George Allen, presidential candidate?

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When this fall campaign got underway, Virginia Sen. George Allen was considered two things–a shoo-in, and a very high-level Republican presidential contender in 2008. Now, he is neither–and if the way he has handled his campaign recently is any indication, he could be out of politics altogether.

First, he got caught by–the latest campaign mechanism used by operatives to either promote or destroy candidates. But it's not as if he got caught chewing with his mouth open while someone secretly filmed him. Nah, he was filmed by a student working for his Democratic opponent: an Indian-American student, who was pointing the camera at him while he called the young man "macaca," whatever that means. Some say it's a racial slur. Whatever it is, it's dumb. And now it's everywhere.

Then came the Jewish question, which he blew again–calling the notion that he was Jewish "casting aspersions." Really? Some of us in the Jewish faith might take offense at that, too. Then he tried to make a joke of it, saying that he had eaten a ham sandwich. Now that's clever.

Now, the latest–and this is completely unproven. Allen denounced as "ludicrously false" claims made against him by a fellow University of Virginia football player that Allen used the "N" word, and that he once stuffed the severed head of a deer into the oversize mailbox of a black family's home. Allen calls the stories "completely false," and they may well be. But the question now out there is whether Republicans are willing to take a chance.

It's been tough for Allen–with much of the damage self-inflicted. How he handles himself from this moment on will determine whether he ever gets a shot at the brass ring. And it's not looking good.