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Senator Allen Declines Award
Posted by: Jon Henke on Thursday, August 31, 2006

One of the up/down (readers choice) sides of being involved in a campaign is that you get to see the kind of ugly politics that goes on during campaign season. For example...

The Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund had elected to give Senator Allen the Thurgood Marshall Award in recognition of his central role in introducing and passing the “Minority Serving Institution Digital and Wireless Technology Opportunity Act”, which helped historically black colleges with their telecommunications infrastructure. When the bill was introduced, Marie McDemmond, president of Norfolk State University, said she wanted to “ensure that the [NSU students] are achieving with excellence” and that they have “the opportunity to be as competitively qualified as any other college educated student. . .regardless of their heritage or socio-economic status”; the bill “sponsored by Senator Allen and Congressman Forbes provide[s] funding to achieve this goal”, McDemmond said.

This wasn’t just any bill for Senator Allen. He introduced the bill and spent multiple years getting it through Congress. This was a project for which Senator Allen worked hard. The Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund obviously recognized that contribution and so they decided to give Senator Allen the Thurgood Marshall Award.

That is how things are supposed to work: cooperation, results. Unfortunately, it’s campaign season, and the Democrats don't see it that way. (see Shaun Kenney for details on that)

When confronted with the prospect of Senator Allen getting an award for the actual work he's done in "support of public Historically Black Colleges and Universities", Democrats took political hostages. A quick pressure campaign was mounted culminating in threats to withhold donations. Not to withhold donations to Senator withhold donations to the schools.

Rather than allow the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund to recognize Senator Allen’s support for historically black colleges, critics used school funding to play blackmail. And rather than let the students be held hostage in order to score Democratic political points, Senator Allen has decided to decline the award. Senator Allen’s statement:
“While I am very honored to have been chosen to receive this prestigious award it has come to my attention that there are some during this election year who plan to exploit my selection and do harm to the fundraising efforts of the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund. I believe in this program and in the importance of our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities to educate the next generation of American entrepreneurs, teachers, engineers, chemists, technicians and leaders. I regret that there are those who would put their personal or political dislike of me ahead of the needs of deserving students and I do not want to be the cause of any controversy which could in any way harm the efforts to help these young people. For that reason I have decided to decline the award with a true thank you to those who chose to honor me and with the promise that I will continue to be a leader for America’s HBCUs. I hope this action will demonstrate my sincere commitment to our common goal of making America a land of opportunity for all of her citizens regardless of their race, ethnicity or gender.”
If it wasn't campaign season, this would just be a pleasant honor for Senator Allen's considerable real-world support. But it's campaign season, so college kids were held hostage by Democrats in order to score political points.

Jon Henke is the Netroots Coordinator for the George Allen Senate campaign.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Who was held hostage? I am tired of these stupid awards anyway. Kudos to him for turning it down and kudos to them for not offering it. Why should he get an award? He passed a bill with my money so that he could get some award? How is that libertarian? I looked at the press releases you list but I fail to see anything libertarian about that bill. It looks like to me that he pushed a bill that may hurt private access providers, but there is certainly nothing particularly "Jeffersonian" about that bill.

You should not have continued the "Jeffersonian" reference. I have read Jefferson; I have studied Jefferson; I have visited his home; how dare you besmirch Jefferson’s name and vision by linking it to some two-bit political hack.
Written By: william
URL: http://
For a Jefferson afficianado, you seem very unfamiliar with the man. Jefferson was intimately interested in supporting a system of public education, especially at the higher levels.
"I have indeed two great measures at heart, without which no republic can maintain itself in strength: 1. That of general education, to enable every man to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom. 2. To divide every county into hundreds, of such size that all the children of each will be within reach of a central school in it." —Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1810. ME 12:393

"Education is here placed among the articles of public care, not that it would be proposed to take its ordinary branches out of the hands of private enterprise, which manages so much better all the concerns to which it is equal; but a public institution can alone supply those sciences which, though rarely called for, are yet necessary to complete the circle, all the parts of which contribute to the improvement of the country, and some of them to its preservation." —Thomas Jefferson: 6th Annual Message, 1806. ME 3:423
Etc, etc.
Written By: Jon Henke
It’s going to be worse than that, if this comes to a general election: Mr. Allen will be painted as a man so racist that he rejected the Thurgood Marshall Award (perhaps to avoid alienating his base).
Written By: sammler
You might have a point william if the democrat’s object was that the bill was insuffiently libertarian. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Allen did some good for minority schools and democrats couldnt stand to see him get recognition for that because it would conflict with their narriative of Allen being racist. But I guess you can let the point whistle by you as you get all faux-outraged at a Jefferson reference.
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
Obviously, I aware that Jefferson was associated with the founding of the University of Virginia and mentioned this in a previous post. Whether that means that Jefferson would have supported the bill in question is suspect and I certainly do not believe that the term "Jeffersonian" is typically used in reference to procuring goodies for local schools. But maybe so. I suppose that one might use the term in advocating for a national health care system as well. Jefferson certainly would have wanted children to have health care, wouldn’t he?

