I'm one of "those people" Herman Cain and some well known Conservatives have maligned as not "really" being black. In other words, my mother's White and my father's black. But my dad, who's 83 years old, was also born and raised in Lynchburg Va. during the height of segregation. And the both of us share the same take on Herman Cain's meteoric political rise and success in the face of scandal, even as he brings into being "Plan B" of his "suspended' Presidential campaign.
It's simple. He's the Koch brothers' black "brother from another mother." In that role, he's embraced, proclaimed, and embodied the core values and sentiments of the GOP's most extreme free market, religious, Southern, and social Conservatives. But more importantly, he has aggressively channeled and provided camouflage for what many have identified as these Conservatives' race-tinged hatred of Obama and America's diversity.
As such, he seemed to relish promoting animus towards and/or hostile policies affecting the majority of Blacks, Latinos, Muslims, and gays, while hypocritically opposing "government intrusion" into private lives, unless of course it curtailed the sexual, reproductive, and personal freedoms of others. And with his folksy charm, he could scapegoat the poor, sick, vulnerable, long term unemployed (i.e., what Republicans call "non-tax payers"), public sector workers, and racial minorities in ways that reprised the good ole days of the "great communicator," Ronald Reagan. And the GOP base pines for the days when Reagan launched his successful frontal assault on labor unions as well as racial affront to minorities and poor mothers, whom he also falsely and maliciously characterized as Cadillac driving black "welfare queens."
For a sustained period, Cain was the GOP candidate who most successfully stimulated the nostalgia for those days among "the base." With his charisma, charm, and clever wit, he skillfully demonized "social spending" (i.e., what Republicans call, "waste") and "government" for offering those in need a helping hand, while lambasting "liberals" as essentially the "root of all evil" in America and authors of his "high tech lynching." And no doubt, his deep voice and Southern twang helped resonate right-wing heart strings as he vitiated the 99 percent movement, progressives, Civil Rights groups, and the labor movement and gutterized their goal to create a more just, fair, equitable, and perfect Union, i.e., what Conservatives call "communism," "socialism," "fascism," "class warfare," "wealth redistribution," and "black reparations."
No wonder political science professor, Robert C. Smith, has written that the core values of Conservatism and racism in America have always been one and the same. Whether or not a black man articulates and exemplifies them does nothing to change that.
Perhaps that's also why Conservatives like Ann Coulter believe that Blacks such as Cain, Clarence Thomas, Michael Steele, etc., i.e. whom she referred to as, "Our Blacks" (i.e., Conservatives) are superior to whom she called, "Their Blacks" (i.e., Democrats). In other words, Coulter's "Blacks" are "supreme" because they're willing to champion what even recent scientific research has described as anti-social values and white-supremacist /racist values, sentiments, and policy proscriptions of militant Conservatism described above. And therein lies the unique merit of "Coulter's Blacks" - they provide special affordance/license to Whites to not openly express racist sentiments towards Obama and racial minorities, but to simultaneously "self-exonerate" for doing so. BRILLIANT!
Hence the contradiction of White Conservatives who claim their own racial "colorblindness," yet go so overboard in their race-based "admiration," praise, and support of what they call "Our Blacks."
In my view, the most intriguing aspect of Cain's candidacy was that in the face of multiple sexual misconduct allegations made against him by White women he retained exuberant support among Conservatives who have expressed the greatest antipathy towards inter-racial relationships (and Blacks). This includes their willingness to portray a black man (Cain) not only as a victim of "high tech lynching" by "liberals" while they metaphorically "high tech raped" one white woman after another who publicly came out against him and/or condemned his "family values" hypocrisy.
Just think, when my dad was in his thirties, if a black man was accused of merely looking at a White woman in a sexual manner he could be literally lynched, disemboweled, and burned alive by the white "christian conservative" forbears of many of Cain's supporters -- the same "Christians" whom Dr. Martin Luther King chastised in his "Letter From Birmingham Jail" for turning a blind eye to, enabling, and/or participating in the lynchings of black men. The need to self-exonerate from that ugly history and the continuing legacy of its underlying values may well motivate many Conservatives to so enthusiastically support "blacks like Cain."
In my view, Cain has masterfully played that race card and exploited that need. In fact, he added his own flavor to the racial recipe of the Republicans' infamous "Southern Strategy." Despite denials to the contrary, the goal of this ongoing strategy is to stir up racial resentment of Whites towards the overwhelming majority of what Cain called "brainwashed" Blacks (as well as non-White "illegals" etc.). This includes resentment towards "government," "taxes," and "liberals," which are portrayed as enabling lazy, undeserving "moochers," "parasites," and "non-taxpayers" to wreck the economy and our way of life. Cain called his flavorful twist on that racial recipe, "Black Walnut." But it's not a black walnut born of just another mother, but from another tree, albeit a "9-9-9" money tree.
Sadly, I predict that this ironic twist on the GOP's "Southern Strategy" will be the lasting legacy of the "Brother from Another Mother" and what will most likely be his "permanent campaign," as a political force, internet fund raising presence, and public/media celebrity. He will stay in the political game no matter what and will retain significant support not only from the Kochs, but also among many right-wing Whites no matter how his scandals play out for the reasons described above. But he has set the threshold for any Black Conservative who shall follow in his footsteps as a potential Presidential candidate.
They must be as charismatic as Cain and as willing to wrap themselves in the sentiments of the Confederate flag and White Southern Christianity, but also be free of the sexual scandals and imbroglios, especially with White women. That's not cynicism on my part, but rather a reasonable assessment given the consistent and historical behavior of the right-wing's most Conservative elements and the continued morphing of the GOP's "Southern Strategy." Should anyone wish to disprove my assessment of the Koch-Cain campaign legacy, I leave you with the following reasonable proofs that must be demonstrated:
That the GOP/TP base now accepts, believes, and supports the complaints of Black men that they are,
a) the unfair victims of racial profiling by police,
b) unfairly targeted for "Driving While Black," and
c) unjustly subjected to "mass incarceration" criminal "justice" policies that have helped destroy their employment prospects, citizenship participation (e.g., voting), families, and communities.
If such proof cannot be credibly provided then it will prove that the crux of Cain's success and support has been based on a self-serving, racial fantasy that has not and will not convert to greater understanding and empathy towards the plight of the majority of Black men in America. In that case, there will continue to be a fair degree of hostility directed towards any source that exposes the dark underbelly of right-wing racial politics.
But beyond attitudes towards Black men, what will be the legacy of the "Brother from another mother's" candidacy on the attitudes of White Conservatives towards their "Black brothers and sisters from another mother," i.e., Black families? For example, what will they say about the recent Pew Research study, which found that the median net worth of White families is now 20 times greater than Black families? I'll suspect they'll first feign concern about this huge gap much like Cain. For example, in his interview with Sean Hannity when he expressed empathy for those having financial hard times, like the thirteen years of it experienced by Ginger White:
"Sean, unfortunately, I'm a softy, and I feel sorry for people when they get in deep financial trouble, especially given this economy and people being out of work."l
And then the softy Conservative base will reprise Cain's infamous refrain as they give a "fist bump" and heart felt "shout out" to the "Black families" they've now empathically embraced:
It's Your Fault. Blame Yourself.
And then they'll respond to the Tweet from Team Herman Cain to: Please take a moment to encourage Mr. Cain to stay in the race and fight for freedom!
Follow Ronald B. Robinson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/baracksbrain