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article imageOp-Ed: The GOP's Black Knight

By Sadiq Green     Oct 21, 2011 in Politics
He is everything the GOP has fantasized about; a product of the Black experience unafraid to chastise his own. Not a wishy-washy moderate supporter of affirmative action or an apologist for fairness, such as Colin Powell.
On the contrary, Herman Cain is the Black knight for the party has come to believe that their views can only be acceptable if they can find a Black person who shares them.
Over the past few years, mainstream conservatives have been falling all over themselves in order to endorse Black candidates for president. First it was Allen West, now it is Herman Cain.
Cain is the latest in a line of Republican Black conservatives the party embraces as the authentically Black expressions of support for right-wing extremism. In the 80’s the party had a case of the Clarences – as in Clarence Pendleton and Clarence Thomas, two examples of so-called good Black folks. In the 90s, Ward Connerly earned his stripes as Mr. Anti-Affirmative Action, ripping apart California’s and Michigan's efforts to make college admissions more racially inclusive and setting of an anti-equity stampede.
Now, a new Black hero has arrived on the GOP scene and Allan Keyes and Ron Christie must be worried because their positions as the go to Black right-hand men are now in jeopardy. The new Black conservative icon is Herman Cain, the born into poverty, Morehouse graduate, corporate success story that the GOP is now holding up as the new modern Black man. What is not to like about Cain? His life story is certainly inspiring. He is funny and intelligent. Yet, those attributes cannot obscure the fact that his candidacy is as thin as those pizzas he used to hawk and his fiery rhetoric is tolerated only because he is a Black novelty.
The Republican Party has convinced itself that it can gain the support of Blacks if it can only find the “right” Black people. The problem is that the Grand Ole Party is disingenuous and delusional. It does not want Black support, but instead wants African-Americans who are diametrically opposed to the use of the federal government to enforce Constitutional guarantees of equal protection and intervene in circumstances when private markets discriminate and endanger the public welfare. While many Blacks might be socially conservative – preferring for instance abortion as a last resort – Black Americans possess a keen sense of history. They can recall or understand the pitfalls of “state’s rights” and will aggressively fight any attempt to return this nation back to the dark and dismal days of Jim Crow or to any modern day facsimile.
So, while Herman Cain is entertaining and has an inspiring life story, his political ambition is not aspirational in the context of Black life in America. His 9-9-9 plan comes off as simplistic as a Godfather’s pizza commercial, and as insulting and misleading as the notion that something plastered with cheese and dough is good for you. Herman Cain wants us to believe that governing is as easy as delivering hot pizza. His Republican Amen corner wants us to shout hallelujah for the arrival of a sensible Black man; not like that Harvard educated, biracial fellow sitting in the Oval Office. Cain is the self-proclaimed “authentically Black” man.
The Cain candidacy is a joke and a bad one at that. It smacks of desperation in a party so filled with hate it can’t fathom the idea of having a Mormon as its presidential nominee. Michelle Bachmann looked like a real possibility until people actually started to listen when she opened her mouth. Next, came the right’s rush toward Rick Perry until the rock at Niggerhead Ranch started to speak. Conservatives then salivated at putting the Big Man from New Jersey on the presidential menu, only to be teased and eventually told by Governor Chris Christie that unlike Sarah Palin, he actually has a job to finish in the Garden State. Now, the GOP would actually prefer Cain, a three-for-one candidate, Black, conservative and crazy of the fry the immigrants on the big fence crowd. Conservatives don’t care about Romney’s business experience or his years as governor in blue Massachusetts. They just know that Herman Cain is further right and more invested in White supremacy than “the Mormon.”
Herman Cain’s rapid elevation to Black sainthood in the Republican Party and White conservatives embrace of any Black man is enough to make most African-Americans suspicious and even skeptical. Black Americans also possess a common sense that sustained the race through slavery and Jim Crow, and has been a survival mechanism during hard times. So, while Republicans ogle Cain and swoon over his every absurd and caustically offensive remark, it is likely that most Blacks will sit back and enjoy the show, and then cast him in the bin with every other Black tool of the right who attempted to sell out the race for personal gain.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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