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

OMG...Really

July 22nd, 2011
3:49 pm

OK, here’s my spinning.

First, how do you know my party affiliation? Oh yeah, I disagree with you so therefore I must be a democrat. I get it. Simple minded syllogism, yet invalid.

Second, so I’m right, You believe that the gop is the only party that believes in freedom and personal responsibility. Democrats all believe, in some sort of weird mass mind that government should take control of their lives and live only off of the government.

Actually, if you notice, I don’t have to spin on that. I only have to summarize what you said to make evident your silly simplistic thought process.

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
3:50 pm

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

Because of their views towards women, which I outlined in a previous post?

Chaps

July 22nd, 2011
3:50 pm

The First Amendment is important but as Justice Jackson said years ago, “The Constitution is not a suicide pact.” Islam wants to destroy America. Religious freedom does not require that we assist them.

williebkind

July 22nd, 2011
3:50 pm

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
3:48 pm
Those few extremists always have modern weapons, ingenius bombs, and a volunteer to blow him/herself up on demand. Yeah, having a billion of those does scare the health out of me.

williebkind

July 22nd, 2011
3:51 pm

Chaps

July 22nd, 2011
3:50 pm
Excellent point.

GeoffDawg

July 22nd, 2011
3:52 pm

Yes, GrammarKing…logic. Would you mind coming up some more timely examples of Christian terrorism? Perhaps you’d like to argue against the Crusades? Speaking of logic, if you look at acts of terrorism per capita based on religious motivations, which group do you think would take the brass ring? By a country mile?

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
3:52 pm

“Actually, if you notice, I don’t have to spin on that. I only have to summarize what you said to make evident your silly simplistic thought process.”

And yet, again, my simple mind can plan for my own retirement, health care, support of family, etc. while you need government to do it for you.

You are remarkably adept at missing simple points. And I thought liberals were all about nuance?

GeoffDawg

July 22nd, 2011
3:53 pm

And yes, we’re sad that you live in this city with us as well. It’s that middle ground that let’s us build bridges.

williebkind

July 22nd, 2011
3:54 pm

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

That reminds me of a movie when someone asked a soldier how can you shoot women and children? He replied, “You got lead them a little bit more!”

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
3:54 pm

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

Because their koran desribes any non-muslim as an infidel who is no better than a pig, and exhorts them to lie and cheat infidels, with the ultimate goal of killing them all?

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
3:56 pm

Hey OMG…Really…

If I’m wrong about your political affiliation, why don’t you tell us who you voted for for president in 2008, and who you plan to vote for in 2012?

Why don’t you tell us if you support socialized health care?

Why don’t you tell us if you support re-distribution of wealth?

This ought to be fun….

Matt the Brave

July 22nd, 2011
3:56 pm

While I agree in principle with your writing in this article, can you please help your cause by not throwing hate speech into all of your columns? Even when I don’t agree with Democrats, I don’t call them liberal communist bed-wetters. It’s uncouth and I expect more from someone who makes such good points.

dre

July 22nd, 2011
3:56 pm

“law-abiding Muslim Americans” – you can’t be law-abiding, at the same time willing to blow yourself up, taking masses of innocents with you.

WOODSTOCK MIKE

July 22nd, 2011
3:56 pm

Muslim opens fire on children at a youth camp in the name of Islam… Apparently there were jokes made about the prophet Muhammed.

And why does Herman Cain have concerns about this religion?

Mike

July 22nd, 2011
3:57 pm

Cain sounds pretty good to me. Looks like the real Bigot is you, Cynthia Tucker.

OMG...Really

July 22nd, 2011
3:57 pm

You’re pretty amazing if you really believe that members of your party are the only ones in the whole country able to plan for retirement, health care and who can support their family. It’s beyond simple minded. It borders on delusion on a grand scale.

There’s your shovel Josey, keep digging.

