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    November 10, 2006

    A wedge turns into a wedgie?

    Posted by: Chris

    If "Man Bites Dog" is the kind of reversal that turns an ordinary canine-human encounter into front-page news, then "My Dogma Got Run Over By My Karma" should have the same ironic-twist, headline-grabbing effect. That may be exactly what happened George Allen on Tuesday.

    Georgeallen A once-moderate Republican who backed hate crime laws that included "sexual orientation," and opposed as unnecessary a federal marriage amendment, Allen decided to run to the right for his '06 re-election — not because the race was expected to be close so much as he wanted to warm up social conservatives who will be influential in the GOP presidential primaries of 2008. So despite a large coterie of longtime gay staffers, Allen saddled up his horse and galloped hard to the right.

    He reversed himself on hate crimes and a federal marriage amendment and began stumping on behalf of Virginia's uniquely cruel ballot measure on gay marriage. The Marshall-Newman Amendment wrote into Thomas Jefferson's state constitution a ban on not just marriage for same-sex couples, but civil unions, domestic partnerships and any and all other recognition for unmarried couples. The ban is so broadly written that it even calls into question private contracts entered into by unmarried couples, gay and straight.

    The amendment passed but rather than wedge the gay issue to a strong re-election and a White House run, Allen may have given himself a career-ending wedgie. The Falls Church News Press reports:

    An analysis of the voting pattern Tuesday in Virginia suggests that the so-called “marriage amendment” on the ballot as Question 1 might have cost U.S. Senator George Allen the election. If true, it would mark an ironic twist, the backfiring of an effort Republicans hoped would spur a stronger turnout for their incumbent. It would also be consolation for opponents to the Constitutional ban on gay marriage, which passed by a 57% to 43% margin statewide.

    It seems the well-funded effort to block the marriage amendment, though ultimately unsuccessful, did spur a lot more progressive voters to the polls than normal in Northern Virginia and the state's university towns:

    In Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia, the “No” vote on Question 1 prevailed with 77% of the total, the highest percentage in the state. University towns of Lexington, Williamsburg and Fredericksburg also voted against the measure, indicating a trend among younger voters statewide.

    In Northern Virginia, the “No” votes prevailed by 73.81% in Arlington, 70.5% in Alexandria, 69.17% in the City of Falls Church, 54.17% in Fairfax County and 52.91% in Fairfax City. They also prevailed in Norfolk, Richmond and Petersburg.

    Since Allen lost by less than 8,000 votes those additional progressive voters, turned out by a $1 million lobby against the gay marriage amendment, most likely provided more than opposition to unseat Allen.

    The even bigger irony, of course, is that Allen's loss in Virginia cost the Republicans control of the Senate, meaning now Karl Rove and George W. Bush will ultimately pay the price for the wedge that backfired into a wedgie.




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