. . . that he should have to answer for thinly sourced, vaguely written news stories attacking his character. That’s just one of the myriad problems with the establishment political press. Aside from their blatant bias against conservatives, the lack of any objective standard for credible sourcing gives them a free hand to use whatever means at their disposal to take down any candidate at any time. And, of course, the use of anonymous and “unnamed” sources frequently serves to shield their journalism from any meaningful critical analysis. After all, if you don’t know who the source for a given piece of information is, you can’t very well examine that source’s credibility, can you?
But, before conservatives start rushing to the aid of the “victim” in this case, it’s worth remembering just how Herman Cain reacted when he was asked to comment on an even more thinly-sourced, vaguely-worded report in a higher-profile publication about one of his rivals for the GOP nomination. It didn’t happen so long ago that it should have fallen down the memory hole by now.
In fact, it was just a few short weeks back that Herman Cain, when presented with the opportunity to demonstrate some semblance of personal integrity by withholding judgment against a fellow conservative, chose instead to use a flagrantly biased piece of shoddy journalism as an opportunity to gain an advantage over Rick Perry. For all the endless complaints about dirty tricks and “another high tech lynching” from Cain’s defenders, no one can make the case that Cain is somehow above exploiting similar attacks on his conservative Republican rivals when the opportunity presents itself.
Again, let’s re-examine what he had to say to Christiane Amanpour when asked to comment on the painted-over word on a rock located on a piece of property on which Rick Perry’s family leased rights for a hunting camp in west Texas:
AMANPOUR: … And it’s been — it’s been painted over. But the report raises questions about whether this rock, this stone, with that word on it, was still on display even quite recently in the last several years. What is your reaction to that?
CAIN: My reaction is that is very insensitive…. And since Governor Perry has been going there for years to hunt, I think that it shows a lack of sensitivity for a long time of not taking that word off of that rock and renaming the place. It’s just basically a case of insensitivity.
AMANPOUR: It was painted over.
CAIN: Yes. It was painted over. But how long ago was it painted over? So I’m still saying that it is a sign of insensitivity.
Again, it’s worth keeping in mind that the story these questions were based on was even more thinly-sourced and vaguely-worded than the accusations currently being leveled against Herman Cain. And yet, he chose to run with the implication that was embedded in the “reporting” — that Rick Perry is too tolerant of racism, and perhaps is even a little racist himself. Given the choice to hold off on commenting on the character of one of his Republican primary opponents until more substantial detail and more credible sourcing could be unearthed, and slurring that opponent as some sort of crypto-racist, Herman Cain opted to take the latter option.
And now . . . now . . . his supporters are suddenly feeling the effects of the same journalistic methods Rick Perry was subjected to, and just as suddenly they understand how the nasty business of political reporting works. Now they rise up and decry the filthy tactics of the Beltway press — less than a month after the man they have thrown their support behind used those tactics to gain an advantage over his opponent.
Only one thing has changed since Herman Cain exploited the slimy reporting of the Washington Post to attack Rick Perry, and that just happens to be the polling numbers of the two men involved. When Rick Perry was riding high in the top tier, Herman Cain and his followers thought it just fine and dandy to use the sleazy, underhanded reporting of the D.C. press corps to take him down a notch. But, now that they’re getting a taste of Rick Perry’s medicine, suddenly they’ve developed an aversion to such things. Suddenly, they’re wrapping themselves in Clarence Thomas’s robes — despite the fact that the differences between the two men and the nature of the accusations against them are so vast as to elicit a horselaugh upon comparison.
And now . . . now . . . we’re supposed to rally around a purported conservative simply because the press has launched a hit against him? We’re supposed to rally around that purported conservative despite the fact that he was not only unwilling to decry the use of even shoddier journalism against a fellow conservative (if you truly believe Cain falls under that description), but eagerly sought to benefit from it?
I’m sorry. It just doesn’t work that way. Until Herman Cain offers a full, unqualified apology for what he did to Rick Perry when the Washington Post accused him of tolerating racism in his midst, he deserves absolutely no defense from anyone who considers himself a conservative of good faith — and it would be questionable even then. After all, he used two separate Sunday morning political talk shows as platforms for his race-hustling demagoguery. Prior to what he told Amanpour on ABC’s This Week, he told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday:
There “isn’t a more vile, negative word than the N-word, and for him to leave it there as long as he did, until before, I hear, they finally painted over it, is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country,” said Cain, who is running against Perry and a group of others for the Republican presidential nomination.
Herman Cain is flat-out unworthy of the support of conservatives right now, and as far as The Damn Dirty RINO is concerned, he always will be. His disregard for the basic human decency of Rick Perry in tarring him as a man who tolerates racism along with the accusations against him — however thinly sourced and vaguely worded — mark Cain as a man of deeply questionable character. And conservatives can do better. Much, much better.
And for all the conservative commentators who think it’s a good idea to stand behind this particular man out of loyalty to the conservative movement, I have one question: Where the hell was Herman Cain’s loyalty to the conservative movement a month ago?
UPDATE II: Welcome readers of The Tatler‘s Bryan Preston, at PJMedia!