Get It Right

July 22nd, 2011
3:58 pm

CT, long before Herman Cain appeared on the scene, you showed all of us how shallow and bigoted a “victum of predujudices” could be.

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
3:58 pm

“Muslim opens fire on children at a youth camp in the name of Islam… Apparently there were jokes made about the prophet Muhammed.”

Should be interesting to see what would happen if liberals started hating on muslims the way they hate on Christians…

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
3:59 pm

“There’s your shovel Josey, keep digging.”

I see you decided to dodge my direct questions to you. Thanks for proving my point(s).

GrammarKing

July 22nd, 2011
4:00 pm

1. A number of muslims do vociferously condemn the terroristic actions of muslim extremists.
2. A number of outspoken muslim critics fight for the rights of women. Have you read the articles of the brave women in Saudi Arabia openly flout laws meant to keep them down?
3. Islam, as a religion, is roughly 800 years younger than Christianity. It is struggling to grow into our modern world, just as Christianity did at this point in its own religious history. What’s happened in the past 800 years of Christianity? Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion of other Christian sects from Europe, etc.
4. There are Christians, Hindus, Muslims and many other religions fighting bloody battles around the world in the name of their religion. Maybe the fact that everyone believes their religion to be “The One True Religion” is what is driving so much of this hatred.

I understand thinking outside your little box might be difficult.

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
4:01 pm

“You’re pretty amazing if you really believe that members of your party are the only ones in the whole country able to plan for retirement, health care and who can support their family.”

We’re not the only ones ABLE, everyone is able, but we’re the only ones WILLING.

As usual, you completely miss a very simple point.

CaptainDave

July 22nd, 2011
4:01 pm

“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.”

Uh, have you checked the polls lately, Cynthia? Independents are running to – not from – the GOP. Why do you think that is happening? Time for a reality check.

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
4:02 pm

“3. Islam, as a religion, is roughly 800 years younger than Christianity. It is struggling to grow into our modern world, just as Christianity did at this point in its own religious history. ”

Maybe they should get back with us in 800 years.

LOL

July 22nd, 2011
4:03 pm

I have just 2 words for you Cynthia Tucker; Oslo, Norway.

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
4:04 pm

“an ever-shrinking tent of narrow-minded know-nothings ”

Classic liberalism…”I wish it were so, therefor it is so.”

Ad Naseum

July 22nd, 2011
4:04 pm

“He’s politically inexperienced, ignorant about major policy issues”

Obama?

I would vote once for Cain (R) just because he is black since so many liberals (dead & alive) voted multiple times for Obama (D) just because he is black. Still, I’d be a racist just because I dislike Obama’s politics and the way he has destroyed this country.

It is amazing that some people can be their own worst enemies, yet blame everyone with an (R) behind their name for their lifetime of mistakes.

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
4:05 pm

Anybody seen OMG…Really?

OMG...Really

July 22nd, 2011
4:05 pm

2008: Bob Barr
2012: Undecided

Socialized Healthcare: No

Redistribution of Wealth: The tax structure needs reform desperately but it is not redistribution of wealth. That is a buzzword talking point created by the GOP.

Happy hackman?

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
4:06 pm

Liberals hate;

1) Clarence Thomas
2) Herman Cain
3) Condoleeza Rice

Anybody see a pattern of racism here?

williebkind

July 22nd, 2011
4:06 pm

GrammarKing

July 22nd, 2011
4:00 pm
We understand that! That is why our founding fathers did not want a religion controlling the government or the government controlling religion. Is that true in your other countries?

Mr. C

July 22nd, 2011
4:07 pm

So it’s ok to following the constitution when it’s convenient. Either you are a strict constitutionalist or not. If you are then you cannot ban someone from government service because of their religion.

tar and feathers party

July 22nd, 2011
4:07 pm

How dare you call “Uncle Herman” Tom!

OMG...Really

July 22nd, 2011
4:08 pm

It took me nine minutes to respond. I’m not hanging on your every word, your not that interesting. Jeez.

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
4:08 pm

“The tax structure needs reform desperately but it is not redistribution of wealth. That is a buzzword talking point created by the GOP. ”

Gee…10% of Americans pay 80% of all federal income taxes, 50% pay zero, most of that money gets re-distributed to other Americans, and it’s not redistribution of wealth? Truly, yours is a remarkable intellect.

Nice dodge on the re-distribution of wealth question, by the way. It has not escaped my attention that you did not denounce it, but rather just pretended that it does not exist.

GeoffDawg

July 22nd, 2011
4:09 pm

LOL! Never said that there’s no such thing as a decent Muslim person. The point which may be over your head is that by its very tenets Islam seeks to wipe out any of those that dare differ with its core beliefs. I’m sure there are those that believe that to varying degrees but when your religion starts out in hatred, working against it is going to be pissing in the wind.

And, let me get this straight, because of the age of Islam, we should forgive that it wants to wipe all non-believers out of existence? The only box that you’re thinking in has four padded walls my friend.

dre

July 22nd, 2011
4:09 pm

The Outlaw Josey Wales – Thomas, Cain and Rice, hated by liberals. That’s because they all stand for personal responsibility. Imagine that concept? Liberals can not.

amy

July 22nd, 2011
4:09 pm

GrammerKing you are correct. There are a bunch of idiots on this blog today. I am talking to you Inbread Josie….

Gym Naseum

July 22nd, 2011
4:10 pm

It is amazing that some people can be their own worst enemies, yet blame everyone with an (D) behind their name for their lifetime of mistakes.

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
4:10 pm

“It has not escaped my attention that you did not denounce it, but rather just pretended that it does not exist.”

..which is a classic liberal tactic/talking point, by the way…

Blue Has No Clue

July 22nd, 2011
4:11 pm

“You’re pretty amazing if you really believe that members of your party are the only ones in the whole country able to plan for retirement, health care and who can support their family.”

Oh yes, liberals do all those things quite well … they are call Entitlements!

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
4:12 pm

“There are a bunch of idiots on this blog today. I am talking to you Inbread Josie….”

Actually, I am only one, not a bunch, and it’s Josey, not Josie, but thanks for playing!

Gym Naseum

July 22nd, 2011
4:12 pm

… poops and pees his pants

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
4:13 pm

“Oh yes, liberals do all those things quite well … they are call Entitlements!”

Best post of the day!!!

ScubaSteve

July 22nd, 2011
4:13 pm

2 quick points:

1) “I learned everything I need to know about Muslims on 9/11.” In that case, I leaned everything I needed to know about Christians from the Westboro Baptist Church.

2) If there was ever any doubt about the terrible quality of education in this state, read these comments.

williebkind

July 22nd, 2011
4:14 pm

Gym Naseum

July 22nd, 2011
4:10 pm
Well, that is mostly not true. The democrats could take back their party from the progressive liberals and force these radicals into their own party.

Gym Naseum

July 22nd, 2011
4:14 pm

Liberals hate;

4) Colin Powell

GeoffDawg

July 22nd, 2011
4:14 pm

“It is amazing that some people can be their own worst enemies, yet blame everyone with an (D) behind their name for their lifetime of mistakes.”

Gym Naseum, please enlighten us with examples. Since you’re missing the point, most conservatives don’t want to blame anyone. They just want the government to mind their own business and leave them alone. It’s called personal accountability. Kind of a theme running here…

The Outlaw Josey Wales

July 22nd, 2011
4:15 pm

“If there was ever any doubt about the terrible quality of education in this state, read these comments.”

Then why do you libbies cling so dearly to the pathetic, failing public schools, Mr.Steve?

Gym Naseum

July 22nd, 2011
4:15 pm

Liberals hate;

4) (R)

Gym Naseum

July 22nd, 2011
4:15 pm

Liberals hate;

4) Themselves