Free Markets, Free People

Herman Cain

Romney wins Iowa … or something

Ok, just being flip, but I’ve never really thought that much of the caucus process and still don’t.  All this excitement, work and rhetoric over approximately 225,000 votes.  Yes I understand the possibility of winnowing the field (think Newt will finally take the hint?).

So Romney won – by 8 votes out of about 225,000 total.  That’s not as surprising to me, frankly, than who came in second.  Very disappointing to the Paulbots, I’m sure.  But Rick Santorum?  Seriously?

And will Huntsman, Bachman, and Perry drop out or hang on through New Hampshire?  After all it’s not that long till NH and again, Iowa is a caucus state.   I don’t see any of the three doing significantly better there than Iowa, but still they may give it a shot.

Cain was beaten by “no preference”.  The only “candidate” missing, as far as I’m concerned, was “none of the above”.  My guess is NOTA had a shot at at least 2nd or 3rd, and who knows, with that field, might of pulled out a win.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Cain, politics, personal behavior and “the truth” (update)

A couple of polls have emerged since the charges of sexual harassment by Herman Cain, a GOP presidential candidate, were first surfaced by POLITICO. The reason the two polls are meaningful is they essentially address the same issue and come to much the same conclusion.

That is, the personal behavior of candidates matters to voters.  But, as I’ve observed it over the years, it means less to some voters than others.  Oh, by the way, when asked a question about morality, how do you suppose most people will respond?  Just sayin’.

But with those caveats let’s take a look.  First the Reuters/Ipsos poll:

The poll showed the percentage of Republicans who view Cain favorably dropped 9 percentage points, to 57 percent from 66 percent a week ago.

Among all registered voters, Cain’s favorability declined 5 percentage points, to 32 percent from 37 percent.

The survey represents the first evidence that sexual harassment claims dating from Cain’s time as head of the National Restaurant Association have taken a toll on his presidential campaign.

A majority of respondents, 53 percent, believe sexual harassment allegations against Cain are true despite his denials. Republicans were less likely to believe they are true, with 39 percent thinking they are accurate.

Now I’m not sure yet how anyone can flatly say or believe the allegations are “true” based on what has so far been revealed about the alleged harassment.  So far the most we know is that 3 women claim to have been victims of “sexual harassment” and two were paid a sum to settle some sort of harassment claims.   And we’ve had one, through her lawyer, anonymously announce she stands by her allegations.  But what exactly are those allegations.   Are they of the Bob Packwood variety?  Or the Bill Clinton variety.  Right now we just don’t know.

While one might conclude that something went on then, it still isn’t clear that the allegations are “true”.   For instance, one could ask, was it cheaper for the Restaurant Association to pay off these women (most likely without admitting any guilt) than to pay armies of lawyers to fight the charges?  We don’t know.   And that sort of doubt and uncertainty casts any thoughts of “the allegations are true” out the window.  We need a lot more information to put “true” or “false” to this.  

But look at the effect it has had.  The unfortunate result of politics today.  This is hardly uncommon.

The second poll was taken by The Hill.

The results of this week’s The Hill Poll indicate that 85 percent of voters regard the way a politician conducts his or her private life as important to how he or she might discharge public duties. Forty-seven percent regard the candidate’s private life as “very important” and 38 percent say it is “somewhat important” in this regard.

The Hill Poll also suggests that 67 percent of voters feel presidential politics have become dirtier over the past generation, while a mere 4 percent say they have become cleaner. Roughly 1 in 4, or 27 percent, believe the ethical nature of presidential battles has stayed about the same as it was in the past.

Those two points sort of explain the politics of personal destruction.  Now I’m again not saying Herman Cain isn’t guilty of sexual harassment.   I simply don’t know at this point.   But I think the results in the poll point out why such allegations surfaced.   I’m of the opinion politics have gotten “dirtier” in the past generation and I think the reason is found in the first paragraph.  It is an easy way to knock out a contender or a threat.  Its that simple.

Politicians will drop to the lowest level of politicking in heart-beat if they perceive a benefit to them in doing so.  And in the last generation we’ve seen leaps of light years in mass communications.  It is much easier to get things like these allegations (with little factual support to this point) out there and going viral.

