Cain is a joke … or is the joke on us?

It’s hard to believe that Herman Cain is serious about running for president after he ran this bizarre campaign ad. Be sure to see the end where Cain’s campaign manager takes a drag on a cigarette and the camera lingers on Cain as he engages in a long, slow, fake movie smile. It’s a joke. Which means that his campaign is a joke. He never expected to be taken seriously. But now that he is being taken seriously, he wants people to understand that he hasn’t the slightest desire to become president of the U.S.

It reminds me of Howard Dean in 2003. Dean with his Internet-based, youth-oriented campaign shot to the head of the polls and the funding. Before a single vote had been cast, he was already seen as the overwhelming frontrunner in the Democratic race, even as the inevitable nominee. Then throughout December 2003 he made a series of bizarre, self-disqualifying remarks, and his candidacy imploded the next month. At the time I thought he made those statements deliberately, because he knew he was totally unprepared for the presidency and hadn’t the slightest interest in being president. He was running for the fun of it. So when, to his shock, he became the frontrunner, he felt compelled to destroy his own campaign and get himself out of the fix in which he he had put himself.

Cain is not the frontrunner, but he is being treated as a top tier candidate and is being challenged to explain his positions. He knows he cannot meet this challenge, so he is letting the world know that his campaign is frivolous. This way, people will stop asking him those tough questions about the economy, abortion, homosexual “marriage,” and the Palestinian-Israel issue to which he has no ability to provide credible answers.

In America, many people run for president out of vanity, for the fun of it, or to promote their career and marketability. It’s another way in which our country has become a joke. Yes, in the old days there were favorite-son candidates and so on whom no one expected to win. But the problem has now gotten out of hand. There ought to be some way to limit presidential campaigns to people who are serious about being president. Which, I admit, is not a serious proposal.

- end of initial entry -

Jim C. writes:

Cain is perhaps a joke, but that commercial is not; what it is is incompetently directed and scripted, which makes me wonder about the caliber of his organization.

Evan H. writes:

Compare Cain’s ad to Rick Perry’s. If that were a trailer for a Hollywood film, I would pay money to see the movie!

Derek C. writes:

Was Michael Steele not lesson enough for the GOP?

On the flip side, I watched an interview on O’Reilly with Marco Rubio, and he categorically said he wouldn’t accept a VP nomination because he’d only served one year in the Senate. It’s clear the man wants to run for higher office, but he’s also aware of his limitations, and he appeared visibly embarrassed when O’Reilly kept calling him a “Hispanic American.” I doubt I’d find his politics any better than any other garden variety Republican, but it does speak well of his character that he doesn’t want to coast into office only on the strength of his national origin.

LA replies:

Rubio is one of the most extreme exponents of America as global messiah-nation and hyperactive spreader of “democracy” to the world. You get the impression that Rubio thinks the name of this country is “the United States of American Exceptionalism.”

October 26

Alexis Zarkov writes:

P.T. Barnum allegedly said, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” Oscar Wilde told us “the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” Cain campaigns on a shoe-string budget, and he needs all the free publicity he can get. While you don’t like his ad, at least in the short term it’s quite effective. That ad must have cost about 75 cents to make, and it’s all over the Internet and TV.

I think the cigarette part is actually a nice touch. My interpretation (others differ): Obama smokes, but tries to hide it. The Cain campaign is going to be up front, and smoking conveys a defiant attitude toward political correctness. The ad seems to be going over well with young people. Obama got the youth vote in 2008 by packaging himself as a “cool” guy. Now he’s lost his coolness, and Cain is trying to woo them. The youngsters like defiance. They like a flippant attitude. Old fuddy duddies like us sometimes forget that.

LA replies:

Speak for yourself. :-)

LA continues:

My objection to Mr. Zarkov’s description of me as a fuddy duddy reminds me of an exchange between John Tanner and Roebuck Ramsden in Act I of Shaw’s Man and Superman:

Ramsden: I will not allow you or any man to treat me as if I were a mere member of the British public. I detect its prejudices; I scorn its narrowness; I demand the right to think for myself. You pose as an advanced man. Let me tell you that I was an advanced man before you were born.

Tanner: I knew it was a long time ago.

Ken Hechtman writes:

I agree with Mr. Zarkov.

Take a look at Cain’s “Yellow Flowers” ad.

