Friday, November 4, 2011

Cain headed on path toward political immortality, if not electoral victory

CAIN: Clarence, Jr.?
With the women coming out of the woodwork to say that business executive-turned-presidential dreamer Herman Cain sexually harassed them, political pundits are also cropping up to compare him to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

I’ll be the first to admit that my initial reaction to learning that a woman said Cain treated her inappropriately because of her gender made me recall the days of two decades ago when Thomas faced the accusations of Anita Hill, who claimed he behaved crudely (the Coca-Cola can?) in her presence.

IT WAS JUST a few weeks ago that The Nation gave us a commentary, with an unnamed silhouette on the cover and the headline, “We STILL Believe Her.”

They didn’t have to name Hill. We knew who they were referring to. This still lingers in our national memory, and likely will not go away.

Which means that Cain may wind up with the same fate. He has risen above the pack in ways that will ensure he will be remembered – regardless of whether he actually wins the GOP presidential nomination for the 2012 electoral cycle.

What always struck me about the whole Clarence Thomas affair was the degree to which the conservative ideologues took the whole issue seriously, and in fact continue to hold a grudge whenever the issue comes up.

I KEEP WANTING to shout to these people, “You won, quit whining.”

Because it is true. Clarence Thomas got confirmed by the Senate as a Supreme Court justice, despite the allegations that indicated he personally was a boor and not exactly of the temperament that we’d like to think is maintained by our nation’s high court.

Yet it is the conservative ideologues who continue to bear a grudge. They don’t want to forget the attack, which ultimately was unsuccessful. In short, they’re bad winners.

They’re even worse losers – as we have seen by the way they conducted themselves during the presidential administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The people who are screaming the loudest now about Cain being mistreated will be the ones who a year from now will be leading the “Impeachment!” attack against Obama – should he manage to prevail in next year’s election cycle (which is a very real possibility so long as the ideologues prop up extremists such as Cain as their presidential hopeful).

WHICH MEANS I fully expect the ideologues to go out of their way to prop up Cain’s image – no matter how many attacks he sustains in coming months. Even long after this campaign cycle is over, we’re going to hear trash talk from the ideologues about the people who would dare to criticize Cain.

Heck, a part of me views pundit Ann Coulter’s recent comments about the difference between “good blacks” (like Cain) and the kind of African-American people who would deign to side with less-conservative movements than hers as being just the beginning of such rancid rhetoric.

Now I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know what to think of the women who have come forth against Cain. I’m not sure if he did or didn’t act like a crude twit towards these ladies, and I haven’t really gone out of my way to check into their claims to see if they’re credible.

Perhaps it is because I realize it doesn’t matter much if they’re credible.

FOR THE CONSERVATIVE ideologues have already made up their minds. They are willing to overlook the great moral flaws of any individual who is willing to put the “right” letter (“R,” not “D”) after their names and vote the “proper” (claiming morals, even though they usually stand for intrusion into peoples’ personal business) way on various issues confronting our society. They are going to take up the “Cain Crusade” and will try to elevate him into some tragic example of a great figure who was “taken down” by those liberal freaks who can’t see the world in their own narrow view.

Of course, the fact that such views (anybody who thinks it is a “joke” to electrify the U.S./Mexico border is a nitwit worthy of our derision) put him outside the real mainstream of our society means he’s not about to win the GOP presidential nomination. The fact that he still gains significant support in certain polls shows how out-of-touch many of those GOP-leaning voters are.

But Cain has gained a certain sense of immortality. I don’t know if The Nation will be doing some sort of graphic on their website (or whatever technology is in use) to say two decades from now we believe the women who criticize Cain.

But he definitely has made himself more significant than, say, Michele Bachmann. Does anyone remember that there was a brief moment a couple of months ago when her campaign was taken seriously?


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