Clay Bennett/Chattanooga Times Free Press (11/19/2011)
Herman Cain has a lot of bad ideas. Selling a bumper sticker on his campaign’s official website that implies whipping a black president like a slave probably isn’t even the worst one he’s had since lunch. But it doesn’t really matter. Because Herman Cain doesn’t waste time on thoughts like “Is this the most awful slogan an African-American candidate could possibly ever use” or “Does 9-9-9 make any sense whatsoever,” or “Does this woman really want her genitals groped.” Herman Cain is a man of action.
Additional evidence that Rachel Maddow is right and the entire Cain campaign is performance art.
John McCain, the former Republican presidential candidate, has slammed contenders for next year’s election for pledging to reinstate waterboarding of terrorism suspects if they reach the White House.
McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, has consistently described waterboarding as torture. He said in a tweet on Monday that he was “very disappointed” by support for the technique by Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann at Saturday’s Republican foreign policy debate in South Carolina.
The candidates criticised President Obama for banning the use of waterboarding, and said they would reinstate its use if elected.
McCain tweeted: “Very disappointed by statements at SC GOP debate supporting waterboarding. Waterboarding is torture.”
There’s an interesting piece in the New York Times yesterday about Herman Cain and the Tea Party’s general obsession with Thomas Paine. The majority of the piece connected Cain and Paine because the former uses the words “common sense” all the time and the latter published a very famous pamphlet entited Common Sense.
Here’s the author’s conclusion:
Cain will not be our next president. Even without the sexual harassment scandal, he has neither the necessary funds nor the establishment clout. Plus he is profoundly unprepared for the job. But his strong appeal to a large sector of the American electorate is worth considering precisely because it reveals the strange state of populist politics in this moment of economic crisis and anti-government fervor.
While all of this might very well be true, I think it’s worth noting that all of the people mentioned in the piece because they make frequent use of the term “common sense” don’t really have anything to do with Thomas Paine. No matter how many times Cain or Glenn Beck or Michele Bachmann or whomever else suggests that they’re speaking the language of the common people, it’s important to remember that Paine made the complex language of political philosophy accessible to a broad audience. Cain, Beck, and Bachmann speak to so many of the Tea Party horde precisely because they reject complicated ideas:
Is the government low on funds? Then it should spend less. The dismissal of “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan”— as Cain famously described a nation of 28 million in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network — is a signal that, like anyone else outside the political arena, he knows better than to worry about the pronunciation of such irrelevant places.
Cain makes it sound as if this were a refreshing change of pace. But it’s really only garden-variety populism, a form of pandering and anti-intellectualism that has a long history in America, from Andrew Jackson to Sarah Palin, and which has often been used against comparatively cerebral political opponents, from John Quincy Adams to Barack Obama.
There’s a big difference between a populism that relies on anti-intellectualism and Paine’s populist pamphleteering. Paine swept people up by making the revolutionary rhetoric of the American Founders more accessible to the average person; Cain and Bachmann are just cloaking their inability to understand the sorts of complex problems that come along with governing.
In a speech Saturday to a national meeting of young Republicans, Cain said the Lord persuaded him after much prayer.
“That’s when I prayed and prayed and prayed. I’m a man of faith — I had to do a lot of praying for this one, more praying than I’ve ever done before in my life,” Cain said. “And when I finally realized that it was God saying that this is what I needed to do, I was like Moses. ‘You’ve got the wrong man, Lord. Are you sure?’”
God seems to be playing a joke on Republicans, seeing as how she told, Cain, Bachmann and Perry all to run.
It has been clear for years, from their various skirmishes in their war on women - and particularly the past few years jabs at reproductive health and choice, that women are simply property in the minds of most Republicans. So this kind of middle school attack on a woman is really no surprise.
Cain’s candidacy and promotion by Charles and David Koch is a smoke screen because Herman is never going to win the Republican nomination whether the sexual harassment charges prove false or not. Herman serves two purposes for the Republicans and their masters at Koch Industries. First, Republicans are using Cain to show they are not racists, and second, even though Cain is ahead in some polling, his idiocy serves the purpose of making Willard Romney or Dick Perry look like mainstream, reasonable candidates. However, Romney and Perry are also closely aligned with the Koch brother’s political ideology of reducing corporate tax rates and giving the wealthy lower taxes than the Bush-Republicans. Romney said this summer that, “I love a flat tax,” and Perry has proposed his own flat tax plan that benefits the wealthy and corporations. In 1996 Romney denounced Steve Forbes flat tax proposals as “a tax cut for fat cats,” but since he is pandering for Koch support as a presidential candidate, he suddenly loves them; and they love Willard.
Romney gave a major spending policy speech at the latest Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity Summit and he proposes completely eliminating the estate tax. Only the extremely wealthy ever have to pay estate tax where an estate must be worth at least $5 million ($10 million for married couple); Romney’s plan will save each of the Koch brothers $8.7 billion on their fortunes. Most of the estate tax in the U.S. is paid for by 0.1% of the wealthiest households, and Herman Cain does not possess the economic acumen to think of such an economic boon to the extremely wealthy.
