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June 26, 2007



Avoiding being macaca'd is easy:

1) Always smile for the camera
2) Avoid slang you don't understand well.
3) Should 1) and 2) fail, get your staff to tell the *same* cover story.

As always, it's the botched response, ("cover-up"), not the verbal slip, that causes the trouble.

Allen could have squashed the "macaca" meme in the first 24 hours by sticking to consistent story that reinforced his campaign. My suggestion: "My mother used "Macaca" for people who annoyed her. Including, some days, my father. As "macaca" is not a word one hears much in America I did not know it had other meanings. I apologize to the young man and to the good people of Virgina for this honest mistake." Then, stick to the story, and, voila, this "slip" becomes a frame to reinforce that Allen is a loyal family man who listened to his mother and who, by the way, is George Allen's son -- a meme any politico hunting for votes in Northern Virginia would be wise to reinforce.

If you don't believe me, go back and look at the posts on DailyKos during the first 24 hours. Lots of Kossacks -- not exactly an Allen-friendly bunch -- could not figure out if "Macaca" was an epithet, and if it was, what it meant. But the Allen campaign's shifting story convinced a lot of people who were simply baffled by the initial youTube video that "macaca" was not a seemly word for political discourse, costing Allen the chance to get his own message out.

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