Op-Ed: Cain, Righties Playing Race Card to Deflect Sexual Allegations

Posted Nov 4, 2011 by Sadiq Green
It has been amusing and confounding watching conservatives pundits react to the Herman Cain sexual harassment allegations, as if they have just discovered the horrors of anti-black racism.
Herman Cain
Herman Cain
Gage Skidmore
After all, they’ve spent the past three years claiming that the real victims of racism in the United States are White. Rush Limbaugh has been obsessed with President Obama's race since the moment he became a Presidential candidate. If you were to listen to Limbaugh everything Obama does is about race, or about hurting white people, or catering to non-white people.
Have we ever had a president who was such a partisan hack, such a race-baiter? The charge of racism is losing its heft…it’s been overdone and overblown.” - Rush Limbaugh
Funny then, how this week everything changed with the right seeing the “institutional racism” that Coulter & Co. disparaged everywhere. Suddenly, leading conservatives seem aware of and sensitive to the pervasive racism in American society. Now there is a vicious double standard in the way the media is following up on Herman Cain’s sexually-related problems[/url ]at his former workplace. But it should not be surprising that the right has been so quick to cry racism. While the modern conservative movement is usually dismissive of prejudice against African-Americans, in true party fashion they straddle the racial-divide crossing over to whichever side fits their needs at the time. The GOP has mastered that art with no apologies or shame.
[b][i][quote]“Look at how quickly what is known as the mainstream media goes for the ugliest racial stereotypes they can to attack a black conservative,” – Rush Limbaugh [/quote][/i][/b]
[b][i][quote]“Maybe this is a high-tech lynching that Politico engaged in.” - Fox and Friends guest host Peter Johnson Jr. alluding to Clarence Thomas[/quote][/i][/b]
This so-called “[url= t=_blank]high tech lynching
” talk is just a bid to deflect and minimize the serious nature of the sexual harassment and it’s not very effective. The charge by the conservative talking bobble-heads is absurd. Herman Cain is currently leading the Republican polls. If he wants to be treated as a serious candidate, he’s going to be subjected to serious scrutiny. Which includes folks combing through his background looking for what’s interesting. If Cain thought he could paper over any unfortunate parts of his career or personal life he was wrong. If he thought people wouldn’t pay close attention to his explanations of the sexual harassment settlements and their nuances, he was wrong about that too.
The right is acting as if the media has never been interested in any White candidate’s embarrassing lack of boundaries in the workplace. Bill Clinton was dogged by sexual scandal during the 1992 campaign and he endured an impeachment trial over his affair with Monica Lewinsky. John Edwards’ political career is all but over and he continues to face legal charges associated with his affair with the videographer following his campaign.
When a major Presidential candidate has been accused of sexual harassment, and when his accusers have received financial settlements as a result of their complaints, that’s news. For the first time in history, people care whether a Black Republican Presidential candidate can explain himself coherently. Herman Cain and the talking bobble-heads should be thrilled, should feel honored that he’s being treated just like any White GOP Presidential frontrunner would be treated.
Cain, Conservatives and the Tea Party
You don`t have to be a political scientist to realize that there are undercurrents of racism in the Republican Party, yet conservatives have been dismissive of the notion that the GOP – partly in deference to the Tea Party - has shown racism towards African-Americans in general and moreover President Obama. Today’s conservative movement emerged in large part in opposition to the civil rights revolution, which caused so-called Dixiecrats to flee to the en masse. Even the religious right was born out of racial grievance and was morally the wrong side of the fight for civil rights.
“The White evangelical church carries a shameful legacy of racism and the historical baggage of indifference to the most central struggle for social justice in this century, a legacy that is only now being wiped clean by the sanctifying work of repentance and racial reconciliation.” - Ralph Reed, from Active Faith
Many on the right desperately want to be rid of the stain of racism on their history. It’s a sign of progress that almost everyone in American public life considers racism to be shameful. At the same time, conservatives remain opposed to policies designed to remedy the effects of past discrimination. They want to wrap themselves in the now-unquestioned moral legitimacy of the civil rights movement without actually backing the movement’s goals.
That is Herman Cain’s appeal: he absolves the right of racism without asking them to change. Cain is a safe African American who knows his place, and he allows conservatives to hide their racism by proclaiming their support for him.Cain insists that there is no institutionalized racism, and he blames laziness for the failure of many blacks to escape the inner city and achieve financial success. What conservative wouldn`t love somebody like Cain?
It’s worth remembering that some conservatives briefly turned on him when he suggested that Rick Perry showed a “lack of sensitivity” by leaving the name “Niggerhead” on a rock outside his ranch.
My take? Cain’s comments were — at best – premature — and at worst, highly irresponsible. It was a cheap shot, and perhaps is a signal that Cain is willing to play the race card against a fellow Republican when it benefits him.” - Matt Lewis, Daily Caller
Since then, Cain has made sure not to say anything that would cast conservatives as racist and he’s been forgiven. Now, with Cain in the lead, the right is reveling in racial self-congratulation. Ann Coulter put it most crudely on Tuesday, telling Sean Hannity, “Our blacks are so much better than their blacks.” Lots of conservatives believe that liberals have been unfairly shutting down the conversation about our socialist Kenyan president’s anti-American policies by crying “racism.”
Cain is the far right`s man, but still far from the right’s man. However if it is revealed that he acted inappropriately towards White women, his support in the Tea Party – and his candidacy - will evaporate. If that is the case, he should be grateful he’s living today and not in the 1950’s or 1960’s. Forget claims of being lynched in the media, Brother Cain might have been lynched for real, if one of his accusers is a White woman.