Three months from now, six months from now, you’re going to remember that ad. Has Mitt Romney put out anything that memorable? And so far, the approach is working.

Cain’s gone from 20 percent name recognition in April to 80 percent now and his favorable/unfavorable spread is more than double that of any other candidate. As the saying goes, if it’s stupid and it works, it’s not stupid.

I’m not yet ready to to say this is the Republican Party’s Barack Obama moment. There hasn’t been a single primary vote cast yet and a lot can happen in six months. But no matter what does happen, this is the Republican Jesse Jackson moment. This is the year a black candidate asked for and got a fair hearing from the Republican Party.

October 27

Kathlene M. writes:

I agree with Mr. Zarkov’s assessment of Cain’s “smoking man” ad. When I first saw it, I thought it was hilariously awful like an SNL parody. Later when I thought about the ad more, it occurred to me that it’s literally and defiantly blowing smoke in the faces of the political Establishment who have already decided who their nominee is. The ad effectively shows (in my humble opinion) what a big joke the whole election process has become, so this ad provided some comic relief in these dire and serious times. Furthermore, it makes me think about the biggest “joke” of all: America elected an unqualified Illinois senator to the Presidency in 2008 and the punchline is anything but funny.

This ad might actually connect to average, real Americans. It’s not a negative attack ad, and the smoking man in the ad reminds me of people I’ve known throughout my life, so in a strange way, this ad is more real than the slick Hollywood-style PC political ads out there.

D. Edwards writes:

From the American Spectator blog:

Rubin says “Herman Cain jumped the shark with a bizarre ad featuring his smoking campaign manager.” Well, the YouTube video featuring Mark Block (filmed, BTW, in front of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas) has been viewed about 650,000 [ed actually about 637,000] times and gotten airings on network TV. Did everyone who watched it have the same negative reaction as Rubin and other commentators? Are voters in Iowa and New Hampshire fleeing the Cain campaign in droves as a result? Or is all this uproar over the YouTube video just free publicity for the Cain campaign?

Jerry Z. writes:

At this early date in the battle for the Republican nomination, far too many conservatives are seriously considering Herman Cain as a Presidential candidate. They evaluate his positions on a few limited topics, generally “economics” or “the budget.”

But seriously, folks, do we want another closet Barak Obama in the White House? In this day and age, is it really possible to expect that any black candidate can speak for the majority white population of this country? After 50 years of rabid black nationalism, anti-hate laws and anti-white racial rhetoric permeating the black population, can white voters reasonably expect a black man to represent them? American whites tried it with Obama, and look what we got. George W. Bush held his lantern high, like Diogenes, looking for those few honest blacks he could trust in a Republican cabinet and he got—Condolezza Rice and Colin Powell. And they were perhaps the best ones out there. As Jesse Jackson would have said, they were “qualified,” but neither rendered yeoman service for their President. Both came out in support of affirmative action, and Rice even humiliated the Israelis at Dayton by judging them as “racist” against Palestinians as whites in the U.S. were supposed to be to blacks. Powell never fully supported a strong war against Iraq or Afghanistan, perhaps for the same reasons. Both increasingly during the course of their tenure carried their racial animosity on their sleeves.

You could argue that several Republican Presidents effectively acted against the interests of the white majority anyway, so what’s the difference? However, this time around there’s too much on the table to take a chance of getting another Obama. We need a strong leader in the Western tradition, and we’ll never get it from a black candidate. The cultural/philosophical gap is just too great for them to bridge. After Obama, a black will never be trusted again.

If the American people are played for a fool yet once more and are led along by their white guilt and racial self-abnegation to vote for Cain, this country is done. That’s the only button Cain will push for the white voter, and he would simply reinforce a destructive white pathology. No good can come of that.

Dimitri K. writes:

The problem with “black” is that this word is not a good definition. Originally it referred to the inhabitants of Africa south of Sahara. However, genes which define skin color are very dominant, which means that you may have a person with only 1/4 African blood, and still dark black. He may be intelligent and smart like his more civilized ancestors, and have no African mentality, but by his color he is classified as black. In the years of slavery, even smallest signs of blackness were enough to disqualify a person from joining the civilized society, which was obviously wrong. It was a mistake, for which we pay now by affirmative action. I think we should judge person by his qualities, not color. Not because all people are same, but because color may be deceiving.

