Herman Cain’s bigotry

WASHINGTON — If we didn’t already know this, here’s what Herman Cain’s regrettable campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has taught us: Black Americans are as capable of ugly and inexplicable prejudices as any other group. Our collective history as victims of ugly and inexplicable prejudices has not made us immune to the virus of bigotry.

So you knew that already? So did I. Still, Cain’s reflexive animosity toward law-abiding Muslim Americans has served as an unnecessary reminder.

In a recent appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Cain told host Chris Wallace that the U.S. Constitution gives Americans the right to ban any mosque they don’t want built nearby. Having spoken out specifically against a planned mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn., Cain seemed oblivious to the fact that the people attempting to build the mosque are also entitled to First Amendment protections.

A retired Georgia businessman turned rightwing talk radio host, Cain had been building to that preposterous and discomfiting moment since he emerged on the campaign trail. In March, while attending a gathering of conservatives in Iowa, a reporter for a progressive blog, ThinkProgress.org, asked him, “Would you be comfortable appointing a Muslim, either in your cabinet or as a federal judge?” He said flatly, according to ThinkProgress, “No, I will not.”

That revealed not only deep-seated prejudices hardly befitting an American president but also an unsettling ignorance about the U.S. Constitution, which tea party supporters like Cain claim to venerate. There is no religious test for political office in this country. The Founding Fathers were attempting to steer their new republic away from the blood-soaked waters of state-endorsed religions.

While he flirted briefly with sounding more reasonable on the issue of Islamic Americans and their religious freedom, he couldn’t resist, in the end, reverting to nutty notions — common enough among paranoid ultra-conservatives — about Sharia law and an Islamic mandate to convert infidels. All the while, he insists that his bigotry bears no comparison to that he experienced as a boy growing up in the Deep South.

Cain was never going to win the Republican nomination. He’s politically inexperienced, ignorant about major policy issues and hardly highly-regarded among the big-time donors he’d need to fund a serious run. He enjoyed a brief boomlet among the GOP’s tea-party-adoring social conservatives, but he’s been eclipsed by their latest star, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Wisc.) It’s hard to see how Cain is more than an after-thought by the time the GOP primaries start next year.

But his candidacy will prove costly. He will leave the campaign trail having tarnished not only his personal reputation but also having contributed to the GOP’s difficulties with voters who are not white Christians. Ironically, Cain has managed to worsen the problems that the party has reaching outside its homogenous ranks.

Indeed, he perfectly illustrates the GOP’s current moment — an ever-shrinking tent of narrow-minded know-nothings who insist that those who come inside pledge absolute fealty to their most ludicrous pronouncements. As a black man, for example, Cain draws enthusiastic applause from rightwing audiences for his insistence that the tea party movement holds not a shred of racism. Perhaps Cain really believes that, but it sounds like the price of admission.

Moreover, he has enthusiastically castigated President Barack Obama, a tactic unlikely to lure many black voters, who take great pride in the nation’s first black president. Cain has not only cozied up to birthers, but he has also questioned Obama’s manhood, telling The New York Times that the president isn’t “a strong black man.”

Cain should have represented a breakthrough for the Republican Party, which hasn’t had much success luring substantive black men and women to its presidential trials. The GOP’s most memorable black presidential contender has been the clownish Alan Keyes.

As the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, Cain has serious business credentials. He should have taken the time to develop a substantive platform so he would have had more to sell than clichés about taxes, disrespect for Obama and Islamophobia.

Instead, he became one more member of the GOP’s lunatic fringe. Oh, well. I guess the fringe needs diversity, too.

462 comments Add your comment

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July 22nd, 2011
3:15 pm

Enter your comments here

Filter

July 22nd, 2011
3:16 pm

D*mn I hate when that happens.

June

July 22nd, 2011
3:17 pm

kurt cobain
draft dodging gw…

is that you dan?

Were you as hard on the CO?

July 22nd, 2011
3:17 pm

Hey CT, the CO wrote about how his grandma was a “typical white person” and the embarrassing Biden complained about Indians at Dunkin’ Donuts. You obviously missed those examples of bigotry. You’re welcome.

pb

July 22nd, 2011
3:17 pm

Surprised at people who agree with Herman Cain and say it is not bigoted and illegal. Would they keep Catholics from building a church or Jews from building a synagogue? ( A lot of people dont’t like Catholics or Jews for whatever reasons, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have their own place of worship.) If some Muslims are breaking the law, they will and should be prosecuted. Doesn’t mean all Muslims are evil.

