Is Cain the biggest loser in WaPo’s hit on Perry?

posted at 12:05 pm on October 3, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Sometimes, competition can make people abandon their natural common sense.  That arguably happened yesterday to Herman Cain, who must have seen the Washington Post exposé on Rick Perry about a Texas hunting ranch lease from the 1980s as an opening to hit one of the frontrunners in the race.  Cain appeared on ABC’s This Week and blasted Perry as “insensitive” (mildly NSFW):

This certainly seemed like a gift in the middle of a tough campaign, but as Jazz wrote yesterday, the Post’s story had a lot of holes in it — starting with the problem that they didn’t even find the rock in question, and that Perry’s family didn’t own or name the ranch, but in fact found the name offensive enough to cover with paint and flip over. Instead of waiting for more information, though, Cain accepted the premise of the Post’s article, which raised the ire of some conservatives, if my Twitter feed yesterday was any indication.

The Boss Emeritus provides some needed context to the Post’s attack:

The Post interviewed dozens of people. The New York Timesfollowed up with another crack investigation of hazy memories of bygone days.

They’ve given “stoning” a whole new meaning.

Has Perry actually used the racial epithet himself — you know, like the late, former KKK leader Robert Byrd did as recently as 2001?

Did Perry condescendingly refer to a black politician as “articulate and bright and clean” like Biden did when he described Barack Obama in 2007?

Did Perry racially stereotype Hispanics for political gain or refer offensively to President Obama’s “light skin” and “lack of a Negro dialect” like Senate Democrat leader Harry Reid did just last year?

No.

This prompted Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast to write that the biggest loser of the ranch flap is likely to be Cain, and not Perry (via The Week):

And it is instructive, is it not, that no other candidate jumped on this revelation? Think about the conversations that must have gone on in Mitt Romney’s camp, or in Rick Santorum’s. I bet they weren’t even very long conversations. It’s a charge that emanates from the liberal media, and the last thing in the world, and I mean the very last thing, a candidate chasing Republican primary votes wants to do is sound like that. It’s a dead certainty that we won’t hear another peep about this story from them.

As for Cain, one wonders what synapse snapped into action there. He has been reliably on message on such matters, saying things like (as he said even yesterday) two thirds of black Americans are victims of “brainwashing” against conservatism. I guess he just doesn’t know his steam-locomotive history. But he said what he said, and now he’s going to have to prove to these people, just as he was gaining a little momentum, that he isn’t morphing into Al Sharpton.

As for Perry himself, he seems unlikely to be hurt very much. One supposes it is possible that some group of GOP panjandrums will send up a smoke signal, gather in lower Manhattan, and decide that this is another sign that Perry isn’t the man to put forward next November. If he’d been coming off three dominant debate performances and was still running away with it, he could wrap himself in the highest possible dudgeon and try to chop the Post to pieces for the amusement of a salivating base constituency. But since he’s on the downswing for now, he needs to play defense, which is what his camp did yesterday. This charge may make some conservatives feel that Perry is a tad embarrassing. But how many will it personally offend? Let’s face it, based on the evidence of the last debate, the GOP base thinks Perry isn’t racially insensitive enough, giving $100,000 college-education discounts to all those illegal brown children.

I don’t find it at all surprising that Cain, who grew up in poverty and oppressive state-backed racism, would have an immediate and emotional reaction to this story.  It seems almost churlish to scold him for calling it “insensitive,” a rather mild criticism considering the nature of the term.  The other candidates in the GOP race for the nomination don’t have a history with this term as Cain does and could approach it more coolly, perhaps, while looking at the greater strategy of avoiding the potential backfire when the story came apart.

That said, the media has quite a track record of highlighting tenuous connections to racism when it comes to Republicans while, pardon the pun, whitewashing it when it comes to Democrats.  Conservatives who were angry with Perry over his harsh reaction to criticism of his state-based tuition breaks for children of illegal immigrants might tend to rally around him after watching a national media outlet accuse him falsely of perpetuating an ugly term that Perry himself said “has no place in the modern world.”  They’re not likely to look kindly on those who bolster the case of the media, regardless of the context of life experience from which the reaction originates.  That’s why it’s always best when these media “exposés” arise to withhold judgment until all of the facts are on the table.

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Buy Danish on October 4, 2011 at 1:11 PM
I stated that many states have overturned PLAs. Iowa was one example. Who is being obtuse here? And yes I know that Governor Moonbeam worked with the legislature. So did Palin. The powerful, entrenched interests of certain, er, “special interests” like unions are self-evident.

So the Governor gets the blame if legislature passes something? Iowa is an example of PLA being passed with an EO and repealed again with an EO. This is different from PLA passed by legislation. An law passed by Congress can/should not be repealed with an EO, rather by new legislation.

You’re an idiot if you think Sarah can single-handedly change legislation without the consent of both GOP & DNC State critters. But she did the next best thing to expose their corruption.

As for you witless statements about the Tea Party and Polo, the Tea Party is not about class warfare, pitting one group against another (in Palin’s case it’s “blue collar workers” against white collar workers who aren’t really workers cause they don’t get their hands dirty).

