The Fall of Herman Cain: A Conservative’s Lament
By: David Bozeman
There is not much original left to say. No, it is not fair that the media has taken out yet another charismatic conservative. Yes, the media actively promoted its preferred candidate, Barack Obama, in 2008, with very little vetting and no concern over his dubious associations and radical worldview.
But I’m going to say it anyway. The mainstream media would rather search the closets of Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, Sarah Palin, and now Herman Cain for skeletons rather than it would examine the cozy relationship between the current administration and Solyndra. For every American who knows that Herman Cain gave money to a woman claiming to be his mistress, how many dozens don’t know that the Democrats are today’s true darlings of Wall Street, raking in over $15 million, far ahead of any of the GOP presidential contenders. To those who remark that Cain has no one to blame but himself, that he fumbled in response to the sexual misconduct allegations, just what IS the correct method for mollifying a media hostile not only to conservatism but to its messengers? And then there is this faux concern over his — gasp! — hesitation in responding to a question about Libya. You want to talk about verbal gaffes (“57 states,” mispronouncing ‘corpsman’), outright errors (confusing Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day) and rambling sentences of incoherence when unaided by a teleprompter? Look no further than our much-lauded 44th president.
True, highlighting a previous error does not excuse a current error. But employing double standards typically allows the cads and charlatans to assume leadership, while the more humble either sit out the race or fumble over their own words, convicting themselves just by looking guilty. Bill Clinton, who, in fact, broke the law and pressured female subordinates for sexual favors, escaped impeachment unscathed and is today the most revered elder of the Democratic Party. Go figure.
Once could write a book detailing the double standards, but let’s cut to the chase here — Herman Cain deserved better than what he got, both from the left AND the right. Political junkies and commentators are so consumed with numbers — the debt, the deficit, unemployment figures — that we overlook the human faces of daily discourse. Debate performances, poll numbers, interviews, etc., are parsed by the hour, thus even some conservatives lose sight of the bigger picture, which is that Herman Cain, whether he was fit to be president or not, deserves a standing ovation before the 2012 process officially begins.
Before becoming president, Barack Obama authored The Audacity of Hope. The president might want to pull up a chair and take notes, for Herman Cain could teach him a thing or two about audacity. Try being a black conservative and alienating yourself to over 90% of your family and friends. The same reporters who teared up on Election Night ’08 found little or no inspiration in Herman Cain, who remembers separate water fountains in segregation-era Georgia, vaulting from obscurity to become, briefly, a front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, truly a first for a black American. Forget the generic niceties we’re hearing — ‘he expanded the debate, ‘he livened up the discussion’ — Herman Cain merits praise for exemplifying the strength of CHARACTER. When society’s givers and takers are listed, Cain surely ranks at or near the top of the former, never losing his dignity or his trademark sense of humor, which he famously reminded this country we need more of! We need more Americans like Herman and Gloria Cain, who, unlike another famous power couple, have never said one disparaging word about the United States and have only sought to restore our greatness as opposed to transforming it.
Politics is a tough arena, and Mr. Cain deserves praise for suffering the bruises (though he deservedly enjoyed basking in the limelight). America is a great nation not because of the aptitude of it leaders but because of the goodness of its people, and the example of Herman Cain and his like will far outlive today’s sordid, one-dimensional news cycle.