LA replies:

Is Dimitri saying that Cain does not identify as a black man? But evidently he does. So the question becomes, how strong is this identification, and how might it become stronger were he to become president?

Paul K. writes:

I agree with Jerry Z.’s concerns that another black president, even a putative conservative, will always have black interests foremost in his heart. However, when he writes, “Powell never fully supported a strong war against Iraq or Afghanistan, perhaps for the same [anti-white] reasons,” I have to take exception. I believe Powell’s concerns about the Iraqi war have been proven correct.

LA replies:

I don’t think the issue was whether Powell had doubts about the Iraq policy, but that Powell was actively disloyal to President Bush and sought to undermine him. And in 2008 he supported Obama for president, because Obama was black.

See also the 2008 post, “The Secretary of Insiderdom.” And the 2010 post, “The end of the Powell aura.”

And remember Michael Steele, with whom everyone was sooo impressed as a smart, conservative black man? See the way he began to talk as soon as he was made the chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2009, attacking his own party as racist.

Jim C. writes:

Jerry Z. does not provide any evidence that Cain, if elected president, would become another Barry Obama. There was plenty of hard evidence that Barry was your prototypical race hustler, affirmative action exploiter. Not so with Cain. Cain is an individual, so let’s start treating him as such.

Joel P. writes:

Jerry Z. is absolutely correct.

It’s not as if we haven’t already seen signs of black racialism from Cain. Take the ridiculous “niggerhead” controversy in which Cain was all too happy to play the race card against Rick Perry in exchange for cheap political gain. Take the words of Cain himself, who in his book This is Hermain Cain!, writes, “[I] insist on defining my identity in terms of “ABC”—as being American first, black second, and conservative third.”

And there you go, straight from the horses’ mouth. When it gets right down to it, Cain will betray conservative principle (what little he has to begin with) in favor of his identity as a black man.

Herman Cain is not to be trusted.

LA replies:

I’d say that Joel P. has pretty much settled the argument. It can’t be said that Cain is not a race man, when he himself stated that his blackness trumps his conservatism.

Alexis Zarkov writes:

I’m afraid I have to disagree with Jerry Z. While I understand his anxiety, I refuse to write off Herman Cain on the basis of his race. Let’s face it. Some of our best conservatives are Jews, despite the overwhelming liberalism of the non-Orthodox. Some of our best anti-feminists are women. Cain grew up and was educated before the era of affirmative action. His accomplishments come from within, and so far I don’t detect any tribal loyalties. Of course my judgment might change in the future as new data appears. However, I’m not comfortable with his positive comments about Alan Greenspan and Arthur Laffer. Greenspan has literally repudiated himself in testimony before Congress. Last night I heard Cain call Laffer one of our best economists! Laffer has a tenuous grasp on economic reality as you can see in this video where he confronts Peter Schiff on the risk of a housing collapse and a recession. The infamous “Laffer Curve” provides another example of this man’s incompetence. Republicans have an unfortunate habit of selecting poor economic advisers. Reagan did this with Laffer, and McCain did this with Kevin Hassett (of Dow 36,000 fame). This needlessly gives ammunition to the liberals. So far the Cain campaign is a work in progress, and I’m withholding judgment for the moment. I don’t feel this way about Romney who appears to be some kind of Obama lite.

Jack S. writes:

I see Cain’s success in the popularity polls as a sign that political correctness still has a stranglehold on political discourse. Cain is obviously unqualified and unsuitable on several levels. His speech patterns and his ebonics indicate that he does not have an IQ above average. He has never held an elected office and has metastatic cancer. His business “success” seems like it came about as the result of affirmative action and minority set-asides. His 9-9-9 tax policy proposal sounds like a hackneyed catchphrase that you’d hear from the mouth of Jesse Jackson. It is reminiscent of Louis Farrakhan’s obsession with the number 19.

We’re currently suffering under an affirmative action President. Bush forced affirmative action Secretaries of State on America for eight long years. The Republicans felt compelled to prove that they weren’t racists by electing an egregiously incompetent and racism-card-playing RNC chairman in 2008. Now the media and the certain faux conservatives are promoting Cain as way to make themselves feel good about themselves and further the narrative that America is no longer a racist nation.

