What to do about Herman Cain?
This question goes not to the Republican Party, where "establishment" candidates like Mitt Romney privately dismiss Cain as lacking the experience, gravitas and resources to beat President Barack Obama and then to soundly govern the country.
Herman Cain is not going to be the GOP nominee.
Without a serious star-power staff, a ground game, chits to be called in by the candidate or the candidate's influential network of friends of influence, the "fat cats" sit on their checkbooks until and unless they believe their horse can win. A serious presidential candidate is not one who, like Cain, breaks from campaigning for a book tour timed to coincide with his unlikely quest for the White House.
No, Cain is a clear and present danger to the Democratic Party -- and their invaluable near-monolithic black vote. Cain says things like: "African-Americans have been brainwashed" into voting for the Democratic Party; "If you (Wall Street protestors) don't have a job or you're not rich, blame yourself"; "People sometimes hold themselves back because they want to use racism as an excuse for them not being able to achieve what they want to achieve"; and "I don't believe racism in this country today holds anybody back in a big way."
How do some influential left-wing blacks react? Not well:
Cornell West, professor of black studies at Princeton: Cain needs to "get off the symbolic crack pipe."
Harry Belafonte, entertainer, civil rights activist: "He's a bad apple, and people should look at his whole card. He's not what he says he is."
Tavis Smiley, PBS host and NPR broadcaster, simply writes off Cain's comments as "ridiculous or crazy."
But Cain threatens to change the race-card game in ways that even those who voted against Barack Obama hoped he would do: Put the stake through the heart of the nonsense that white racism still holds people back. Instead, Obama sides with a black Harvard professor who badly mistreats a white Cambridge cop who was just doing his job. Obama tells an author that racism fuels the opposition to ObamaCare. Obama says nothing when comrades ranging from former President Jimmy Carter to Jesse Jackson Jr. to Morgan Freeman defend Obama by blaming racism.
Now comes Cain.
He calls his economic program 9-9-9. But Cain's real number is 95. That is the percentage of the black vote captured in 2008 by Obama. What if someway, somehow, the Republicans captured over 35 percent of black presidential vote, as the GOP did as recently as 1956?
Cain asks this question: Why do blacks, in 2011, vote Democratic? Answer: because a) they falsely believe racism remains a serious threat and b) that Republicans are bad people who wish them ill. Neither of which, says Cain, is true. Blacks are more anti-abortion, more pro-traditional marriage and more pro-vouchers for inner-city parents than the typical non-black Democrat. A bad economy, made worse by Obama's tax-spend-regulate, welfare-state mentality, means blacks suffer disproportionately.
This argument makes Cain a walking refutation to the black victicrat "leaders" who speak about the "plight" of the "black underclass," and who attribute legitimate policy differences to "racism."
Cain represents a hardworking, up-from-the-bootstraps, financially successful, plainspoken Republican Southern black man who believes America in 2011 and America in 1960 are two different worlds. Worse for the grievance crowd, Cain calls out the Democratic Party for fostering a victicrat mentality and creating a sense of entitlement.
Cain's straight talk makes him stand out in debates. He is now close to cracking the "top tier" of candidates. Clearly, lots of people have begun to listen. What if blacks start listening?
Cain believes what former slave Booker T. Washington wrote a mere 35 years after slavery ended: "When a Negro girl learns to cook, to wash dishes, to sew, to write a book, or a Negro boy learns to groom horses, or to grow sweet potatoes, or to produce butter, or to build a house, or to be able to practise medicine, as well or better than some one else, they will be rewarded regardless of race or colour. In the long run, the world is going to have the best, and any difference in race, religion, or previous history will not long keep the world from what it wants.
"I think that the whole future of my race hinges on the question as to whether or not it can make itself of such indispensable value that the people in the town and the state where we reside will feel that our presence is necessary to the happiness and well-being of the community. No man who continues to add something to the material, intellectual, and moral well-being of the place in which he lives is long left without proper reward. This is a great human law which cannot be permanently nullified."
Or, as Cain puts it, "I left the Democrat plantation a long time ago."