Liberal pundits attributing Herman Cain’s unlikely rise to his role as racial scapegoat may now rest their voices: Conservatives themselves will prove their case from here.
After the sexual harassment story broke, Cain saw the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter rush to his defense. Coulter immediately invoked Justice Clarence Thomas in his own words: “This is another high-tech lynching.” Another already? It’s only been 21 years!
This isn’t to imply that Cain is guilty of any egregious act, or that the incidents in question were disqualifying to his candidacy—bad policy proposals and complete unfamiliarity with global affairs will take care of that. And the facts surrounding the two accusations are obfuscated enough behind legal and journalistic embargoes that one wonders why Politico ran the story before it was more fully baked. Tuesday’s revelation that one of Cain’s accusers was given one year’s severance of $35,000 also suggests behavior that hardly reached Dominique Strauss-Kahn levels.
But conservative comparison to Clarence Thomas in Cain’s immediate defense has been more revealing than the story itself. Is it possible that a nationally untested candidate for high office with no formal vetting has events in his past that might raise some questions? Of course. But rather than debunk the story for its several glaring weaknesses, the far right muscle memory recalls its last rally behind a racial pariah. Nevermind that many blacks have managed to be Republicans WITHOUT accusations of sexual misconduct.
Apparently, the moment such charges are levied at a conservative black man the particulars hardly matter. While Clarence Thomas was a debatable nominee for the nation’s highest court, he was a graduate of one of America’s most prestigious law schools and has displayed an adept legal mind—whatever one thinks of its various conclusions.
Cain, on the other hand—whether being unaware of the Palestinian “right of return” policy, flippantly dismissing the need to know the president of “Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan” or confessing ignorance of the neoconservative movement—revels in an intellectual vacuum and leverages cluelessness for “true conservative” credibility. To compare the two is laughable.
In an appearance on “Hannity”, Ann Coulter described black conservatives by asserting: “Our blacks are so much better than their blacks.”
Message received, Ann: As far as you’re concerned, “our blacks” are all the same.