I know what the TP is about. I’m talking about how your portrayal of Palin comes across as a blueblood, sniffing about the riff-raff lower-classes. Yeah, I’m painting a narrative of your world view based on the crap you spout.

PLAs force states (taxpayers) to spend more on projects. George Bush and the GOP majority in the House under the leadership of Jeff Flake are opposed to PLAs. Obama is for them. Palin is for them. Your explanation that this is about “profit sharing” is hilarious. Of course you’re all for these PLA’s as you “share the profits” as a union member. Palin also hit oil companies with a windfall profit tax. She’s the most mavericky conservative ever, forcing oil companies into “profit sharing”.

Yes, PLAs force State taxpayers to spend more on State projects. Again, what’s Sarah to do, when the State legislators enacted the PLA in order to curry favor with their constituents? That’s up to the taxpayers to decide if they like that or not. Alaskans are a different breed from your countryclub set. If they want PLAs, then it’s their prerogative. But like most other sane taxpayers, they don’t appreciate corrupt politicians.

This is where Sarah won the people by going after the corruption, regardless of the party affiliation. As for the PLA for the oil industry, again, if you as both worker and taxpayer, would you really have a problem with getting top rate salary/benefits paid by the company extracting the oil? After all, that oil-worker is already part-owner of the natural riches per AK Constitution. This is the part you don’t get.

No different than if some Indian Reservation decided to build a Casino and have Harrads operate it. In the contract, it may be stipulated that any native that works for the Casino shall earn double the salary of their non-native co-worker. And oh, the native to non-native worker ratio shall be 10 – 1. And at the end of the year, the remaining profits will be shared 30-70 with the Reservation getting 70% to be shared with the native non-workers. Would you have a problem with that? I don’t because it is the native corporation’s right to negotiate as they please. If they wish to tilt the scale in favor of their people, so be it. It wouldn’t bother me if every native worker, as a result, owned McMansions and drove a new Bentley every year. Hooray for free-markets and you can be sure that if Harrads saw a chance to profit, they’d be all in.

The only reasonable objection you might have is that AK’s PLA for oil would necessarily cause the price of their product to be higher for the rest of the US. Again, so what? Are you part-owner of AK oil? Not at all if you’re not an AK resident. The fact that companies agreed to it is because they see profits. It might not be as much as they’d hoped, but profitable nonetheless.

The only reason you hear moaning and groaning from the companies about the so-called unfair taxes, is pure spin so that clueless suckers like you would swallow it whole in knee-jerk fashion and condemn the tax. That way, the companies would pay less royalties, less wages and keep greater profits. And to that end, they want to bring back the cozy relationships that got them busted in the first place. They’d rather give millions to a select few tools, than share 100s of millions with all 1/2 million residents.

If AK so chose, they could lock it all up and we’d be buying from terrorist States that use their profits to export the terrorism right back at us. Wait, we already do that anyway — with apparent willingness.

AH_C on October 4, 2011 at 2:43 PM

Of course you’re all for these PLA’s as you “share the profits” as a union member. Palin also hit oil companies with a windfall profit tax. She’s the most mavericky conservative ever, forcing oil companies into “profit sharing”.

Buy Danish on October 4, 2011 at 1:11 PM

I haven’t been in an union for over 20 years. And when I did, it was by choice because it was the morally right thing to do at the time and my membership lasted about 2 years.

You don’t understand the difference between windfall tax and profit-sharing. Come back when you do.

AH_C on October 4, 2011 at 2:49 PM

So the Governor gets the blame if legislature passes something?…Yes, PLAs force State taxpayers to spend more on State projects. Again, what’s Sarah to do, when the State legislators enacted the PLA in order to curry favor with their constituents?

Poor Sarah! A victim of the legislature. Oh wait! From a Palin Facebook post:

Two years ago almost to the day, I was thrilled to meet with union members at the Alaska AFL-CIO Convention in Anchorage to sign important job-creation legislation related to the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act. As a former card-carrying IBEW sister married to a proud former IBEW and later USW member, it was a great moment for all of us. Our Alaska union brothers and sisters helped build our state! Many of them risked their lives to complete our infrastructure, including the Trans-Alaska Pipeline that stretches over treacherous mountain ranges from the North Slope oil fields to Valdez. By signing that job-creation bill surrounded by union members, I was paying tribute to them and acknowledging that they would be valued partners in the construction of Alaska’s long awaited natural gas pipeline. I was honored that day to receive a standing ovation from them for signing a bill that provided a Project Labor Agreement to bring good jobs to these good men and women.

Buy Danish on October 4, 2011 at 4:40 PM

You don’t understand the difference between windfall tax and profit-sharing. Come back when you do.
AH_C on October 4, 2011 at 2:49 PM

*facepalm*. I understand the difference! Palin forced the oil companies to “share” their profits. This was above and beyond what was mandated by the Alaska Constitution. What’s hilarious is you claim I don’t know what I’m talking about, yet you call labor agreements “profit sharing”.

Buy Danish on October 4, 2011 at 4:45 PM

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