Jim C. writes:

Joel P. writes: “Take the words of Cain himself, who in his book This is Hermain Cain!, writes, ‘[I] insist on defining my identity in terms of “ABC”—as being American first, black second, and conservative third.’”

If a Jew or Puerto Rican had said the same thing, no one would care. He uttered one of the oldest cliches in the business. Why punish him for using a dumb cliche?

LA replies:

The issue being discussed in this thread is whether Cain’s blackness would overtake his conservatism. It’s now been shown from his own mouth that it would, and you say we should ignore this.

Jim C. replies:

OK, let’s parse this logically. He said he would govern as an American first, so why concern ourselves with subsidiary concerns? Nowhere have I seen Cain demand reparations, affirmative action etc. from white society, so why should I worry about a Cain presidency from a black grievance perspective?

The reason to worry about a Cain presidency is that, quite frankly (and like Barry Obama), he ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed. And America needs sharp tools now in its time of crisis.

James N. writes:

I understand your correspondent’s concern about Cain and race. Cain is both a candidate and a symbol. As a candidate he is weak, but all of them are weak.

There is an unseemly desire along some “conservative” sectors to choose a candidate of nonwhite race. In addition to the enthusiasm for Cain there is also an unusual degree of interest in the junior senator from Florida, who has served in the Senate for less than one year, but who is now being promoted as a plausible candidate for vice president or even president.

Some of this enthusiasm for a nonwhite candidate no doubt arises out of fashion, and some of it is also a species of “monkey see, monkey do”—that is, the Democrats won last time with a minority candidate, so perhaps that’s the flavor of the month.

However, I fear that underneath all of this there is a certain amount of self disregard among white, politically interested, individuals. The country remains overwhelmingly white, and it’s founding patterns of social organization are derived from white culture.

I suspect that, to some degree, this played a role in the popularity of a certain fertile white woman with conservatives.

In addition to the symbolic freight that Herman Cain carries, however, there are some elements of his background that confer a certain degree of legitimacy as a candidate for high political office. He certainly has more qualifications by virtue of his background and his accomplishments then either Barack Obama, John Kerry, or George W. Bush.

I doubt that Cain has the requisite political skills to navigate the waters of the presidential nominating contest, but should he be nominated, he would be an interesting opponent for Obama.

James N. writes:

I sent you a comment today from my new iPhone, which I dictated while driving. Voice recognition has gotten pretty good, but it sure isn’t perfect.

The sentence that is posted: “He certainly has more cough patients by virtue of his background,” should substitute “qualifications” for “cough patients.”

Nice pictures from Randall’s Island, by the way.

LA replies:

Generally I read and edit comments before posting, but not always. This was one time I didn’t, so that got by me.

Also, if one is dictating a message, the print version of it still needs to be proofread before being sent.

Carol M. writes:

“an unseemly desire along some “conservative” sectors to choose a candidate of a nonwhite race … ”

Oh boy, is there ever, even here in whitopia among the local GOP rank and file. They were gaga over Powell, then gaga over Rice. Then Steele, even though he canceled a speaking engagement to the state convention here and sent Bachmann in his place.

It’s scary, I’m telling you, how much Republicans want to “redeem” themselves. This is really a strong sentiment among the elderly party hacks. Either it’s a tacit admission of past racism, or they’ve been intimidated by the Democrats’ unrelenting spin on race.

Joel P. writes:

Jim C. writes:

“OK, let’s parse this logically. He said he would govern as an American first, so why concern ourselves with subsidiary concerns?”

But what exactly does “American” even mean to a right-liberal such as Cain? Mere ideological symbolism. There’s no substance there. After all, isn’t Barack Obama an “American” as well? Isn’t every person in the world an “American,” at least in potentiality? “American” doesn’t inform us as to how he will govern; for that, we have to examine his conservatism, which Cain insists is trumped by his blackness.

I don’t think we can brush this aside as a meaningless cliché. I’ve seen to many “black conservatives” over the years succumb to the same old race games not to see the writing on the wall. No, I think I’m going to respect Cain enough to take him at his word.