Instead of giving so much attention to Herman’s dalliances and sexual harassment charges, the media needs to investigate the Koch connection to Romney, Perry and Cain. Any one of the Koch-whores are puppets of the billionaire oil magnates, and it doesn’t take a quantum physicist to make the connection to the leading Republican candidates’ and the Libertarians’ policies. At a time when Americans are suffering from Republican policies that created the income inequality in America that concentrates 80% of the nation’s wealth in the top 1%, the last thing the country needs is a Herman Cain, Willard Romney, or Dick Perry in the White House doing the Koch brothers bidding.
Pat Bagley, “High on Koch-Cain.”
Sexual harassment is now nothing. Welcome to the era of gender harassment denialism. The harassment skeptics claim that harassment, like racism, used to exist but is now over. Twenty years ago, when charges were leveled at Clarence Thomas, supporters of the accused refused to take the accuser seriously. Now supporters of the accused refuse to take the accusation itself seriously. We have gone from not knowing what sexual harassment is to not believing it still happens. All in less than 20 years.
This isn’t just an effort to discredit Cain’s accusers. It’s an effort to dissuade women with genuine complaints from coming forward to report them. Recall that one of Cain’s accusers has declined to come forward precisely because she is afraid to be the next Anita Hill. The cost of reporting harassment is not just “the filing fee and a printer.” It’s the fear of being treated precisely the way these still-nameless women have been treated: like hysterics and liars out of the Chaucer era.
The real lies here are the claims of millions of frivolous suits in which jurors award liars with pots of money and television contracts. The legal standard for proving a hostile work environment is high and usually requires showing a pattern of bad behavior. If anything, experts say that the current system under-punishes as opposed to over-punishes, and that most victims of sexual harassment on the job will never come forward at all. As E.J. Graff puts it: “If she leaves and sues, she ruins her standing in her field. She rarely wins—studies show that judges overwhelmingly throw out sexual-harassment allegations on summary judgment, before the case ever goes to trial—unless the behavior is so egregious that even the company’s lawyers know that juries will be appalled.” Sex discrimination still runs rampant. Ian Millhiser cites a new University of Michigan study finding that “one in 10 women in the workplace will at some point be “promised promotion or better treatment if they [are] ‘sexually cooperative’ with a co-worker or supervisor.”
It bears repeating (again): We don’t and may never know the full details of the allegations against Cain. Yet brushing them away as failed jokes or benign compliments to greedy women doesn’t comport with what witnesses are describing: Reports of Cain’s “aggressive and unwanted” behavior toward a subordinate that were “persistent” and spanned “several incidents” may not strike you as serious. But for a young woman, afraid for her job and her reputation, they are career-defining. Nobody is suggesting these claims are necessarily true. But to claim that they must be false because all women lie and all harassers are just joking is a terrifying proposition. Even more than the outright antagonism of so many conservative pundits, what’s worrying to me is the indifference of so many Republican voters: New poll results show that 70 percent of Republicans say the sexual harassment scandal makes no difference in their vote. It’s no longer just a Republican war on women. It’s a war on the idea that any woman might ever tell the truth.
|—||Sharon Bialek, on Herman Cain • Bialek is fourth former Restaurant Association Employee to accuse Cain of sexual harassment—and the first to come forward publicly. For now, we’ll treat these accusations as just that—accusations. Also notable: Bialek is being represented by celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, who’s previously taken on Tiger Woods and Meg Whitman, amongst many others. source (via • follow)|
Huckabee compared Herman Cain’s sexual harassment past to ordering chicken at Popeyes , “Especially, I just adore the staff there because they speak the Southern language that I grew up on and still understand, but in light of the Herman Cain controversy, I realized it might not have been Southern gentility, but sexual harassment, because the ladies behind the counter called me honey, sweetie, and darling. Maybe instead of feeling at home, I should have been offended, called a lawyer and demanded free spicy chicken for life. I mean I should have known something was inappropriate when they asked me if I wanted legs, breasts or thighs, and then they wanted to know did I want them spicy, or what about when they ask if I wanted my tea sweetened?”
Mike Huckabee then attacked Cain’s victims, “Of course I need to wait 15 years before I work up the necessary outrage to come forward with the charges, and even then I need to do it anonymously so that those nice ladies behind the counter are going to dragged through the muckraking and mud throwing media without even knowing who’s accusing them. Look I am not making light of real sexual harassment, but the allegations against a man who is trying to become president are far and away tame compared to the real life actions of men who have actually been president, and whose actions were not 15 years before than ran, but while in office.”
Rachel Maddow realizes that the Cain campaign just has to be performance art. A must watch if you missed it. Is Herman Cain the best troll ever?