It’s a bit like the utility of saying something in court you know the judge is going to strike down if you’re a lawyer.  The judge may order it stricken from the record and tell the jury to disregard what was said, but we all know you can’t do that no matter how the judge insists.  The statement just lays there.  Once out of the jar, it can’t be put back in.

Secondly, this sort of an allegation has a tendency to have a weird bandwagon effect.  Remember Tiger Woods and his infidelity?  As soon as the name of one woman surfaced, women from all over raised their hands and said “me too”!  I’m not alleging Cain is like Woods, I’m just pointing out a phenomenon that’s fairly common.    In the case of Cain, these allegations may bring others out who may or may not have a valid claim, but whose mere surfacing will lend credibility to the former allegations.

Again, a technique that’s been used successfully in the past in all sorts of ways. 

Which brings me to the question, where did these allegations come from.  I know they were published in a story by POLITICO, but few if any reporters sniff out stuff like this.  They’re usually handed a tip by someone.  Cain’s campaign immediately claimed it was Rick Perry’s campaign.  The usual denials took place and the Cain campaign backed off.

Cain’s campaign knew this was coming 10 days before it was published.   They did absolutely nothing to address it or try to diminish its impact.  That either speaks of political naivety or the belief that there was no substance to the reported allegations (which brings us back to point one about political naivety).   Consequently when it hit, it hit hard and the polls show the result.  For someone, I’d guess, that was the desired result.

Oh, and one more little fact from the Hill poll that is a huge factor in all of this:

News organizations are viewed poorly in terms of political neutrality and their broader ethical conduct.

Gee, there’s a surprise, no?

It will be interesting to see whether Cain can weather these allegations and regain his momentum.  But the fact that he’s battling nebulous allegations of decades old sexual harassment claims certainly gives me an idea of the type of campaign we’ll witness in the coming 12 months.

If you thought it was dirty out there in politics land before, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

UPDATE: The bandwagon effect.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Observations: The QandO Podcast for 06 Oct 11 (UPDATED)

In this podcast, Bruce Michael, and Dale discuss Herman Cain, the Occupy Movement, and Europe.

UPDATE: Well, no sooner do I post this podcast where I question why the Chinese would be interested in pouring some money into the European Stabilization Fund, the Chinese provide an answer. They wouldn’t.

Also last night, the chairman of the supervisory board of China Investment Corporation, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, put further distance between China and the eurozone bail-out, saying that Europe’s bloated welfare state meant that people did not work hard enough.

“I think if you look at the troubles which happened in European countries, this is purely because of the accumulated troubles of their worn out welfare societies,” Jin Liqun said in an interview with Al Jazeera television. “I think the labour laws are outdated – the labour laws induce sloth, indolence rather than hard working. The incentive system is totally out of whack.”

Eurozone leaders had been hoping that China would use some of its trade surplus to back the bail-out fund.

Now they need to hope something else.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

Looking for Ronald Reagan

A poll out today shows that even with all the early debates and attention GOP presidential candidates have gotten to this point, most Republican voters remain uncommitted:

About eight in 10 Republican primary voters say it is still too early to tell whom they will support, and just four in 10 say they have been paying a lot of attention to the 2012 presidential campaign, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Herman Cain, the former restaurant executive, is riding a wave of support among Republican primary voters that has placed him in a statistical dead heat with rival Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, in a race that has been characterized by momentum swings among the candidates.

The poll found Mr. Cain with the highest level of support, with 25 percent of Republican primary voters, and Mr. Romney with 21 percent. This difference is within the poll’s margin of sampling error.

Adding to the fluidity of the contest, about one in 10 Republican primary voters say they would like to see someone else nominated.

As bad as President Obama might be, it is clear that there is no particular love to be found for the present Republican field.   Perry has all but imploded, Bachman continues to marginalize herself, Paul has a rabid but small contingent of supporters but can never seem to get beyond that, Gingrich has way too much baggage, Santorum is a marginal candidate at best and Mitt Romney is the nominee of last resort.

The reason, in my opinion, that Herman Cain has risen in the polls is because he comes from a background of business success.  He reflects a desire by many to have someone who can take the reins of the government and steer in such a way that it becomes a help to our economy, not a hindrance and drag.  His increased support speaks to a desire for someone in office with economic and business experience.  