Steve W. writes:

The main reason so many people are taking Herman Cain seriously as a GOP presidential candidate is because the other “top” candidates are demonstrably sub-par, whether for policy reasons (Romney), leadership reasons (Bachmann), or intellectual reasons (Perry). Every candidate on the stage has as many, or more, flaws as Cain. Cain is intelligent (despite a thick black southern accent), educated in “hard” subjects (mathematics B.A. and computer science M.S.), has defense industry experience, has significant “Main Street” business experience, has high-level public sector experience (with the Fed), has an engaging personality, and is willing to think and act in unconventional ways for a politician. And he is singlehandedly driving the debate on tax reform (however superficial, and ultimately futile, it may be). Regardless of his race, he is plenty worthy of serious consideration, certainly as worthy as any of the other candidates. Granted, this is more a reflection of the disappointingly weak GOP field than Cain’s own excellence. Still, we have to consider the choices we have been given. It is not at all obvious that Romney or Perry or Bachmann (or any of the others) are better choices than Cain.

LA replies:

But Cain is simply ignorant of public policy issues. It’s evident that he has not followed national and international affairs over the years. He thinks he can wing it whenever he doesn’t know about an issue.

If someone knew nothing about auto mechanics, but had an engaging personality, would you consider him as a candidate to do major work on your engine?

Stan S. writes:

I think the evidence is overwhelming that Cain is not influenced by the anti-American black nationalism of the Jesse Jackson or Michelle Obama variety. Except for Ron Paul, he is (to my knowledge) the only candidate who has unequivocally criticized affirmative action. And he’s strongly criticized blacks for their lopsided leftist politics.

There are two real problems with Cain.

The first is that that he has little chance to defeat Obama, in part because of his black accent. Whereas Cain’s culture, his formative experience and his blood are genuinely African-American, his ideology is not. Exactly the opposite is true of Obama, who has little in common with the American blacks with whom he chooses to identify. In a general election the contrast would be to Obama’s advantage.

The second problem with Cain is that he’s not conservative. On the contrary, he shows every sign of being a technocrat who cares little for culture or ideas. During his first debate, when asked what would be his policy on Afghanistan, he promised first to assemble a team of experts who would then tell him what to do. This alone should have disqualified him from further consideration. On another occasion, he clearly suggested he believes that anyone who wants to should be able to immigrate to the United States, even if this means flooding the country with tens of millions of foreigners.

Cain is, in essence, a less accomplished, less politically experienced, less intellectually gifted alternative to Romney. It is ironic that many of the same Republican voters who scorn Romney as a big-government liberal become so enthusiastic when it comes to Cain.

Jillian J. writes:

In a you-tube interview with Herman Cain he’s asked if he was ever a beneficiary of affirmative action and he says, “No.” He says that when he got his first job in the late ’60s as a mathematician for the Navy that, yes, of course they were looking to recruit more blacks, but they were looking for the best. He says that some people believe that affirmative action means quotas, but that he is against quotas. That to him affirmative action means hiring the best. He believes he was hired because he was the best qualified. He also says that he received excellent reports every year not because of affirmative action, but because he rated outstanding on all of his reports.

He said this with a straight face.

In an interview with the Augusta Chronicle, posted on Free Republic, Cain says this:

College acceptance should be based on how well a student has performed and excelled in school. Like everything else in life, people need to earn what they get, and earn it by working hard. Quotas are not the answer and they never will be.

The reality today is that more black kids are attending college than ever before. And they are getting to college the old-fashioned way, by earning it. There are more minority doctors, lawyers and other professionals than ever before. We need to continue this trend, by not focusing on race but focusing on encouraging our kids to work harder to succeed.

It appears that Cain doesn’t know that mediocre blacks get ahead because of our ethnic spoils system. He thinks, or pretends to think, that companies, the military, and universities make an “affirmative” attempt to recruit blacks, but when they do the black recruits are fully capable and deserving of this position. He wants us to stop focusing on race but he wants affirmative action.

Clarence Thomas said that because of affirmative action anything he accomplished in life would forever be suspect. Cain, on the other hand, sees affirmative action the same way a liberal sees it, as a system that allows deserving, hard-working blacks to achieve success that would otherwise be denied them by white racism. Why would any white person vote for this man?

LA replies:

Amazing. I said above that Cain is ignorant of basic domestic and foreign issues. Now it turns out he’s wholly ignorant of the reality of racial preferences in this society—ignorant, for example, of the fact that in better universities and graduate schools, all the blacks and Hispanics who are admitted have qualifications below the level at which all white and Asian students are automatically rejected.

