Top Things that Should have Disqualified Cain before Now

The most alarming thing about Herman Cain’s “suspension” of his presidential campaign is what it took to drag him off the stage. It wasn’t his cruelty, sexism, arrogance or rank ignorance about the world. But it should have been.

Herman Cain advocated electrifying a border fence to fry Mexicans sneaking across the border.

Cain predicted that the suggestion would be considered “insensitive.” He said that what is insensitive is that Mexicans come to the US and kill “our citizens.” Illegal immigration is a crime, but it is not a capital crime for which one would be executed, except perhaps in North Korea or other paranoid, totalitarian states. Murder rates have fallen in the United States, including in border states such as Arizona, in recent years, and decades of research has shown that immigrants are no more likely to commit crimes than citizens. Cain’s lack of respect for human life and his stereotyping of Latinos as especially violent murderers mean that Cain should have been out right there.

Cain alleged that China is “trying” to develop a “nuclear capability.” China’s first nuclear test took place in 1964. The country is estimated to have over 100 nuclear armed ballistic missiles, some 20 of which have a range such as to be able to hit the United States.

The Onion as usual gets this right.

Cain should have been out right there.

Cain insists that women who are raped must bear the rapist’s child if they become pregnant.

Some 25,000 women are made pregnant by rapists every year in the United States. While women who wish to bear the child should be respected, no one should force a woman at the point of a policeman’s gun to be the baby mama of her rapist.

Cain should have been out right there.

Cain’s stupid campaign ad with the creepy smile attempted to insinuate to America’s youth that it is “cool” and “rebellious” to smoke. It is one thing to fall victim to a nicotine addiction that one finds tough to kick; it is another to purvey images of smoking as positive. Smoking in the United States causes nearly half a million deaths a year, and nearly 50,000 deaths are caused by second-hand smoke. Those who have had the heartbreak of seeing relatives and loved ones die of lung cancer are not amused.

Cain should have been out right there.

And, as others have observed, it is weird that credible allegations of sexual harassment of subordinates hurt him but did not knock Cain out of the race, whereas charges of a consensual affair did. What, it is only all right if he is coercive about it?

He should have been out right there.

Cain first didn’t seem to know what Libya was and then expressed worry about the Pashtun Taliban taking over this North African Arab and Berber state.

He should have been out right there.

In fact, had Cain said that illegal immigrants have to be treated in accordance with the rule of law, that women should have the right to choose their own biological destiny, that smoking and second-hand smoke kill way too many Americans annually, and that China is more trading partner of the United States than threat, Cain might well have been disqualified by some of those stances among Republican voters.

Which, taken all together, tells you what is wrong with today’s Republican Party.

They should be out right there.

21 Responses

  1. Dear Professor Cole

    Excellent article, nice punchline.

    It echoes Stephen Walt’s piece of 10 November “The not so best or brightest”

    link to walt.foreignpolicy.com

    I watched Sarah Palin bring out her family during the 2008 election, and wondered how earth it could be any kind of example or role model for anyone growing up in the US. No kind of higher education qualification among them except for the mother. Would any one of them read Walt or Nye or Parana or Cole or Kagan or Rousseau or Putin or Krugman or Hayek, or Friedman or Mearsheimer or Mahan or any of the authors recommended by Foreign Policy’s list of 100 top thinkers.

    Tom Clancy maybe.

    My Chinese friends and colleagues would be astonished at the lack of rigour in the process that produces American leadership and would understand the advantage it gives them in strategy development and negotiation.

    David Petraeus has a PhD in international relations and so comes across as someone who understands the subject and is perhaps one of the outstanding US Generals in the mould of Marshall, Eisenhower, Clay, McArthur.

    I wonder if the US political process is descending to the state of the later Roman Empire where the Emperor was chosen by acclamation of the Praetorian guard, (with the approval of the Lobby that funded them.)

    If it is, we Europeans will be wary of following them to whatever military or economic disaster they rush off to next.