Also, to Cynthia Tucker: Michelle Bachmann is in Congress from Minnesota, not Wisconsin. ( As some readers have undoubtedly pointed out already.)

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
3:18 pm

bookman parrot

July 22nd, 2011
3:15 pm
To Goldie
July 22nd, 2011
2:42 pm

“Are you thankful for gas that costs almost twice as much? Or is it almost 10% unemployment?
Or some other myriad of fiscal mess?”

No, Goldie is thankful that Barack is here to rob from the rich and give to the poor…and if that wrecks the economy, well so be it.

Tommy Maddox

July 22nd, 2011
3:19 pm

Gee – Muslims came to Norway.

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
3:19 pm

“Would they keep Catholics from building a church or Jews from building a synagogue?”

Why don’t you move to the middle east and try building a church or synagogue.

LMAO

I J Wisenhouser

July 22nd, 2011
3:19 pm

williebkind , the founders had repeated incidents with Islam and one even told Thomas Jefferson it was their goal to have an Islamic world. The US after the revolutionary war was weak as far as a Navy and who was capturing US ships, Muslims and holding US sailors hostage. It is in the book Power, Faith and Fantasy.

In 1786 Thomas Jefferson, then US ambassador to France, and John Adams, then US Ambassador to Britain, met in London with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, the Dey’s ambassador to Britain, in an attempt to negotiate a peace treaty based on Congress’ vote of funding. To the US Congress these two future Presidents later reported the reasons for the Muslims’ hostility towards America, a nation with which they had no previous contacts.

“…that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

dynasty1

July 22nd, 2011
3:19 pm

I do like Herman Cain, but do slightly question his views on Islam. Only to a slight extent though, I emphasize.
Anyway, Cynthia, as a libertarian reading this article, I am less than pleased with the impartiality you show. In spite of the article’s honest premise questioning Cain’s alleged “bigotry”, you manage to lend to it a liberal stigma. After reading the article, it is clear that you approached this topic with a rather impartial stance, due to your obvious pro-Obama liberal nature. As an aspiring journalist, I know that’s a no-no. You should too.

OMG...Really

July 22nd, 2011
3:19 pm

Josey,

Are you proposing that only members of the gop “plan for their own retirement, provide their own health care, educate their own children, feed their own families, pay hteir own mortgages, etc.”

(I left your spelling intact BTW).

If you are or if you are saying that more of the gop so than others why don’t you back that up with some numbers. Feel free to use one of your other self congratulatory aliases.

June

July 22nd, 2011
3:20 pm

Goldie

How is Barry’s Libyan War, drone massacres and increased US Afghan deaths going?

Dave R.

July 22nd, 2011
3:22 pm

I stopped reading this when I hit the title.

The Queen of Bigotry has no gravitas when discussing such a topic on another person.

The Welshman Josey's Inlaw

July 22nd, 2011
3:23 pm

“The Queen of Bigotry has no gravitas when discussing such a topic on another person.”

And the Zapruder film proves that JFK shot first.

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
3:23 pm

OMG—Really…

If democrats do all those things, why do you suppose they want the government to take over on all counts?

Liberals are so funny.

By the way, props to you for taking shots at my typing, but I’m not a stenographer…I have people for that.

GeoffDawg

July 22nd, 2011
3:24 pm

In some respects, you really have to admire Cynthia Tucker. Calling someone else bigoted with no shred of irony whatsoever. That takes talent people.

I J Wisenhouser

July 22nd, 2011
3:24 pm

Cynthia and other fool Democrats know you can’t build a church anywhere it has to go through the process just like a mosque, what makes Muslims special, Democrats hate Christians because they think many identify with being Republican. It was the Democrats that divided the country with slavery, the Republican party did not exist until Democrats refused to end the process of slavery. Like Muslims, Democrats cry about equality but they don’t want dialog they want to oppress and rule like a KING (OBAMA).

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
3:25 pm

“Feel free to use one of your other self congratulatory aliases.”

If you think I’m posting under more than one handle, feel free to back that up with some proof.

williebkind

July 22nd, 2011
3:26 pm

audi 5000

July 22nd, 2011
3:09 pm
Is that worse that a log cabin?

