most important institution in all of our society. It is more important than our State and local governments, the Governor, the Congress, or even the President," one release announced Allen as saying during a rally at a church last week. "I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman - and on this issue, the will of the people is clear."
Allen's five, gay-marriage statements issued between Wednesday and Saturday of last week focused mainly on the donations Webb has indirectly received from Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton -- imagine how much those names will scare some backwoods types -- and lamenting the New Jersey Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage.
"New Jersey's recent court ruling again emphasizes the need to ensure passage of Virginia's proposed marriage amendment," one release quotes State Senator Mark Obenshain as saying in support of Allen. "On this crucial issue, George Allen's opponent is not aligned with Virginians and our mainstream values. I stand with George Allen because he is willing to fight to preserve traditional marriage."
I can't help but wonder what Virginia's "mainstream values," as defined by the likes of Obenshain and Allen, say about thousands of young Americans killed in a war based on lies or a Republican U.S. Senator who also happens to be a proven racist.
But the Allen camp really saves its bile for the attempts to make Webb look like the second coming of Karl Marx and ties him as closely as possible to those Massachusetts bogeymen, Kennedy and Kerry.
"Earlier this year, Senators Kennedy and Kerry voted against the federal marriage amendment," says one statement. "Now Kennedy and Kerry have dug into their pockets and donated $1 million to the DSCC, which, as of today, had already spent $1.72 million in Virginia."
"He [Webb] wants to assure his liberal allies in Washington DC who are pouring millions of dollars of attack ads into Virginia that he will not protect the institution of marriage in Virginia."
And Allen's campaign manager, Dick Wadhams, made it really clear that the most constructive debate Virginians should hear in the closing days of the 2006 Senatorial contest is the bashing of two Senators from a state 400 miles away.
"Kennedy and Kerry are emblematic of the Democrats' efforts to appoint liberal judges who will subvert the will of the people and impose their elitist views on the people of this country," said Wadhams. "The D.C. Democrats know what they are paying for when they donate to Democrats like Jim Webb."
But here's the best part from Wadhams: "We'd be thrilled if Webb decides to take his Massachusetts buddies, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry on a statewide tour with him across Virginia the next couple weeks. But it's probably more likely we'll see them all windsurfing in Cape Cod or dining in Martha's Vineyard."
Now there's a campaign to make every man, woman and child in Virginia proud.
It's just too bad we don't have a few more weeks until election day.You see, Webb is against a Constitutional amendment banning flag-burning and the last time the Allen campaign was stupid enough to broach this subject, they got pummeled with this from Webb's team:
"George Felix Allen Jr. and his bush-league lapdog, Dick Wadhams, have not earned the right to challenge Jim Webb's position on free speech and flag burning. Jim Webb served and fought for our flag and what it stands for, while George Felix Allen Jr. chose to cut and run. When he and his disrespectful campaign puppets attack Jim Webb they are attacking every man and woman who served. Their comments are nothing more than weak-kneed attacks by cowards.
"While Jim Webb and others of George Felix Allen Jr.'s generation were fighting for our freedoms and for our symbols of freedom in Vietnam, George Felix Allen Jr. was playing cowboy at a dude ranch in Nevada. People who live in glass dude ranches should not question the patriotism of real soldiers who fought and bled for this country on a real battlefield."
I guess for a Chickenhawk like Allen, it's much easier to stick with racial slurs and sowing bigotry against gay Americans in the days before November 7 than to take on a highly-decorated, former Marine.
Let's hope that the majority of Virginians realize that, no matter who George Felix Allen is hating today, a coward is still a coward -- and that can't possibly be one of their "values."
You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.
Update: You can find links to all five of Allen's press releases exploiting the subject of gay marriage last week at my web site.