  2. The depth of ignorance on the part of the American people and the msm no doubt drives the dynamic whereby a deeply ignorant man (or, in Palin’s case, woman), can survive, even thrive in our current dysfunctional environment. But a hefty dose of the collapse of public virtue (in the sense that the Founding Fathers understood it) is to blame as well.

    I teach Classics at a major university. When I think of the level of education and learning of men such as Madison and Jefferson and the traditional of intellectualism from which they arose and see what we now have . . . well, one can only weep. Recently a student asked in class how the Romans could go from being a people who, ostensibly during the high Republic (the fourth through the mid second century BC) appeared to have a well oiled machine and a reasonably well functioning state to a people steeped in political corruption and civil strife from which finally emerged a military dictatorship.

    It was a teachable moment, and I did not hold back. It was a chance to speak to the students about our own situation. I simply stated that growing up (I was born in ’63) we as a nation did not openly embrace torture. We had a constitution vibrant enough to effect a president’s resignation for its violantion. We had a somewhat responsive and adult media (and told then about Cronkite’s indignation against Johnson). At one point people took to the streets and stayed there (and some died there) because they decided that sending young people on a fool’s errand to die in a distant part of the world was a horrible idea. Once upon a time we had trouble with fluorocarbons and when we heard they were damaging the atmosphere did not debate the science but actually trusted our scientists and did something about it. How did we get here?

    Now all the seemingly “adult” people to whom we collectively are asked to entrust our future and more importantly the future of the students we teach – from the talking heads on the Sunday morning babble-fests, to the military consultants bought and paid for by CNN, to the presidential candidates, to your local Tea Party or philandering and corrupt congress person (who statistically may well have a criminal record) – are little more as I see it than children with matches.

    But Cain, Palin, even the feckless Obama (who has decided that the president can assassinate U.S. citizens in his Star Chamber and who wants in essence now to ignore posse comitatus), are on a very real level merely the putrefaction of a now decaying corpse of a once living republic. There is a dread nexus in place of corporate, political, media, and military power, and the U.S. is now an authoritarian state (a road on which we have been traveling for decades and which is now complete), made all the more toxic by willful and proud ignorance on the part of a substantial constituency.

    It is no longer two minutes to midnight – it is two minutes past.

    • What have we become. Our troops wipe out 24 friendly Pakistani soldiers and it barely registers a blip with our media. Apparently, we are dismayed that the Pakistanis would take offense at our killing off their people. We have refused to apologize until a full investigation is complete and the whole business is totally forgotten in the U.S.

  3. Cain is just a reflection of the Republicans’ desperation to find a candidate to run against Obama. Out of millions of people, they can’t come up with a decent candidate and it looks like a Gingrich (the equivalent of Barry Goldwater from the 60’s) is the only thing they can come up with. And that’s in a year when they have backwind in the form of bad economy and a disgruntled populace…

    I will not vote for Obama as he has betrayed the liberal cause but I don’t see Romney or Gingrich beating him even without my vote.

    • To compare Gingrich to Goldwater is an insult to Goldwater. Also, to not vote for Obama, as imperfect as he is, makes you at least half as bad as those who will vote for Gingrich or Romney or any other random ignoramus/fascist.

      • Sorry you can’t convince me with this argument that if I don’t vote for Obama someone worse will be elected. That’s the calculation Obama made when he decided to go for populist positions and alienating his core supporters. But don’t worry, people like me are a negligible number. Centrists will be voting for him for killing Middle Eastern looking brown people with his drones..

        • Well if you are draft age, then I’d start studying Persian if I were you. And doing push ups

        • I disagree Juan. Gingrich will be limited by both the military (which is probably not interested in an Iran entanglement) and the left which would oppose such a war vehemently. On the other hand, a Democrat President faces no opposition when marching to war – it’s always been the case.
          Yes, and I doubt any draft age person knows who Barry Goldwater is.

