Raising Cain from the Dead
It’s went pretty much unnoticed because of the rise of
Mordor Gingrich, but on Saturday Herman Cain briefly reentered the Republican primary spotlight. It was certainly as much of a farce as his actual campaign, but this time it was transparently so.
For those unaware, last summer Stephan Colbert created a Super-PAC to shed light on just how big a joke campaign finance reform is; his turning the PAC over to Jon Stewart so that Colbert might run in the South Carolina primary has been, oddly, simultaneously ham-fisted and brilliant, hysterical satire. The only problem was that since South Carolina has a closed ballot, Colbert was unable to request voters write in his name. So he asked them instead to vote for a man that was on the ballot but no longer running: Cain. Colbert said that if South Carolina elected Cain, he would see it as a sign that they were voting for him. (Cain got over 6,000 votes, by the way.) If you’d like to read more on Colbert, his Super PAC and the entire satire, you should pop over to American Times where Erik has been touching on it this past week. My concern at this moment isn’t with Colbert’s Super Pac so much as with Colbert’s Rock Me Like A Herman Cain mock rally in Charleston on Saturday.
The rally itself was, of course, a joke – a joke that also served as a final punchline of a months-long farce by Colbert. It made fun of PACs, campaigns, the office of the Presidency and even our Nation itself. And besides Colbert, the big celebrity to appear at this circus was: Herman Cain.
Stop for one moment and think about that.
A man who right wing pundits were falling over themselves to convince us was Presidential material ten weeks ago allowed for Colbert to utterly mock him, his party and his primary in exchange for a brief moment in the spotlight (and, I assume, a hefty fee). I like to think I’m a pretty creative guy, so I feel confident I could think of a less presidential thing for Herman Cain to be doing just a month after “suspending” his campaign. But I’d have to take a few minutes.
I was pretty tired of talking about Cain a month ago, but I’m bringing this up now to call out the right wing punditry. Erik Erikson, who knew Cain, said “I still believe you can be one of the most inspiring Presidents since Ronald Reagan.” PJ Media gushed that they were “inclined to think that the media and party insiders just might end up with a whole lot of smelly “too big for their breeches” egg on their faces after the real votes are counted in the upcoming Republican primaries.” Big Government swooned that Cain was “running because he sees the country he so loves, that has allowed him and countless others the room to succeed and flourish, going down the tubes, and he wants to help turn it around. He’s honest. He’s not slick. He’s not rehearsed. He’s not pulling a fraud on the people. He’s not fake.” Beck and Hannity were constant apologists, and no less than Limbaugh went to the air hoping for a Cain victory, so that we might have our first “authentic black president.”
The Colbert rally, however, should leave no doubt that all the evidence of Cain’s lacking from last fall was never a left-wing media fabrication. He was never a serious candidate, and he used his joke of a presidential campaign for no more than to gain publicity, sell books, make a quick buck, and maybe try out for a gig at FOX along the way.
If movement conservatism means anything at all worth voting for, the voluminous pundits who championed Cain and pretended his obvious flaws were part of a “Mainstream Media conspiracy” will come out and admit their error this week. And if those “grassroots” that movement conservatism so trumpets as it’s conscience are really worth their weight in tea, they will demand this of those same pundits.
I will not be holding my breath.