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
3:26 pm

“In some respects, you really have to admire Cynthia Tucker. Calling someone else bigoted with no shred of irony whatsoever. That takes talent people.”

At the risk of being argumentative, it takes a shocking lack of introspection and self-awareness. Talent? Not so much…

Chris

July 22nd, 2011
3:28 pm

Amazing:

The Left has never and will never do anything wrong.
The Right has never and will never do anything right.

An Op Ed piece is supposed to be a statement of how the writer thinks things should be within a framework of OBJECTIVE journalism. CT – This hatchet job is so below what you can do.

Sometimes I just wish the Left Wingnuts (Credo, MoveOn) and the Right Wingnuts (Tea Party) would both take a one way trip to Siberia and let the rest of us work for a common good.

OMG...Really

July 22nd, 2011
3:28 pm

Really. All liberals are the same mind and want the government to take over on all counts.

Really. How did you come to this insight. Once again I posit, got anything to back that up or are you just spouting?

(Oh and BTW, I point out your typing because 1) There is spell check here and 2) (and I’m pointing out the obvious here) many of the posts talking about how awesome you are or agreeing with your every thought have misspellings eerily similar to yours.)

OMG...Really

July 22nd, 2011
3:29 pm

A stenographer???? What are you, a 1940’s business man with his pants under his armpits?

Self Congratulatory Alias

July 22nd, 2011
3:29 pm

I loves me some Clint Eastwood, because he talks to the trees.

Toby

July 22nd, 2011
3:29 pm

Religion is the belief in mythology, and Islam is especially immoral among religions, but so long as those involved are doing so consensually, it should be legal. Cain has some stupid theocratic ideas & is not intellectualy sound enough.

williebkind

July 22nd, 2011
3:30 pm

I wonder what kind of tax breaks or government funding the AJC gets for printing CT’s columns!

Camel Driver

July 22nd, 2011
3:30 pm

Islam is not a Religion it is a Law and if you do not obey and succumb to that Law you are an Infidel. Big difference from any other Religion. Libs have a difficult time or are unwilling to understand that. Most likely Libs would enjoy Sharia Law, eh?

big steve

July 22nd, 2011
3:32 pm

so basically Cynthia is aghast that another black person called our first black president “not a strong black man”…

Truth hurts or what. Pretty sad case of race-baiting journalism on your part… What’s next on yoru part — calling Cain an Uncle Tom since he dared to become an American dream and add “successful CEO in a free market system where he earned everything in his life”?? to his life resume…

1.4 years to go before the Chosen One is bounced out of the White House and goes down in history as the weakest President in history. Pretty frustrating for liberals to realize that CEOs are not hiring anyone for another 1.5 years to stops Obama’s grand tax/spend/redistribute plans… When Iran gives a terrorist a tactical nuke to use on the West in about 10 years — we can all thank Obama’s spineless 4 years — I hope you will note it accordingly when you write about how 5M people got killed because Obama was not a strong black man… Cain has nailed it….

I am sure you dont like a career military combat officer like David West who put his life on the line for his country and now he calls the weasal for what she is…

OMG...Really

July 22nd, 2011
3:32 pm

Josey,

Here’s my proof, hope you understand it….

If I wake in the morning and there is snow on the ground, then it snowed last night.

williebkind

July 22nd, 2011
3:34 pm

So the muslims in many countries want to destroy another race or group of people and that is OK with liberals. I can hear them now, “Sharia law is good to me.”

The Welshman Josey's Inlaw

July 22nd, 2011
3:35 pm

What’s a “weasal”?

williebkind

July 22nd, 2011
3:35 pm

OMG…Really

July 22nd, 2011
3:32 pm
BE Careful Josey, he is pi$$ing down your back and calling it snow.

GeoffDawg

July 22nd, 2011
3:36 pm

“At the risk of being argumentative, it takes a shocking lack of introspection and self-awareness. Talent? Not so much…”

I see your point and if this was a letter to the editor from Joe Blow, I would agree with you. In my opinion, Cynthia Tucker knows exactly what it takes to stir the pot and generate page views. As interest in the ajc wanes, her columns have gotten progressively more outlandish. She’s like many politicians in the true sense – she knows her claims are unsubstantiated but she doesn’t care as her devoted base of the intellectually lazy will ignore inconsistencies and swallow her tripe like they’re working at the Bunny Ranch. It’s just a scam.

