The piling on continued with an accusation by the political action committee VoteVets.org that Allen voted against a bill to provide advanced body armor for American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. VoteVets.org spent nearly $45,000 for a television commercial that claims Allen voted for body armor that could be easily pierced. VoteVets.org's board of advisers includes 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark and former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey. The Web site factcheck.org looked into the substance of the TV commercial and found none. As reported in The Washington Examiner recently, this nonpartisan Web site is associated with the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The organization says the commercial overstates the body armor problem and that Allen did not vote against money for the vests.
The strategy by Allen's opponents is to get him off-message about the war, taxes, economic opportunity and a host of other issues and to sow doubt among undecided voters as to his character. Here is a man who grew up in a football family with a father who coached the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins, two teams with many black players. Allen's father earned the loyalty of his players - black and white. He was a leader and a motivator of men. If Allen, the father, were a bigot, or allowed his son to be one, he could not lead men on the football field or enjoy the admiration of black and white fans.
This is politics at its dirtiest and meanest. People wondering why more good men and women don't run for office have their answer in this piling on of George Allen. If this were a football game, the Democratic team would be penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct and Allen would have an automatic first down. But this is politics and it's easier to wipe off the mud from a hard tackle than it is to clean yourself up after being struck by political mudballs.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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