But I think there’s also a great desire, so far unfulfilled, for someone who has a clear vision that can be articulated and that captures the imagination and revives the spirit.  And while Cain may fill the practical side of the equation, at least to an acceptable extent, he’s not been able to fulfill the “vision quest” part.   As gifted an orator as he might be and despite the fact he’s got practical and successful business he’s not been able to persuade enough Republican voters to come to his side to put him in the unassailable lead.

And of course neither have any of the others.

Republicans are still looking for Ronald Reagan.  A man or woman who can not only lift the malaise but lift the spirit as well.   Who can not only apply practical principled solutions to our problems but make America feel good about itself again. 

Right now, that person isn’t yet in the race, or if he or she is, they’ve not emerged as such.   This country is in desperate want of inspiration, reassurance and practical experience.   The current candidates just aren’t measuring up to that want or need.   Thus the poll results.

Is there a Ronald Regan out there?  Is there a candidate that will finally step forward and fulfill those voter wants as Reagan did when running against Jimmy Carter.

I often wonder what the outcome might have been had any of these candidates running for the GOP nomination today had been the choice against Carter.  I’m not so sure Carter would have lost.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Observations: The QandO Podcast for 23 Oct 11

In this podcast, Bruce Michael, and Dale discuss el-Awlaki Herman Cain and OWS.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

Irony: Racism is alive and well on the left

As Herman Cain rises in the polls, the race warlords and their enablers are dusting off their tired old arguments and attacking the black man who has had the temerity to wander off the plantation and dares to buck the conventional wisdom.

First up was Harry Belafonte, ripping into Cain as a “bad apple” and claimed he has no authority to talk about “the pride of people of color.”   No one is sure what gives Belafonte such “authority” but he certainly had no problem exercising it on “The View” in answer to questions by enabler Joy Behar.

Behar opened the floor to the topic on her program tonight, noting Cain’s comments and asking for a response. “It’s very hard to comment on someone who is so denied intelligence,” Belafonte replied, “someone who has denied such a view of history.” Adding that Cain only believed that because “he happened to have good fortune, a moment when he broke through– the moment someone blinked,” he insisted statistics on the number of black people in the American prison system and the exorbitant unemployment rate in the black community clearly disproved Cain’s point.

The comment by Cain to which Belafonte was replying  was that racism isn’t  “hold[ing] anybody back in a big way today.”  Cain just doesn’t see racism as a significant problem for blacks this day. 

Notice the premise of Belafonte’s attack.  Someone “blinked”.  He means, of course, some whites obviously screwed up and let a black man slip through a crack and succeed.  The obvious implication is that such a thing is a) unusual and b) a mistake.   Belafonte also implies that Cain’s success is a matter of “good fortune” and not talent, drive, hard work or an entrepreneurial spirit.

He simply lucked out and was in the right place at the right time when the racist white power structure screwed up and let the black guy succeed.

Of course, one has to understand what a significant threat Herman Cain’s success and popularity are to those who’ve made a business and significant living in the racial hatred field.  If Herman Cain is right, they’re out of business.  

So how does one maintain the myth that racism is a significant problem today for people of color?  And what must those who’ve built a very nice lifestyle doing so do when that myth is attacked and threatens that lifestyle?

Attack the miscreant that is voicing this heresy and destroy his credibility, of course.   The politics of personal destruction, something at which the left is quite accomplished.   Herman Cain is the new Clarence Thomas.

Appearing Monday on "CNN Newsroom," PBS host Tavis Smiley and Princeton University Professor Dr. Cornell West –the brain trust for the 18-city "Poverty Tour" that aims to highlight the plight of poor people– begged to differ.

"There are disparities in this country in every [socioeconomic] factor that we follow.  In every aspect of our human endeavors in this country there is a racial disparity element that’s a part of it. It’s almost silly to respond to [Cain] because the evidence is so overwhelming," Smiley said in the interview with CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux.

"There’s disparity in healthcare. There’s disparity economically."

West, taking a sharper route, also challenged Cain’s understanding of the economic issues that affect black Americans, saying, "Black people have been working hard for decades. I think [Cain] needs to get off the symbolic crack pipe and acknowledge the evidence is overwhelming."

