All that was missing was the theme music from Deliverance. Not content to condemn George Allen for raising the issue of Jim Webb's racy writing, Chris Matthews decided on this evening's Hardball to slur the entire Commonwealth of Virginia south of the DC suburbs.
Interviewing senior Webb campaign advisor Steve Jarding [Chris did indicate that he had unsuccessfully tried to get an Allen representative on the show], Matthews had this to say:
"Not to take sides but they've had this material since the day Jim Webb announced, and they've chosen to use it now with the risk that it implies, because everybody in Northern Virginia, in this area of the country, reads books, they think."
Although I wouldn' characterize it as a "slur," Matthews is clearly implying that the transplanted members of the overclass who live in the vicinity of Washington, D.C. read more than the average Virginian. For what its worth, I assume he is wrong. Doubtless, these kind of people read books in college and buy more books today -- doorstop biographies of FDR, Lincoln and Churchill -- but actually read them? Yeah, right.
But it is Allen supporters who are clearly hoping that Virginians are so dumb as to be unable to tell fantasy from reality or fiction from nonfiction or Southeast Asia from the United States. I don't know if this slimy little episode will make a difference, but George Allen is clearly the loser. He has repeatedly made an an ass of himself and has now stooped to digging up dirty passages from his opponents writing. He may win another term in the Senate that he doesn't really want; but he will never, ever be president -- which he really, really wants.