The Current Crisis

Cain’s Moment

Herman Cain is a gentleman. Lawrence O'Donnell is a bully and a creep.

By 10.13.11

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WASHINGTON -- As an observer on the national scene lo these many years, I have noted time and again that in a discussion of politics the first person to inject the topic of race into the discussion is often the racist. Though that person almost always affects to be without bigotry, in fact he or she is invariably a racist and hopes to emerge from the fracas as the moral colossus. Those who have followed the careers of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Holiness Al Sharpton will get my drift. These frauds would have to be debating George Wallace to be the lesser racists, and frankly I think the contests would be too close to call.

Last week we observed the phenomenon once again. This time it was in a discussion of politics on MSNBC led by Lawrence O'Donnell, who interviewed Herman Cain, the surprising "nonpolitician" who is fast becoming a powerful contender for the Republican presidential nomination. O'Donnell is a white Liberal. Cain is a black conservative. O'Donnell was clearly the racist as he led the discussion with a series of questions that most civilized people would find bizarre. O'Donnell was also a bully and a creep. The way his eyes rarely moved while he was directing a clearly offensive line of questioning to Cain suggests that he probably was not aware that his behavior was offensive. Sociopaths can be TV interviewers too.

Since Cain came in second in a straw poll in Florida, his star has been in the ascendency. Now he is polling ahead of Mitt Romney in South Carolina. He has pulled even in Virginia, and is on the march almost everywhere. I say another appearance with the racist O'Donnell and he will be preparing to move into the White House.

O'Donnell's line in interviewing Cain is typical of how Liberals treat conservative blacks, and white America does not like it. I doubt black America does either. O'Donnell might actually be a unifier, uniting all America once and for all against those who try to divide us along the lines of race. His lines of attack were breathtaking in their hypocrisy. First he attacked Cain for dodging the draft when Cain was working for the Navy in field ballistics and was asked by the Navy to continue his work as a civilian. He did. O'Donnell for his part never wore a uniform and never served in any branch of the armed forces. He got a deferment. Then he accused Cain of not supporting the civil rights movement by obeying his father and finishing high school and college. O'Donnell never aided the civil rights movement and did not perform particularly well in college. Still he accused Cain of standing on the sidelines during the civil rights movement. O'Donnell was in the bleachers.

In his interview he accused Cain of "insulting the intelligence of all blacks" for using the word "brainwash" to refer to voting automatically Liberal. With the utmost calm Cain replied, "I did not insult the intelligence of all black Americans. I insulted the attitude of those who will not consider an alternate idea." And Cain went on to say that black people "did not consider my statements insulting because a lot of them are thinking for themselves." Then Cain did what a clever politician does. He turned around and focused not on himself defensively but on the president aggressively.

"Now, if they want to talk about insulting, they need to look at the president when he talks to the Congressional Black Caucus and insulted black people," said Cain. "In my opinion, by telling them to take off their slippers and put on their marching boots, when he has had nothing but failed policies." The other night in debate he did the same, defending his "9-9-9" policy program confidently. He does this with a cheerful demeanor that no one else in the race can muster. Cain is perfectly comfortable in debate and on the campaign trail.

His secret is that he is a superior gent. He has the best analytical mind of anyone in the race and the best disposition. That is a pretty good definition of character. O'Donnell is the opposite.

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About the Author
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is the author of The Death of Liberalism, published by Thomas Nelson Inc. His previous books include the New York Times bestseller Boy Clinton: the Political Biography; The Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton; The Liberal Crack-Up; The Conservative Crack-Up; Public Nuisances; The Future that Doesn't Work: Social Democracy's Failure in Britain; Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House; The Clinton Crack-Up; and After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery.