Back in 1993 when Sen. George Allen (R) was running for Virginia governor, he took a break from a swank fundraising luncheon to kibitz with reporters. "The soup has fritters in it!" he complained in the same tone he once used to scold someone who handed him what he called "Pair-ee-yay" water on a campaign flight.
But had this California-bred lawyer really never seen a matzo ball? Though Allen had been known to confuse tofu and sushi, the scribes had their suspicions. Whether he was sly or simply unschooled has been a perpetual question about this son of a famous father who was coastal born and raised in privilege, then reinvented himself with cowboy boots and down-home talk on his way to becoming a governor and Washington politician.
Indeed, the uncanny echoes of George W. Bush's career have fueled the hopes of Allen backers that he would be Bush's presidential heir. But as Bush's popularity has slumped, Allen's 2008 outlook has dimmed. Worse, last week's bizarre Allen insult of a rival's young campaign aide has revived old questions about his sensitivity, temper and smarts. Some high-level Republicans warn that if he's not careful, he may wind up branded as Bush without the brains.
Hey, I warned ya!