Tom Delay was on a talking head show last night or this morning and offered the following assessment: It’s not so much that the Democrats won this election, as that the Republicans lost it. I think it’s an historic moment when I can declare myself to be in agreement with Delay about anything at all, so, this moment is hereby duly commemorated.
This is especially true in Virginia, which looks like it is going to tip the Senate to the Democrats. Here, it’s very clear that Sen. George Allen was not defeated by challenger Jim Webb; he was defeated by Senator George Allen.
Webb was, from my perch across the Potomac, nearly invisible in his own campaign. I’ve got nothing in particular against him, but he’s not all that charismatic a figure. On television he looks nervous, cautious, shifty-eyed, whereas Allen looks much more personable, comfortable in his own skin, a back-slapping good ole boy if there ever was one. But his terminal foot-in-mouth disease seems to have done him in.
Combine he badly timed affinity with the Bush presidency, his evident embarrassment about the long-closely-held secret of his Jewish heritage, and the “Macaca moment” videoclip that got aired on TV as nauseatingly frequently as a HeadOn (apply directly to the forehead!) ad, and all the Webb people had to do was stand aside and watch his campaign implode.
He wasn’t the worst Republican governor Virginia has ever had, nor indeed the worst Senator of either party. But when the tide came in, he was too busy with these things not to get caught in the undertow.