Nein, Nein, Nein: The Rise And Fall Of Citizen Cain

Another Conquerors' Day, or as most Americans affectionately call it, Thanksgiving Day, has come and gone. But, I have something to be thankful for this Holiday Season: the Herman Cain charade – a presidential campaign that was nothing more than a front for an ego-driven self-promotion tour – is, thankfully, finally over.

Thank goodness!

Let's get real. Herman Cain was never going to be elected President of the United States. With the exception of perhaps former Alaska Governor and fellow perennial self-promoter, Sarah Palin, there has never been a modern presidential candidate who was less qualified to be the leader of the nation than was Cain (okay, Palin only flirted for years with the idea).

In spite of his so-called charisma and rags-to-riches story, Citizen Cain lacked two qualities that should be needed to be President, character and intellect.

Cain's character flaws have been on full display ever since he launched his bid for the presidency. There is, of course, the obvious character issue; at least four women accused the former Republican presidential candidate of sexual harassment. However, the act of sliding your hand up a women's dress without her consistent and then trying to force her head toward your lap for oral sex as one of his accusers described, is well beyond sexual harassment. That's a sexual assault.

Despite the fact that there were four accusers (unlike many sexual assault cases when it's only his word against her word, in Cain's case, it was his word against hers and hers and hers and hers), many core supporters refused to believe the candidate was capable of such appalling behavior. Sadly, the women and the mainstream media were accused by Cain's supporters of trying to bring down a "good black man" who wasn't on the so-called liberal plantation. Cain's campaign even went so far as to create a "Women For Cain" website where female supporters could slam his accusers for being "vindictive," "jealous," "unstable," and "husbandless." (And we all wonder why so many victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault are afraid to come forward.)

What finally toppled Cain's presidential bid was the accusation of a 13-year-affair with an Atlanta woman named Ginger White. Just like the accusations of sexual harassment, Cain denied the affair with White, but he did admit to giving her money over the years to help her pay bills. What a bighearted guy. It may come as no surprise, however, that Cain never told his wife about his generosity toward his "friend."

If all of these accusations are true (and, I tend to believe them all), Cain is not just a sexual harasser and a cheater, he fits the profile of a serial sexual predator.

While not nearly as critical of a concern as being a serial sexual predator, Cain had other character flaws that were also quite pathological in nature. His so-called charisma and folksy charm reinforced in my mind some ugly racist stereotypes about black people. Throughout his campaign, he would greet his overwhelmingly white crowds with the phrase, "Aww, shucky ducky, as the man would say (he uttered that phrase at the two minute and forty four second mark of his announcement speech)." He would also sometimes charm his white audiences by singing a gospel song or responding defiantly to criticism with a quote from his grandfather, "I does not care."

"What the Fucky?"

Moreover, Cain's anti-intellectualism (stupidity) was stunning. In a television interview he said, "When they ask me who's the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan, I'm going to say, 'You know, I don't know. Do you know?' And then I'm going to say, 'How's that going to create one job?'" Defending his woeful lack of foreign policy depth and lack of intellectual curiosity, he followed up at a campaign stop with the asinine statement, "We need a leader, not a reader."

Cain, perhaps, was just too busy selling his book ("This Is Herman Cain! My Journey To The White House"), and his bogus "9-9-9 Plan" for tax reform, to do a little bit of studying.

Cain meteoric rise is something that I will never fully understand. I wouldn't be terribly off the mark if I accused him of "shucking and jiving" and "playing the coon" just to gain support from conservative white voters. But, there is more to the Cain phenomena than that. The New York Times columnist, Charles Blow, sheds further light on the Cain phenomena in a column from early November:

Cain isn't a regular candidate, and this isn't a regular race. He is the anti-Obama, and that absolves him from his multiplying errors and inoculates him against his enemy's poison arrows... Cain is an "American black conservative — an A.B.C." who rejects prevailing wisdom among blacks about the racial state of play in America. He is a walking rebuff to the 400-year-old racism issue that continues to dog and drain this country. He lifts the burden of guilt from whites on the right and places it on the shoulders of blacks on the left — the ones still on "the Democrat plantation" and not willing or able to think for themselves. He is a fascinating sociological phenomenon but also an affront to some basic facts about the existence and impact of our racial reality.

The fact that Herman Cain lacked any of the conventional qualities that you would look for in a presidential candidate was of no concern to many of his white supporters. The only thing important to them is that he was the opposite of President Obama (and also not Mitt Romney) and he reinforced in their minds the stereotype of the "happy, non-threatening, and compliant Negro".

But, whatever the explanation, I'm thankful that Cain has suspended his run for the presidency. My hope is that we never hear from him again. Unfortunately, in American politics, we don't always get what we want.


Arlene Avery said…
Bilal, I so enjoyed this post! I never followed Cain's campaign because I found him so irreverent. So glad that Ginger White took him down with her brute honesty. Had no idea that he behaved in such a terrible way in front of white crowds. He and his drama took up so much space, but there was nothing of substance inside.
Arlene, unfortunately, there are more fools like him around the corner.

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