As we sorted through our mess, trying to make something beautiful out of it, I wondered if Herman Cain was attempting to do the same:
Herman Cain, the insurgent populist whose candidacy has been ensnared by allegations of sexual impropriety, said Saturday that he is leaving the race for the Republican presidential nomination, saying that the allegations have cast a “cloud of doubt over me and this campaign.”
“As of today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign,” he said at an event in Atlanta. “I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt . . . on me, on my family, not because we are not fighters, not because I am not a fighter.”
Cain’s campaign had sent mixed signals as to his future since Ginger White, an Atlanta woman who claims to have had an affair with Cain for more than a decade, went public with her story earlier this week. While Cain has said he has been “reassessing” his candidacy, he also, at times, has been fiercely defiant, suggesting that unnamed enemies have been trying to do him in and vowing to press forward.
“The pundits would like for me to shut up, drop out and go away,” he said. “I am not going to be silenced, and I am not going away.”
White’s claims came after Cain faced weeks of allegations of sexual misconduct by at least three women stemming from his tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Assn. in the late 1990s.
Even as Cain continued to decry the claims as “false” and “baseless,” the sheer weight of the scandal has taken a brutal toll on the campaign, diverting Cain from advocating the “9-9-9″ tax plan that helped turn him into a household name almost overnight, costing him financial support, and damaging him in the polls.
Whether or not Cain is guilty of infidelity seems to pale in comparison, as Americans take stock of the political hatchet job perpetrated on the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza.
For instance, consider the following blog entry, published on February 15 of this year. The web master describes the writer as the
Editor and founder of the blog We Are Respectable Negroes which has been featured by the NY Times, the Utne Reader, and The Atlantic Monthly. Writing under a pseudonym, Chauncey DeVega’s essays on race, popular culture, and politics have appeared in various books, as well as on such sites as the Washington Post’s The Root and Popmatters.
Check out this “respectable” hit piece:
…When race minstrelsy was America’s most popular form of mass entertainment, black actors would often have to pretend to be white men, who then in turn would put on the cork to play the role of the “black” coon, Sambo, or Jumping Jim Crow. Adding insult to injury, in a truly perverse and twisted example of the power of American white supremacy black vaudevillians would often pretend to be white in order to denigrate black people for the pleasures of the white gaze.
Herman Cain–an ironic name if ever, and one more suited to a tragic figure in a Harlem Renaissance era novella–is not “blackening twice” as some race minstrels chose to do.
[Unfortunately, the attendees at CPAC are not the butt of some type of joke where the white man wearing the cork is really a black man in secret.]
Instead, Herman Cain’s shtick is a version of race minstrelsy where he performs “authentic negritude” as wish fulfillment for White Conservative fantasies. Like the fountain at Lourdes, Cain in his designated role as black Conservative mascot, absolves the White racial reactionaries at CPAC of their sins. This is a refined performance that Black Conservatives have perfected over many decades and centuries of practice.
Let’s consider the routine. First, Cain enters the stage to Motown music. Then Cain feigns swimming after rolling up his sleeves to show them his black skin and how he is a hardworking negro (not like those other ones). Cain bellows in a preacher affected voice and channels the folksy negro down home accent of his late grandpappy. In the money shot, Cain gives the obligatory “black folks who are not Republicans are on the plantation” speech to the joyous applause of his White benefactors. And he doubles down by legitimating any opposition to President Barack Obama as virtuous and patriotic regardless of the bigoted well-springs from which it may flow.
In total, CPAC is a carnival and a roadshow for reactionary Conservatives. It is only fitting that in the great tradition of the freak show, the human zoo, the boardwalk, and the great midway world’s fairs of the 19th and 20th centuries, that there is a Borneo man, a Venus Hottentot or a tribe of cannibals from deepest darkest Africa or Papua New Guinea on display. For CPAC and the White Conservative imagination, Herman Cain and his black and brown kin are that featured attraction.
We always need a monkey in the window, for he/she reminds us of our humanity while simultaneously reinforcing a sense of our own superiority. Sadly, there are always folks who are willing to play that role because it pays so well.
If Cain actually did everything he is accused of, then, he certainly did not deserve to be president.
However, if he is innocent of the “charges” leveled against him, then Americans need to step back and consider the double standard practiced by a Liberal ideology and its Media minions that revere a former president who disgraced the Oval Office with an intern, and yet jump upon alleged, unproven infidelities concerning a man who was not even his party’s nominee, yet.
John Edwards was unavailable for comment on this story (mainly, because I didn’t ask him to.)