The Corner

Felix Macacawitz

I really don’t want to be on Jewish Patrol here in the Corner, but does anybody agree with me that George Allen’s response yesterday to a reporter asking him whether his grandfather Felix had been born Jewish was just…weird? Through body language and tone, Allen acted as though the question were absolutely beyond the bounds of all rational discourse. First, let me grant that the reporter in question, Peggy Fox from Washington’s Channel 9, did ask the question in a bizarrely hostile manner — which was the understandable cause of booing from the crowd — and that it’s beyond ludicrous to ask a question about a grandparent’s faith in the middle of a substantive debate. It doesn’t matter a whit whether Allen’s grandfather was or was not Jewish. Still, Allen said angrily, “I hope you’re not bringing my mother into this” before lecturing Fox on how America gave people the right to religious freedom and that Thomas Jefferson believed in religious freedom and so on. It’s not like Fox asked whether Allen’s grandfather had been a member of the Nazi party, or had owned slaves, or been in prison, or something. What’s more, Allen himself had made reference to his grandfather’s imprisonment during World War II. Anyway, seems to me that what might appear at first to be one of those gotcha moments delivered by a candidate to a hostile reporter is, on second glance, just off somehow.

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