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The Folly of Raising Cain

Jonathan P Hicks | 2/8/2012, 1:48 p.m.
It's time to make youth unemployment the focus of our national attention

"I don't believe racism in this country today holds anybody back in a big way," Cain said in an interview on CNN recently.

Cain suggests that it's merely a coincidence that the unemployment rate for African-Americans is staggeringly higher than for white Americans in the world of 2011, and that the disparity between the number of white students in college versus students of color is merely the unfortunately luck of the draw.

The litany of the outlandish from Herman Cain seems to have no end, from telling the Tea Party, "You are not racist; you are patriots," to criticizing President Obama for not being a "strong Black man."

What is clear is that this darling of conservative right-wing zealotry is deeply out of sync with anyone's mainstream. He is beloved by them because he offers, with impunity, criticisms-in blackface-of the president, race and a host of issues. Because this candidate, a Black man who came of age in the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia, can offer those criticisms without being accused of being racist, he is beloved by the Tea Party and its sympathizers.

In the end, however, it makes Cain something between a danger and a laughingstock: wholly unelectable to the vast majority of decent, common-sense Americans.