Overwhelming in what way?  If a true disparity exists, is it a result of racism or could it have its roots in another area?  The lazy answer is “racism”.  It’s the easy way out.  It is the route that doesn’t demand internal self-examination and self-criticism.  It is the blame-shifting way which results in the maintenance of the threatened lifestyle. 

Black “leaders” continue to blame the problems in the black community on whites and continue to stay in the racism business while nothing changes in the black community.

How shallow is the argument?   Well, look at Tavis Smiley’s “proof” of racism today:

Smiley referenced this political shift, saying that Cain’s comments about the insignificance of racism can be attributed, in part, to how these views will resonate with Republican voters.

"Herman Cain is trying to get the GOP nomination," Smiley said. "When you’re running for the nomination of a Republican Party…these are the kind of statements that you make that play to your base. It’s politics."

Smiley continued, saying that President Barack Obama’s rendezvous with racism should be noted.

"There’s no comparison in history for any president that’s had a budget the size of the Secret Service budget now just to protect Barack Obama and we’re talking about whether or not [Cain] has a point about racism in America?"

That’s the proof – the Secret Service has a bigger budget now than in the past, Obama is a black man, therefore the budget increase must be proof that racists are trying to harm a black man who happens to be president.

Really?   Note the underpants gnome approach to that conclusion by a supposed educator.  Logic free, correlation is causation.

This is what the race baiters are reduced too right now.  Illogic and irrationality.  Anything necessary to keep the genie in the bottle. These sorts of attacks and the type of attack Lawrence O’Donnell launched on Herman Cain in an interview are what you will see in the coming weeks if Cain continues to rise in the polls.

Barack Obama is acceptable to the race warlords because they can spin him as a black man who succeeded on their terms.  Herman Cain, on the other hand, is a threat to every premise and myth they hope keep alive.  

Herman Cain is a threat to the race warlords because he is ready to put the “racism” claim to death.  He’s the proven exception to the race warlord’s cherished premises.  Smart people know Cain’s success can’t be relegated to “good fortune” and white racists letting down their guard.   Cain is everything the racebaiters say is impossible for a black man in America to accomplish.  And, of course, he doesn’t toe the line they have drawn to keep the race war alive and profitable.

Herman Cain has to go and you can count on the usual suspects to do everything in their power to discredit and destroy the man.  Instead of taking pride in the success of a man of color, the Belafonte’s, Smiley’s and Sharpton’s of this world want him gone.

Irony.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Who is the “racist” here?

I don’t fling the “R” word around much, because it is a pretty loaded word.  But every now and then you come across something that just requires its use.

One of the things I’ve noticed about many “progressives” is their smug belief that they’re untainted by racism while most of those on the right are completely eaten up with it.  So what they tend to do is try to validate that belief with outlandish and absurd scenarios that they obviously believe because they actually put them out publicly with a straight face.

For example, take Janeane Garofalo’s recent rambling thoughts on why GOP presidential nominee Herman Cain is in the race.   It has nothing to do with his political desires or issues he’d like to effect.  It has nothing to do with his life’s experiences and how they’ve shaped his political beliefs.

Nope, it has to do with his race and a conspiracy by Republicans to appear to not be what Gerafalo is sure they are.  Thus this explanation:

“It’s actually not new,” Garofalo said. “It’s from the first time I ever saw him, especially after the first Fox debate and Frank Luntz as you know, has zero credibility — has these alleged ‘just plain folks’ polls after these Fox debates — and he asked who won the debate. And he was just about to say raise your hand if you support and before he finished, everybody’s hand went up to support Herman Cain. So it seemed as if they had been coached to support Herman Cain.

“I believe Herman Cain is in this presidential race because he deflects the racism that is inherent in the Republican Party, the conservative movement, the tea party certainly, and the last 30 years, the Republican Party has been moving more and more the right, also race-baiting more, gay-baiting more, religion-baiting more.”

You might believe she was saying all of that to comfort herself and deny the reality that the GOP actually none of the above.  She has obviously been a leftist Kool Aid drinker for years and this is the litany they believe despite facts to the contrary.  Thus it is important to those like Garafalo that they “refute” this new reality by claiming, without evidence (or by making up stuff – coached?), to fit in their manufactured reality.

