All of that is by way of background for those of readers and spambots who do not obssessively follow American politics.The point I wanted to make came from John McWhorter's defence of Allen, related by publius here:
Imagine for a moment that Allen actually knew that a "macaque" is a kind of monkey, or that in French the term is sometimes used as an insult for North Africans (Allen denied having known about either). Who, then, believes that Allen would use the slur against an opposition campaigner aiming a camera straight at him?
The logic, as I understand it is as follows:
-If P said X, then P would be criticized for violating some public norm.
-P therefore could not have said X since it would result in public criticism, which would reduce P's electability.
-Therefore, public criticism is unjustified.
The second premise depends on the idea that politicians, even in moments of stress, always act rationally. It also assumes that everything blameworthy will, in fact, be blamed. Since these are unsuound assumptions, the argument is a stupid one. This could actually be used as a warning about rational choice models, or just about the fact that in the public discourse today, someone will defend anything.
But more interesting is that the argument undermines itself to the extent that it is believed. McWhorter's Fallacy logically compels the conclusion that no politicians will ever say antyhing blameworthy. If people accept McWhorter's Fallacy, then, of course, they won't criticize politicians for what they say. But if that is true, then rational politicians, fearing no criticism and seeking the psychic satsifaction of insulting people will start saying blameworthy things again.
In other words, racial slurs by politicians become frequency-dependent strategies. If they are uncommon enough, they will not be criticized (on the assumption that their use is too irrational to occur). But then they will become a cheap way of letting loose. But if too many politicians start employing this method of stress relief, the McWhorter reasoning loses its hold and politicians start being criticized for being boors and bigots again.
It would then follow that there is a slur ESS. Anyone thinking of modelling this should give me credit. I realize it might be a bit embarrassing to suggest your idea came from an anonymous fellow on the Internet named "Pithlord", so I suggest P. Lord of the Institute for Pith and Substance. You're welcome.