Nevertheless, a perusal of the Allen website where he claims to be a "Jeffersonian" conservative shows a level of vapidity that believes the notion that Allen could be involved in a tough re-election campaign. Jefferson was a man of intellect, with failings but honest about his actions. Allen is a happy-go-lucky conservative who, like many in Congress, is not prepared to fully debate the logic of his positions. The best thing for the nation as a whole is that the "macaca" incident almost certainly has derailed any national prospects for Allen.

I am still waiting to hear why the people’s representatives deserve awards for spending the people’s tax dollars.
Written By: william
URL: http://
I am still waiting to hear why the people’s representatives deserve awards for spending the people’s tax dollars.
Jeez William - Are you saying that because he is a representative of the people he can NOT get an award? Jon seems to indicate that this was a bill Allen worked on for a number of years. That indicates it was something which he felt strongly about. I’m sure his motive was NOT to get the Marshall award. But IF the powers that be who assign the award WANT to assign it to him it should be their right. What is pathetic (both in the action and in that you are ignoring it) is that Democrats ’Marshalled’ (pun intended) their resources to hold the universities at gun point by withholding donations. That’s REALLY nice of them. All looking out for the kids and minorities and stuff... riiiiggghhhhhtttttt.
Written By: meagain
URL: http://

Senator Allen made a shrewd choice in hiring you. Congrats on the new job.
Written By: Anonymous Liberal

I don’t see how the merits of the bill in question has any bearing on how we view the fact that he had to decline an award due to threats aimed at schools. You don’t have to approve of the bill to deplore the campaign against Allen receiving the award.
Jefferson was a man of intellect, with failings but honest about his actions.
A bit off topic, but Jefferson, great as he was, was not honest about his failings. Great man, worthy of emulation, and certainly too high a standard to hold Allen or any politician up against. He was also duplicitous (though, so were his rivals) hypocritical and prone to conspiracy mongering. Why do I point that out? Because if a man as great as Jefferson can have such failings, I am hardly exercised about the failings of Allen or any politician. "Does he move policy closer to what I want than my opponent?" is the main issue.
Written By: Lance
Crow all you want, George Allen has a race problem and no amount of awards can cover it up. And the reason Allen declined to accept the award is that the NAACP was preparing to mount an aggressive protest of this award to Allen. Allen couldn’t take the heat, and chose the path of least resistance by declining the award.

Written By: tj
URL: http://
the reason Allen declined to accept the award is that the NAACP was preparing to mount an aggressive protest of this award to Allen
That is idiotic. More media coverage of his award would’ve been great for him no matter how much the NAACP complained. Allen wouldn’t have had to remind anyone of the award himself if critics kept bringing it up. There was no heat to take.
George Allen has a race problem
I don’t know him personally. But I wonder how you explain his hard work in trying to help these schools? If someone is a horrible racist in his heart, but still helps those he hates, does that mean we should prevent that person from doing the deeds?
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
...and no amount of awards can cover it up
LOL - not even awards given out by those you say he has a problem with!!! You know, I bet this was just another master stroke by the dark lord himself (Rove) - always staying one step ahead of the honest, hardworking, and non-cheating Dems.
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
The fact is; Conservatives generally do not really give much of a damn about race. Or sex. We don’t really care whether you’re black, white, brown or green with bright purple stripes and sky blue spots.

It may get us in trouble - but we righties are not really inclined towards watching our tongues depending on the race of the person we’re addressing ourselves to and neither do we research every single organization that comes our way for some reason or other for past or present racial transgressions.

This is something that is completely alien to Lefties, who are absolutely obsessed with race, sex, sexual orientation, etc. These are people who have boycotted the NHL because the number of black people on the ice is so much less than their proportion of the US population. I know Lefties that have refused to patronize a hotel because they learned someone like Orville Faubus once stayed there.

