FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Herman’s Antics

America’s political labelers always get busy during campaigns.  The ‘Black Reagan’, however complimentary one might take it, has been used to describe the rapid rise of Republican contender Herman Cain.  ‘In the firmness and cheerfulness of his conservatism, Herman Cain is the black Reagan.  That may be enough to overcome Mr. Romney’s logistical advantages’ (Courier Times, Oct 19).

Much of the political arsenal Cain offers lies in charm and conviction.  The heart that beats within might well be dark and sinister, but that need not matter.  The seductive smile, the winning manner, sometimes does the trick.  ‘Everybody liked Herman because his personality was so open and friendly and not abrasive’, claimed a colleague at the Kansas City Fed.

Cain has, however, run into trouble. Campaigning in the self-appointed leader of the free world has various occupational hazards.  Misdirected amorous interests can be some of them.  With stray hands and accusations of sexual harassment, Cain’s star is rapidly falling.

His accusers are also suffering the tarnishing brush.  Sharon Bialek, who was first in line with accusing Cain of sexual impropriety, has been served with eviction papers for being $7,500 in arrears over her rent.  (In act of pure tastelessness, her 13-year-old son was home to receive the process server.)  Ginger White, another accuser who claims to have been in a 13 year extramarital affair with the presidential hopeful, has also been hard up on cash.

To destroy their credibility, the Cain camp has painted them as opportunists seeking to poke around his pocket, and elsewhere.  Those higher up in the social rung kick downwards.  Again, that old issue of gender has cropped up – the ‘sexed’ exploitative woman seeking to bring down an ambitious man who stumbles without malice.  That these women might themselves have been invitingly vulnerable targets to a person in Cain’s position is not something that is entertained.

Love’s worth is hard to measure in money terms, and the financial pull of Cain is something that those on both sides of politics are questioning.  American politics is perched on the rhetoric of idealism but expressed in the form of hard cash.  Barack Obama’s light on the hill messages were backed by a suit for lobbying and firm knowledge of Chicago’s political swill machine.  Ending September 30, the Cain campaign had expended a mere $1.9 million.  Mitt Romney and Rep. Bachmann had, in contrast, forked out $12 million and $5.9 million respectively.

Nothing is clear on the Republican side in this presidential contest. The menu of political options is muddled and disorganized.  At the moment, hopefuls are jockeying and disintegrating.  Cain is treated as a fix, ‘somebody who was wandering through the emergency ward and was mistaken for a serious player’, claims Charles Cook, Democratic analyst.  Romney has been called ‘versatile’ by George Will, which is not always a good thing in the cold eye of the voter.  One voter’s versatile politician is another’s flip flopping acrobat, unreliable in the face of adversity.  The fact that Obamacare is apparently based on a variant of Romneycare that was pioneered in Massachusetts makes a kiss of death seem inviting.  Romney, it seems, is doomed to be the impressive politician who will occupy a box on the ballot but have few ticks.

Cain may well sizzle and flare, then whimper into oblivion with a cheery smile.  According to David Brooks of the New York Times, the Cain campaign has been absurd from the start for being run on the idea that the candidate is not actually running for president (Opinionator, NYT, Nov 30).  The only thing Cain knows about foreign affairs, quotes Brooks from a tweet, is that he denies having any.  Cain may well have been lit a stake – the only problem now is where he puts it.

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge University. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

More articles by:

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

August 15, 2018
Jason Hirthler
Russiagate and the Men with Glass Eyes
Paul Street
Omarosa’s Book Tour vs. Forty More Murdered Yemeni Children
Charles Pierson
Is Bankruptcy in Your Future?
George Ochenski
The Absolute Futility of ‘Global Dominance’ in the 21st Century
Gary Olson
Are We Governed by Secondary Psychopaths
Fred Guerin
On News, Fake News and Donald Trump
Arshad Khan
A Rip Van Winkle President Sleeps as Proof of Man’s Hand in Climate Change Multiplies and Disasters Strike
P. Sainath
The Unsung Heroism of Hausabai
Georgina Downs
Landmark Glyphosate Cancer Ruling Sets a Precedent for All Those Affected by Crop Poisons
Rev. William Alberts
United We Kneel, Divided We Stand
Chris Gilbert
How to Reactivate Chavismo
Kim C. Domenico
A Coffeehouse Hallucination: The Anti-American Dream Dream
August 14, 2018
Daniel Falcone
On Taking on the Mobilized Capitalist Class in Elections: an Interview With Noam Chomsky
Karl Grossman
Turning Space Into a War Zone
Jonah Raskin
“Fuck Wine Grapes, Fuck Wines”: the Coming Napafication of the World
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Bites Big Business
Alberto Zuppi - Cesar Chelala
Argentina at a Crossroads
Chris Wright
On “Bullshit Jobs”
Rosita A. Sweetman
Dear Jorge: On the Pope’s Visit to Ireland
Binoy Kampmark
Authoritarian Revocations: Australia, Terrorism and Citizenship
Sara Johnson
The Incredible Benefits of Sagebrush and Juniper in the West
Martin Billheimer
White & Red Aunts, Capital Gains and Anarchy
Walter Clemens
Enough Already! Donald J. Trump Resignation Speech
August 13, 2018
Michael Colby
Migrant Injustice: Ben & Jerry’s Farmworker Exploitation
John Davis
California: Waging War on Wildfire
Alex Strauss
Chasing Shadows: Socialism Won’t Go Away Because It is Capitalism’s Antithesis 
Kathy Kelly
U.S. is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen
Fran Shor
The Distemper of White Spite
Chad Hanson
We Know How to Protect Homes From Wildfires. Logging Isn’t the Way to Do It
Faisal Khan
Nawaz Sharif: Has Pakistan’s Houdini Finally Met his End?
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Versus Journalism: the Travails of Fourth Estate
Wim Laven
Honestly Looking at Family Values
Fred Gardner
Exploiting Styron’s Ghost
Dean Baker
Fact-Checking the Fact-Checker on Medicare-for-All
Weekend Edition
August 10, 2018
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Militarizing Space: Starship Troopers, Same As It Ever Was
Andrew Levine
No Attack on Iran, Yet
Melvin Goodman
The CIA’s Double Standard Revisited
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Grifter’s Lament
Aidan O'Brien
In Italy, There are 12,000 American Soldiers and 500,000 African Refugees: Connect the Dots 
Robert Fantina
Pity the Democrats and Republicans
Ishmael Reed
Am I More Nordic Than Members of the Alt Right?
Kristine Mattis
Dying of Consumption While Guzzling Snake Oil: a Realist’s Perspective on the Environmental Crisis
James Munson
The Upside of Defeat
Brian Cloughley
Pentagon Spending Funds the Politicians
Pavel Kozhevnikov
Cold War in the Sauna: Notes From a Russian American
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail