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October 12, 2011

Rising Cain

I must admit that the rise of Herman Cain to becoming a major player in the Republican primaries took me by surprise. According to the latest PPP poll, he leads nationally with 30%, followed by Romney with 22%. "If the race came down to a two way match between Cain and Romney, Cain leads 48-36. Cain would pick up Bachmann, Gingrich, Perry, and Santorum's supporters. Romney would get Huntsman and Paul's. Cain would absolutely crush Perry in a head to head, 55-27. He would win over the supporters of every other candidate, including Romney's by a 56-24 margin."

Since I had not given much credence to the idea that Cain would win the nomination or the presidency, I had not really taken the time to examine too closely his stands on the issues or ponder what kind of president he might make.

But even if Cain is a truly awful person to lead the nation, the fact that there is a possibility that the two parties' nominees for the next presidential election could both be people of color signals that the nation has come a long way in its acceptance of minorities in leadership positions.

Both Obama and Cain are obliging servants of the oligarchy, no doubt, but that is a given the way that the election system is currently set up. That particular hurdle will be harder to overcome than even electing a gay, non-Christian, minority woman as president.

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Comments

Similarly, I haven't seen any objections to Michelle Bachmann's candidacy based on her gender. I dread the thought of a Bachmann (or Cain) presidency, but at least these false disqualifications don't seem to be important in a (Republican Party!) primary.

A few years ago, race and gender were topics of conversation in the Democratic Party primary--we are moving quickly toward a politic that focuses more on ideas than race and gender.

I will probably support Obama again because he is preferable to any of the current Republican candidates, whose best ideas are worse than his worst policies, but it is heartening to see that the race and gender of the candidates is less and less meaningful.

Posted by Frank on October 12, 2011 08:37 PM

Before we get too carried away with the significance of Cain's progress for racial harmony, a couple of cautionary notes need to be sounded.

First, and most importantly, Cain is only black on the outside. Some would call him an Uncle Tom, as his ideology is 100% compatible with the corporate oligarchy's vision for America. He tells people who are not prospering in today's economy that they only have themselves to blame. And, as Lawrence O'Donnell's recent interview with Cain drew out, Cain was not active in the civil rights protests that swirled around him during his college years. His philosophy was to stay out of trouble and quietly go to the back of the bus like he was told. Now that's the kind of black man that white Republicans can really get behind!

Secondly, we must consider the possibility that Cain's color is simply a tool to combat the appeal of Obama to certain groups. And it fits in nicely with the efforts of the religious right to portray the GOP as the true party of religious equality. The obnoxious historical revisionist, Joseph Barton, wants us to associate the Democrats with resistance to Reconstruction and then with the Jim Crow era. The party of Lincoln needs a black figurehead to distract us from the identity of the leaders who gave us the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

While African Americans obviously have the right to adopt any political philosophy they choose, there is something unsettling about people like Cain, and syndicated columnists like Deroy Murdock and Star Parker, who go out of their way to attack the Democratic party's hold on black voters. Do they really think that the interests of black Americans will be better served by unbridled corporate greed and an emasculated public sector?

Posted by Richard Frost on October 13, 2011 11:40 AM