Cain is analogous to a moderate Muslim, whose “moderateness” consists in denying the existence of militant Islam, saying that militant Islam is not real Islam. Thus the “moderate” actually helps cover up and advance the militants by denying that they’re a problem. In the same way, Cain is a “conservative” black who denies the existence of systematic black racial preferences in this country. Thus he helps cover up and advance racial preferences.

I wonder how any of the commenters in this threat who have expressed positive views of Cain as a presidential candidate can maintain those positive views after reading what he said about affirmative action.

October 28

LA writes:

Jerry Z. wrote at the beginning of this discussion:

“If the American people are played for a fool yet once more and are led along by their white guilt and racial self-abnegation to vote for Cain, this country is done.”

I disagree with the idea that white people who support Cain, support him because of white guilt. I’ve said the same a hundred times about the commonly heard statement that the reason whites voted for Obama in 2008 was white guilt, or to show that they weren’t racist. In my view, the reason most of the whites who supported Obama in 2008 supported him was that they liked him or preferred him over the other candidates. (Yes, there were many whites who were motivated by the idea that it would be neat, historical, transformational, blah blah, for America to have a nonwhite president, but I don’t think that this is necessarily the same as white guilt.) Even more so, the reason the white Republicans who support Cain today support him is that they like him for his positive qualities. Jerry and many others seem to assume that it’s simply impossible for a white person to support a black or nonwhite candidate for any normal, positive, legitimate reason, such as “I think he is a better candidate, I think he would make a better president.”

So I would ask Jerry this: looking at the pro-Cain statements in this discussion, does he think that the commenters supporting Cain are doing so out of motives of white racial guilt and racial self-abnegation?

James N. writes:

I did not intend my favorable references to Mr. Cain to imply that I would vote for him for the Presidency, at least not in the primary. I would not, for several reasons, the foremost being his lack of political experience, which experience I regard as an essential qualification for the position.

Your other correspondents make several good points. It is clear that Mr. Cain is a “race man, but I wonder how the expectation arose that ANY descendant of the slaves could ever be otherwise? I think there is a widespread fantasy among whites that, by becoming “race-blind” themselves, they can erase or undo the obsessive race-identification among blacks. There is no evidence, historical, psychological, or otherwise that this is the case.

The general disposition of blacks in America towards whites is getting worse, not better, nearly sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education. While Mr. Cain has undoubtedly achieved more than many blacks, there is no reason to suppose that, contrary to human nature, he does not identify with his fellows. What is strange is that whites, for the most part, do not – not yet, anyway.

Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret (you may expel nature with a pitchfork, but she always returns). -Horace

Jerry Z. writes:

You ask me:

” … looking at the pro-Cain statements in this discussion, does he think that the commenters supporting Cain are doing so out of motives of white racial guilt and racial self-abnegation?”

This is a vast subject that I can barely touch on.

These commenters are all thoughtful adults, and I don’t wish to condescend and suggest that they are driven by subconscious impulses, rather than conscious and rational views. However, we are all frequently driven to deny the fearful and unthinkable, and I believe that race is one of those deep terrors that has driven the entire white European culture into a corner. Over the last 50 years we’ve permitted racial guilt to fundamentally dislocate our society and channel an enormous percentage of our national wealth into black rehabilitation to prove that whites are truly good and moral people, and not the racist vermin we’ve been incessantly accused of being—even though the entire project is an exercise in futility. How is it possible for any reasonable Euro-American today to ignore this ubiquitous onslaught and pretend that Herman Cain—or any other black pretender to national leadership—can merely be judged on the merits of his “individual” thoughts or political “positions”? To pretend that the near universal euphoria expressed by blacks upon O. J Simpson’s acquittal was not a defining moment, even for liberal ostriches? That black crime against whites has created flight to suburbia vacating most historical urban centers? That black flash mobs are not viciously preying upon whites across America?

Western society as created and successfully developed over several thousand years is under assault and seriously at risk. Whites have retreated in the face of racial accusations to the point of sacrificing centuries of achievements, and the entire edifice is in jeopardy: now is not the time to pretend anti-white hatred can be ignored as inconsequential. It’s ubiquitous. Herman Cain is not immune—he is not an anomaly, merely as clever at deceiving himself as we are in deceiving ourselves. A perfect storm of self-deception—to Cain’s advantage.

Whites cannot fix what they haven’t broken, and they can’t pretend that blacks themselves are wholly unaffected by the very issues that most preoccupy them.