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
3:37 pm

“Josey,

Here’s my proof, hope you understand it….

If I wake in the morning and there is snow on the ground, then it snowed last night.”

Here’s my proof…I vote for the party that believes in freedom and the associated personal responsibility. You vote for the party that wants government in complete control of your life, and you’re satisfied to live on whatever pathetic little scraps the government throws your way.

Good luck spinning that.

Imagine that

July 22nd, 2011
3:39 pm

Cynthia should team up with Sharpton on his MSNBC show. A perfect fit indeed for the their target audience.

williebkind

July 22nd, 2011
3:40 pm

Card Game
First player– I will swap you one Herman Cain for twenty Cynthia Tuckers!!

Second player–Hell no! Are you trying to cheat me?

LMAO

July 22nd, 2011
3:41 pm

CT HOW DO YOU STILL HAVE A JOB?

lynnie gal

July 22nd, 2011
3:42 pm

The only serious candidate in the sorry GOP presidential field is Mitt Romney, and he won’t make it in the south. Herman Cain is a total idiot who crusaded against bills that were “too long to be read” because he either doesn’t like to read or can’t read, the latter being more likely.

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
3:43 pm

“BE Careful Josey, he is pi$$ing down your back and calling it snow.”

Liberals are good at mis-leading labels. Like sending people who don’t pay taxes a check and calling it an “Earned Income Tax Credit.”

williebkind

July 22nd, 2011
3:44 pm

lynnie gal

July 22nd, 2011
3:42 pm
Governor Perry is entering the race soon so it wont matter–even for you!

GeoffDawg

July 22nd, 2011
3:45 pm

Wow @ lynnie gal – If Herman Cain was a democrat, would you dare accuse a black man of not being able to read?

Harvey D. Pooka

July 22nd, 2011
3:45 pm

Wow, I am stunned. Ms. Tucker actually said something that makes sense. (It is rare that I take anything she says as being accurate, yet berating someone else of her own ilk, she actually sounded genuine.)

Zeb

July 22nd, 2011
3:45 pm

I am so sick of certain people playing the race and bigotry cards.
Herman will probably not get nominated that is pretty obvious.
However, the difference is he can articulate his positions on various matters and
does not have to behave like so many other crackpots in this country.
I wish this nation had more men like Herman who would speak their minds
in an organized and respectful manner!!
God bless you and full speed ahead Herman!!!

G. White

July 22nd, 2011
3:45 pm

What a welcomed commentary. This is the first article I can remember Ms. Tucker is not lamenting the plight of the black man!

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
3:45 pm

“Herman Cain is a total idiot ”

A total idiot who has been a successful corporate CEO, as compred to Barack Obama, who has never in his life had a job so far as anyone can prove.

GrammarKing

July 22nd, 2011
3:45 pm

I am disturbed and distressed, though, unfortunately, not at all surprised by the majority of comments on this blog.

First of all – how can you condemn an entire religion, whose followers number in the BILLIONS, by a small majority of extremists? Could I be safe in the assumption that you would all also condemn Christianity since a handful of individuals have committed acts of terror based on their own interpretations of the faith’s teachings (George Tiller, Timothy McVeigh, etc.) ? You probably consider this question blasphemous since it is a condemnation of your own faith, even though it’s based on the same logic.

Secondly, how can so many of you suggest that Muslims are behind the terror attack in Norway today? No news agency, not even Fox News, has suggested (as of 3:40 pm ET) that there is any connection to religious extremists. Jumping to conclusions are we? If you do read the news reports, which might take you out of your comfort zone, Norwegian ploice state that they have the shooter from the second attack in custody and they believe he is responsible for the initial bombing, as well. We’ll have to wait and see what comes out of interrogation.

I am saddened to know that I live in the same city as so many of you.

williebkind

July 22nd, 2011
3:47 pm

GrammarKing

July 22nd, 2011
3:45 pm
You can move to a muslim community–it is a free country!

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
3:48 pm

“how can you condemn an entire religion, whose followers number in the BILLIONS, by a small majority of extremists?”

Because the billions refuse to denounce the extremists, and in fact harbor them in their mosques?

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
3:49 pm

“I am saddened to know that I live in the same city as so many of you.”

Delta is ready when you are.

Sarah Palin

July 22nd, 2011
3:49 pm

I shoot ilk from my helicopter.