I believe Allen had no idea what the so-called Council of Conservative Citizens espoused. This was google-free 1996, after all, where not that many organizations had websites. Like any run-of-the-mill Redstate GOP politician, he probably just saw the name of the organization and thought they were some adjunct of the ACU.

And for those who have not been paying attention to this silly tempest in a teacup, or have only gotten the Lefty version of the story, Allen called Sidarth the nickname his staff (which include people of color) had given a man who had been compulsively trailing their candidate with a camera.

Actually, he literally said, "... macaca, or whatever your name is ..."

Immediately afterwards, Lefties ran to their dictionaries, spent days puzzling it out and settled on the story that Allen’s racist French speaking mother taught him the word and that his use of the word is indicative of Allen’s desire to put all non-white people in concentration camps.

Allen probably didn’t spend more than a millisecond thinking about it before he sent the insult Sidarth’s way. If his staff had nicknamed Sidarth "stupido" he would have called him that. The fact is; had Sidarth had been white, Allen would still have called him "macaca".
Written By: Martin A. Knight
URL: http://
Martin, not so fast

green with bright purple stripes and sky blue spots.
I would probably stare and then check my blood alcohol level.
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
I have read Jefferson; I have studied Jefferson; I have visited his home;

"...and I KNOW Thomas Jefferson, and YOU sir are NO Thomas Jefferson." Thought that that needed to be added. No need to thank me.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I suspect that Allen was told either decline the award or we are going to withdraw it and make you look even worse.

They obviously game him an "easier" way out.

George Allen has a race problem. No amount of complaining about the media coverage is going to help that.
Written By: Jim B.
URL: http://
    George Allen has a race problem.

And if you click your heels three times REALLY hard, it might even become true.
Written By: Martin A. Knight
URL: http://
PS: Besides, you Lefties believe every single Republican, including those who are not white, have a "race problem".
Written By: Martin A. Knight
URL: http://
Allen may or may not be a racist. I have no way of knowing and I seriously doubt anyone else here does either.

But there can be no doubt that the man is not the sharpest politician. His "macaca" gaff was not too bright, but it was multiplied ten times by his idiotic (and rapidly "evolving") response to the uproar it created.

Congratulations on the job Jon. But Allen might have better spent his money on better political advisers.
Written By: davebo
URL: http://
I imagine he could make this whole problem go away by denouncing the CCC?

Since those guys are nothing but the Klan without hoods, it shouldn’t be a problem. Heck, they’re not even invited to CPAC meetings anymore because they’re racist.

So, JH: When will Senator Allen denounce the CCC and its values? I mean, someone in the party of Lincoln should have no problems condemning unrehabilitated white supremacists, right?


Bueller? Bueller?
Written By: Geek, Esq.
URL: http://
Hey Jon, can you ask G. Felix if he has a job for me, s’il vous plaît?
Written By: Macaca Boy
URL: http://
Just noticed this:

Jon Henke is the Netroots Coordinator for the George Allen Senate campaign.

Congradulations on the new job and from what I hear about G. Allen’s relapses of foot in mouth disease, you’ll be plenty busy.
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
JON, your link to daily press explaining the nature of the threat to withold funds in no longer working, I want to see what evidence there is of that, as you have been challenged on REDSTATE to provide proof.
I wanted to link to your article for evidence, but the link is not working.
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://
Ah, they use URL’s that have double-dashes. Our blog platform HATES double-dashes. Here’s one that works.

Essentially, "King Salim Khalfani, the state NAACP executive director, was quoted as saying he would try "to make sure this award was rescinded", and both Webb’s ’netroots’ and the Kos Kids mounted an offensive when the story came out, asking various people to, as Khalfani said, make sure it didn’t happen. Here’s how the Post described it:
But Thursday morning, several liberal bloggers caught wind of the fund’s decision, describing it as "a travesty" and a "BAD joke." The sites listed phone numbers of the organization’s senior executives and urged readers to call the numbers to protest.
"A number of their supporters and political activists had indicated they were going to protest the senator receiving the award and withhold donations," Reid said. "The way it was expressed to us was that there was enough negative hoopla that it could damage the bottom line for them."
Allen’s abrupt decision highlights the growing power of the Internet in political campaigns and, in particular, the reach of bloggers, many of whom took an early liking this year to Webb.
Written By: Jon Henke

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