After a long day of tramping across the hinterland (and putting the odd gay/Muslim/socialist hobbit village to the torch), the Uruk Hai of the Republican base finally lay down their scimitars, unbutton their gore-spattered leather jerkins, and gather round the campfire to discuss which cruel, all-powerful necromancer they’d most like to serve in 2012. Perry? Hmm…given the chance to turn a family of illegal immigrants into dog kibble with Apache gunships, he could hesitate. Next! Bachmann? The complete package, sure, but…she’s a girl. Romney? If you speak his name again, we will flay you alive. Santorum? You ever Google…? *snort,* never mind. Cain? Cain…
Cain. Yes. A growing number have begun, with rising menace and ferocity, to chant the name of Herman Cain.
So, what accounts for Cain’s popularity among the dribble-stained unfortunates of the lunar Right (yes, I know I just compared them to orcs, but this is a new paragraph, and now they’re dribble-stained unfortunates. Just trust the process.)? For one thing, Cain is a former CEO, and nothing triggers the primitive bootlicking reflex* of exurban reactionaries like a Promethean Ubermensch capitalist who tells carping peasants to go fuck themselves to death. For another, he is always in thrilling voice when singing from the anti-immigrant hymnal: just listen to Cain here as he advocates for a barrier along the Southern border modeled on the Great Wall of China – only, his Wall would be tricked out with an alligator-filled moat. Cain is even better known as a virtuosic hater of Muslims, and that, of course, will cost you exactly zero support among the Teabaggers: back in March, he pledged that, if elected, he would combat the (completely hallucinatory) “creeping attempt” by Muslims to incorporate Shariah law into U.S. law by never appointing a Muslim to a Cabinet post or judgeship. In July, Cain declared that communities are legally free to ban mosques.**
Jesus Christ. Do I even need to mention that Cain, in vintage Teabagger fashion, considers himself a “strict constitutionalist” even though the U.S. Constitution – the real one, not the Applebee’s coloring placemat version preferred by Cain and his supporters – expressly forbids a “religious test” to hold public office? This same document, as you may have heard, also proscribes any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. It is sheer futility to point these things out, however, since the Tea Party’s habit of truculently claiming the country’s founding documents and institutions as their personal property while loudly insisting on their diseased understanding of them is so deeply ingrained by now that they will never be broken of it.
All well and good, you say (or all unutterably vile and horrid), but wait a minute: isn’t Herman Cain a bit, ah, too dark a Dark Wizard for the
neo-Confederates Uruk Hai, if you catch my drift? They tend to despise anyone unlike themselves, right? Well, yes and no; I mean, yes and yes, but you must recognize Cain’s specialized role in the wingnut ecosystem to understand why he is given a pass. The beauty of Cain’s blackness is that it gives chronically aggrieved, rice-white, pants-pissing nativist hysterics and bigots permission to share in his inexhaustible loathing of (certain) dusky enemies. Cain isn’t just their Black Friend Who Proves They Aren’t Racist (no matter how many images of President Obama with a bone through his nose they brandish at their rallies); he makes it OK to hate those other people.
If the U.S. had more than the tattered remnants of a democratic culture, authoritarian ignoramuses like Herman Cain would be mercilessly ridiculed, then instantly forgotten. As it is, sadly, it looks as though Cain, and the Sam’s Club goosesteppers who love him, are going to be with us for a long, long time.
* I have been tempted at times to say that the conservatism of middle class Americans is almost nothing but a primitive bootlicking reflex, i.e., support the Alphas (whoever has the money and the guns), or the entire ape troop will die. A caller on Limbaugh’s show a while back said he hoped his boss’s tax rate was lower than his own because he thought that might enhance his chances of getting a raise. What can you say to a scraping slave like that? I’ll take that up in a future post.
** Cain has since issued a quasi-apology to Muslims, though he continues to cling to his phantasmagoric ‘creeping Shariah law’ horseshit.