        • Yeah we heard in 2000 about how the two parties are exactly the same. It is an absurd argument and maybe even criminal

  4. You forgot to include Herman Cain’s paranoia about American Muslims somehow plotting to impose Sharia on the USA and his consequent support for discrimination against Muslims:
    link to youtube.com
    link to youtube.com

    Never mind, of course, that nobody has seriously tried to incorporate Sharia into state or federal law, or that such an effort would be doomed to failure from a political and constitutional perspective. Never mind that a prominent figure in Cain’s party who happens to be Christian has said that we need to amend the Constitution so as to comply with his notions of “God’s law”.

  5. This man, Cain, is certainly ignorant, but no more ignorant than Bush, Reagan, and most of the other Republicans now running for president. Think back to some of the absurd statemens of Reagan, and the tongue tied George W Bush. In fact, ignorance seems tt be pervasive traint of Republican president and presidential asperants. to be a viable Republican pressidential candidate, all you need is wealth.

  6. Herman Cain accomplished several things.

    Firstly, he showed that if a black man doubles down on the bigotry that conservatives have for anyone besides blacks, he can actually get them to pretend to a public opinion pollster that they would ever pull the lever for a black man.

    Secondly, he advanced the rebranding of America’s caste system from one that abhors black people, who just HAPPEN to be disproportionately poor, to one that abhors poor people, who just HAPPEN to be disproportionately black.

    Which does not change a God damn thing in reality.

    Thirdly, he got the usual GOP suspects to spend extra money attacking him.

    I think we should take up a collection to encourage Cain to stay in the race. We are learning a lot about the spread of abysmal ignorance. Southern African Americans are learning a lot about how monstrous the values of one of their own can become when he gets a zillion bucks. If he can keep going long enough, eventually each of his opponents will blow it and say something racial. His vanity and paranoia will convince him that all the objective attacks on him are racially motivated, and like fellow rich black conservative Charles Barkley he will start accusing everyone of being racist. That leads to him spending money and bleeding the GOP all the way to the convention, where he will find what Ron Paul found in ’08, that for all their talk few reactionaries will in fact pull the lever for someone who varies from Reagan in either his skin tone or his belief in American empire.

    Then he will claim the primaries were rigged and run as an independent.

    I would pay to see that.

  7. His 9-9-9 plan should have been rejected, it shouldn’t have taken more than about a day to fact check the actual implications of that and arrive at the conclusion that it couldn’t be taken seriously. It worked as a soundbite, though, and the media therefore loved him for it.

  8. Illegal immigration is not a crime; it’s an offence made up by nationalists. For there to be a crime, there needs to be a victim. Lines on a map are not people. Grow up.

    • Marcel is correct,not because illegal immigration has no victim (we all know many official “crimes” do not), but because lack of documentation is officially a civil, not a criminal offense. The only penalty provided by law is deportation. This as it should be in a free society. The long, inhumane detention of *suspected* offenders in private, for-profit prisons (euphemism: “detention centers”) is *not* as it should be.

  9. Someone should have asked him if he thought the woman who was raped should marry the man who made her pregnant.

    link to indianexpress.com

    Given his history, he’d probably end up a bigamist. if he isn’t already. Love those Republicans.

  10. “He (/ she) should have been out right there.”
    applies to all the Republican candidates which surely must be the worst bunch ever for general lack of knowledge and stupidity.

    Still, I expect Cain and the others have been practising their ‘standing ovation’ routine for any right wing Israeli Prime Minister who addresses Congress in the future.

  11. Dear Professor Cole

    It is perhaps superflous to note that Pual Krugman and Stve Walt have summarised the situation adequately recently. link to walt.foreignpolicy.com

    link to nytimes.com

    I agree with your commenter Steve that the place to look for illumination is in the later stages of the history of the Roman Empire, perhaps where the Emperor was chosen by acclaimation of the Praetorians (doubtless funded by the Lobby of the day)

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