It had been a while since Herman Cain first caught my eye when he said he wouldn't appoint Muslims to his cabinet. Since then, his bigotry had been eclipsed by his stupidity and ignorance (to say nothing of his alleged sexual harassment), from repeatedly contradicting himself on abortion rights in a matter of seconds, to his laughably muddied "thoughts" (if you can even call them that without insulting actual thoughts) on Libya, and the list goes on. But his bigotry is now making a comeback into the spotlight.
In news that just broke yesterday, Cain was caught flaunting his bigotry yet again. He recounted an incident during his chemotherapy when he discovered that one of his surgeons was named "Dr. Abdallah." Cain reportedly told the physician's assistant that while he had nothing against foreign doctors, he was concerned because "Dr. Abdallah... sounded too foreign" (not too cryptic, as you're about to see). When the assistant told Cain that the doctor was from Lebanon, he grew even more concerned, and his face could no longer hide it. That's when she told him "don't worry, Mr. Cain, he's a Christian from Lebanon." Cain responded with "Hallelujah! Thank God!" It is not so much that Cain harbors some bigoted phobia of Muslim doctors that's most interesting; it's that harboring anti-Muslim feelings is taken as a good thing to flaunt while seeking national office.
This comes on the heels of Cain's recently expressed belief that the majority of American Muslims are extremists, based on the knowledge of a "very prominent voice in the Muslim community" whom he refused to name. Of course, neither Zuhdi Jasser nor Hermain Cain's suppressed alter-ego is a particularly prominent voice in the Muslim community, so the two most plausible suspects for providing this insight are out. Whoever his source is, his allegation is so outrageous that even right-wing blogger Jennifer Rubin came out against it. Let this sink in: the "journalist" who eagerly rushed to blame Muslims for the Oslo terrorist attack over the summer, before she was embarrassed by refuting evidence, thought Cain was not being fair to Muslims. It doesn't matter whether Rubin was under pressure to write this piece after the Washington Post's ombudsman admitted that her endorsement of a hateful rant "did damage to the Post and the credibility that keeps it afloat"; Cain's reprehensible views still provided that opportunity.
I am not attempting to exaggerate the sentiment, I genuinely cannot think of a bigger indictment of American political culture than that a disastrous clown of Cain's proportions can continue to be taken seriously as a presidential contender. The man makes Sarah Palin look like an intellectual, and Newt Gingrich like a compassionate 'Kumbaya' chorus leader. Yes, there is crippling ideological partisanship, and there is widespread misinformation and lack of awareness of a multitude of problems facing our country; all of which is disappointing but comprehensible given the entrenched powers in our system that are using effective propaganda to promote their interests. But that Herman Cain's bid for the presidency is not so transparently ridiculous to most people tells us something very frightening about America's political culture.
On the bright side, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart will be even funnier this campaign season.