Herman Cain, in Garofalo’s world and the world of many on the progressive left, is a race traitor.  He can’t be a serious candidate, because she assumes anyone with black skin must reject the right because the right is “inherently racist”.   Of course that must make Allen West, Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley all racial plants as well.  But to explain people like this, it requires a grand conspiracy designed to “deflect” attention away from that “inherent racism” assumed by Garofalo’s ilk:

“But Herman Cain, I feel like, is being paid by somebody to be involved and to run for president so that you go, ‘Oh, they can’t be racist. It’s a black guy. It’s a black guy asking for Obama to be impeached’ or ‘It’s a black guy who is anti-Muslim,’ or ‘It’s a black guy who is a tea party guy,’” she continued. “I feel like, well wouldn’t that suit the purposes of whomever astroturfs these things, whether it be the Koch Brothers or ALEC or Grover Norquist or anything. It could even be Karl Rove. ‘Let’s get Herman Cain involved so it deflects the obvious racism of our Republican Party.’”

The absurdity of Garofalo’s theory is evident to anyone who knows even a little bit about Herman Cain.  He’s no one’s dupe.  But to the racist left he’s the Clarence Thomas of the political world.  “How dare he wander off the plantation.  We want our escaped slave back!”

Yeah, harsh, I know – but deserved.  Garofalo comes from a long line of projecting progressives who hide their inherent racism with ignorant utterings like this.   The purpose is to warn other blacks away from such behavior, i.e. thinking for themselves, and to again try to use racism as a potent charge against the right.   It is all about narrative building.  

The problem for Garofalo is she comes off as ignorant and transparent in her attempt.  Stupid.  She still doesn’t understand that in terms of narrative, that ship sank long ago.  It is both insulting to Herman Cain and other blacks who’ve chosen the right because that’s where they feel most comfortable  and revealing about Garafalo and where the real “inherent racism” lies.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Chauncey De Vega doubles down on “stupid”

First, I have no idea who “Chauncey De Vega” is.  But I do know his type. So when the story broke about his post on AlterNet calling Herman Cain a “monkey” and a “minstrel”, I thought it something that others could handle quite well, thank you very much.

And, deservedly, De Vega was roundly criticized – not only for the language he used, but for the stereotypical and foundationless characterizations he used in his absurd commentary.  Just another in a long line of clueless, historically ignorant and confused “commenters” on racial issues who feel the need to use inflammatory language to be noticed.  Another race obsessed jerk who cannot fathom that others of his race may, through their own experiences in life, see things of a political nature different than he does.  Apparently he is “the one” that decides what is proper and acceptable for blacks to believe and anyone who doesn’t toe that line is a “race traitor”.  In his post, Herman Cain was the race traitor of the day.

Today De Vega doubled down on his stupid rant.  AlterNet, where the original was posted, made it clear that his first post was in the “Speak Easy” which is a forum provided by AlterNet for “unedited” pieces.  This follow up was in a different area which means, one assumes, that De Vega was edited and the inflammatory name calling was deleted prior to publication.  Of course that doesn’t change the substance, and the substance, such that it is, isn’t much more acceptable, intellectually, than was the original post.

Why?  Because it is an exercise is attempting to justify being an ignorant jerk.  It sheds no new light on anything except the writer’s prejudices – which he willingly exposes.  One assumes he thinks he’s being convincing, but a quick read through the piece leaves you with the understanding that this is simply “stereotypes are us” on steroids.  There’s really nothing thought provoking or even particularly interesting about De Vega’s words.   It is the work of a man whose mind was made up years ago and who now proudly wears the blinders of ignorance for all to see.

As most race-baiters realize, the absence of racism within today’s society would be a disaster for them.  They’ve built a cottage industry around the word and are seeing their bread and butter slip away.  De Vega is reduced to mischaracterizing the speech of another black man (I heard the speech), denigrating him and his beliefs and thereby indicting the crowd that listened and cheered his words as “white masters” to keep the hate alive.

Peddling racial hate is a much tougher job today as witnessed by the fact that he and others feel it necessary to attack any black who strays from what they consider the only way blacks should think.  Those sorts of successful blacks give lie to their race-baiting rhetoric.  The Chauncey De Vegas of this world deserve the all the condemnation and derision they earn through their vile and hateful rhetoric.  They belong in a past era of this country’s racial history and are no more acceptable today than is the KKK.  Ironically, both, as it turns out, are in the business of trying to sell the very same thing.

~McQ

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