Allen's Juggling Act
The New York Times has a profile today of our ubiquitous Senator George Allen. The Times questions whether Allen will be able to balance the demands of a budding Presidential campaign while also focusing on what could be a challenging re-election bid.
The Times observes that "even as [Allen] laments his day job, he is dancing a delicate two-step, asking Virginians to return him to it." Yet it is doubtful that Allen's frustration with his role as a Senator would prove an impediment to his re-election. In fact, if the present attitude towards incumbents persists through election day, Allen's anti-establishment streak and reform-minded proposals may aid his cause. To be sure, anyone who knows Allen would likely have guessed that the formality and proceduralism of the Senate would chafe his cowboy style.
The Times article only focuses on the possible match-up with James Webb as being a possible problem for Allen, conveniently ignoring the Democratic primary that must take place before Allen knows who his opponent will be. I seriously doubt that Harris Miller is going to roll over and let Webb take the nomination without a fight. That contest could be pretty bruising considering Webb's Republican ties and Miller financial advantage.
Of course, the Times includes the obligatory comments about Allen's love of football and eagerly draws the comparisons between Allen and President Bush. Further, the article tries to sow seeds of doubt about Allen's positions, first bringing up questions about his commitment to conservative principles and then painting him as too conservative. And yes, no profile of Senator Allen would be complete without someone calling into question his intelligence.
Ultimately, I doubt very much that Allen's Presidential aspirations will have much effect on his Senate election. Senator Allen loves a fight, and regardless of whether his opponent is Webb or Miller, he'll be ready.