The comparisons are being made between the flap over Bob McDonnell’s thesis and George Allen’s infamous gaffe that opened the era of YouTube politics. The comparisons to the 2006 Senate election are apt – but not in the obvious way.
Allen’s “macaca moment” was a key reason he lost his Senate seat, but it didn’t happen in a vacuum. Opponents had long alleged that Allen was a closeted racist and Confederate sympathizer. His verbal gaffe gave those opponents visual evidence – and another chance to dredge up those accusations. Macaca wasn’t the issue, it was just the event that exposed a major issue.
Through “Thesisgate” the Deeds campaign is seeking to re-define McDonnell by exposing old writings which suggest his views are out of line with the electorate. In the 2006 race, the obvious parallel actually came later on, when desperate Allen campaign blasted eventual victor Jim Webb for novels which he had written depicting graphic and bizarre scenes.