LA replies:

I agree with you on all your general points about America’s racial self-undoing. And I agree that the election of yet another black president might advance this self-undoing. But those points are not responsive to the question I raised.

I will put it this way: the fact that white America is systematically allowing itself to be destroyed through a misplaced sense of guilt and obligation to nonwhites, does not mean that if conservatives see a black presidential candidate whom they like, what “really” drives their positive response to him is the general impulse of white self-abnegation. One can reasonably warn against a Cain candidacy, without making the tendentious and unlikely assertion that the only reason conservatives support Cain is racial guilt.

Jerry Z. replies:

Don’t you think your question can be answered best as a national descent into the Stockholm syndrome by white Americans?

Incessantly bludgeoned with their presumptive “overt racist” acts against blacks until the late ’80s, now that there is little evidence to sustain this tack, since then whites have been castigated with their “secret” racial hatred, their subconscious racism. My background is in anthropology and engineering, so I can’t point to definitive psychological studies demonstrating human response to such stress, but I know from personal experience and self-examination that those “captured” and continually threatened, whether physically or mentally, eventually succumb to avoid psychic death. Much as small and helpless children berated by angry parents, they accede to the threats and both assume the demanded identity and protect their tormentor. This, in brief, is what most Americans do after 50 years of brow-beating on the American airplane sitting stranded in the multicultural airport. A deep inner fear of their parents’ displeasure has been stimulated by the racial “hijackers” and being largely unconscious, it is inaccessible to conscious thought. This is where the stubbornness comes in—those unwilling to entertain the possibility that blacks as a group have strong anti-white bias now being played out openly on the streets of America.

I just have to say the unthinkable, present this rude assessment. Any American today who defends Cain’s claim to legitimacy independent of his race is little more than a “survivor” of the Stockholm syndrome. A long line of racial “hijackers” from M. L. King, through the Black Panthers, Rev. Farrakhan, Rap Brown, the Black Liberation Army and legions of media writers, academics, and the committed Marxist left have set the stage for America’s submission to the “racist” charge, and the defense/support of blacks to demonstrate otherwise. The entire “hijacking” scenario is replicated in the diabolical threat we face from Islam. The murderous jihadis incessantly threaten us with terrorist attacks and “sudden jihad syndrome” on the one hand, while the moderates quietly deny Islam’s deadly motivation and demand we give up our “Islamophobia”. Beaten into submission by our native black population and their protectors, and lacking support from the intellectual class, we stand up groggily only to be assaulted by the Islamic jihadis and their left useful idiots.

Racism charges have been a truly devastating assault on the unconscious psyche itself, from which whites have no retreat. Whites being internally motivated, morally driven under the Judeo-Christian ethic, their own self-worth and reason d’etre is called into question. Have they sinned? Have they lost the love of their parents? Moral inhibitions have deep emotional roots within the family and are often inaccessible to conscious thought.

In like manner, Americans bombarded with the moral accusation of racism backed up by job loss or public censure, to one degree or another cower in fear, and by doing nothing, accept the charge and defend their tormentors. There have been few “protectors of the moment” to rally their resistance and give them strength to resist. That is your role, Lawrence, and even at this late date it is very important.

LA replies:

You have a Big Theory which has a lot of truth in it; but like any Big Theory it stomps all over particulars. You have given no arguments to justify your assertion that the VFR commenters who express liking for Cain are driven by Stockholm syndrome. Your theory cannot encompass this simple fact pattern: that in a year in which the Republican candidates are widely seen as inadequate, an unusual candidate emerged who has some qualities that arouse support and enthusiasm among conservatives. If Cain had not appeared, they would not be supporting Cain. It’s not as though they were looking around desperately for a black standard bearer. He happened to come on the scene, and they like him. There is no evidence that their response to him has anything to do with the sort of motivations you are psychoanalytically projecting onto them.

It’s my impression that you are fairly new to VFR. Perhaps you don’t understand that regular readers here are not mainstream conservatives and are not PC on race.

And by the way what I’m saying to you has nothing to do with my own views of Cain. I am not a Cain supporter, and indeed just before I began this dialogue with you I asked how the Cain supporters here could maintain their support for him given his complete ignorance of the existence of the racial preference system in this country.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 25, 2011 10:20 AM | Send

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