Successful conservative businessman, talk radio host, and potential GOP presidential contender Herman Cain spoke at CPAC this past Friday and brought the house down with the speech he gave in front of a packed ballroom of supporters and potential supporters. Nice Deb has the video. You can read excerpts of the speech here.
I sat and watched the speech because I didn’t know much about Herman Cain, and wanted to learn more about him. Speeches rarely impress me anymore because – as we’ve seen with the current WH occupant – just because you can give a great speech doesn’t automatically mean you’ll make a good President. That said, I was impressed with Mr. Cain’s message of personal, fiscal, and social responsiblity, as well as his digs at the left for calling him a racist for opposing President Obama. He said he had a wall full of names he had been called by people – in particular, black liberals – who were hostile to his message of personal responsibility and let him know it by way of calling him an Uncle Tom, Oreo, etc. You know what they say about when a person’s argument doesn’t have a leg to stand on that they usually resort to personal attacks.
Which leads me to the latest race-based attack on Cain, this time from a writer at the liberal AlterNet website. In a nutshell, he accuses Cain of being an Uncle Tom and suggests that he was catering to ‘white guilt’ types at CPAC. I’ll post an excerpt here, but please make sure to read the whole thing to understand just how low the writer – Chauncey DeVega – stoops in his effort to paint Cain as nothing more than someone who is subservient to guilty white conservatives (hat tip):
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.
New Tone violation!
But seriously, first things first: Can you imagine how the left would erupt into full scale outrage if this had been a conservative writer who wrote similarly about President Obama? Think Progress, Daily Kos, and the Soros-led Media Matters would feature prominently on MSDNC to express their disgust at the racial over/undertones of the piece, and the calling of President Obama a “monkey in the window” would earn the writer a “Worst Person in the World” award from Keith Olbermann (if he was still employed by MSNBC). The rest of the mainstream media would also get involved in the pile-on because they wouldn’t be able to resist yet another opportunity to falsely portray all conservatives as “racists.”
But it wasn’t a vicious racial attack on President Obama by a black conservative. It was a vicious attack on Cain, a black conservative, by a black liberal who – as of this writing – have given this “writer” a pass. Funny how the outrage is so muted on their side of the aisle when it’s one of their own launching vicious identity-based personal attacks against the opposition. Then again, selective criticism is a hallmark of the left, so none of us should be surprised by this.
Why have the left, especially black liberals, been stepping up their smear tactics against black conservatives over the last couple of years? For two reasons:
1) In light of the election of the nation’s first black President, black conservatives are proudly standing up and loudly voicing their opinions because they don’t want to be lumped in with the 95% of black Americans who support liberal policies and via extension liberal politicians.
2) Equally important, the left knows that once they lose the all-important “minority vote” – which includes black citizens – the their ability to win close elections will be in doubt. As I wrote back in November after the election of Tim Scott in SC-1 and Allan West in FL-22 to the US House:
But it’s important to point out that the dynamics of American politics are changing dramatically, especially in the Republican party. And the MSM is, unsurprisingly, ignoring it – even though they made such a huge deal about the race issue in the months leading up to Obama’s election, and since. Young Republican faces, “minority” faces (women, black people, Hispanics) are getting elected more and more each election cycle. There is nothing more frightening to Democrats and their allies in the MSM on the electoral front than “minority” GOP politicians rising within the ranks (see Jindal and Haley and Palin for examples). They know that the more “minority” GOPers who are elected, the more loose their (the left’s) stranglehold on the black/Hispanic/female vote will be.
I’m cautiously optimistic about the future of the GOP, in part, because of this. We have real opportunities to make inroads with voters who prior to this perhaps would have been hestitant to join the conservative movement thanks mostly to shameless liberal race/sex card demagoguery. We need to break the liberal hold on “minority” voters – and NOT by abandoning our conservative principles but by demonstrating that conservative principles are not just good for one group of people … but for everyone and, via extension, this great country we all love.
Expect the shameless personal attacks on black and other “minority” conservatives to escalate in the coming months and years as the left strives to keep so-called “minority” voters “in line.” It’s both revealing and instructive that the party that falsely claims it was at the forefront of the civil rights movement to liberate black Americans and other “minorities” feels the need to try and destructively tear any down who don’t toe the liberal line, who dare to think outside of the box. I guess to the left wingers concerned primarily only with staying in power rather than actually helping people, the only worthwhile citizen – white, black, Hispanic, etc – is one who either naively or blindly follows rather than questions liberal dogma.
That is changing, and America is all the better because of it. The left, on the other hand – their true colors on the issue of the minority vote are most definitely showing … pun intended. Aww. What a shame.
Update – 8:15 PM: Oh – guess who funds AlterNet? George Soros and the Tides Foundation. Surprise surprise.