At a mid-October rally in Tennessee for Herman Cain, a little white girl held a sign that read “Honkies for Herman.” In addition to getting a laugh, it probably inspired millions who saw it on TV news to look hard at the only serious Black Republican presidential candidate ever as he sits atop national polls for the GOP nomination.

Yet, lots of snarky, anti-Cain stuff has been written-most of it balderdash. As an independent who favors neither Democrats nor Republicans, I abhor personal invective, name-calling and character assassination directed at candidates. It’s unseemly and unfair.

However, Cain scares the hell out of the liberal establishment, which seeks to destroy his unconventional candidacy. Except for the outspoken Juan Williams, every left-wing Black and white pundit trashes him simply because he’s a Black conservative.

They hate that a leading Black business executive such as Cain is a Republican. They hate that he is revered by the Tea Party, which they swear is racist and anti-Black. Huh?

In essence, the liberal news media and Democrats feel that they own Black voters. If the dynamic Cain was a Democrat, far-left pundits and politicos such as Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, would be falling all over themselves to embrace him. Instead, she viciously puts him down.

Think about it. On a recent “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, host Joe Scarborough, a liberal-leaning ex-Republican congressman from Florida, called Cain “a cartoon character ignorant on foreign policy.” Scarborough’s clueless co-host-the pathetic Mika Brzezinski-referred to Cain as “that poor man” and called him “a clown.” This, from a lightweight who has her job only because her father is ex-National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.

CNN ambushed Cain at the start of the Oct. 18 Republican debate with an audience member asking the other six candidates to comment on his bold “9-9-9” tax plan. Each attacked it and minutes later, when asked to respond, Cain was given a mere 30 seconds.

On Fox News Channel, liberal Christopher Hahn regularly excoriates Cain. On CNN, David Gergen called his candidacy “a freak show,” and Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post said, “He’s a walking disaster.”

On MSNBC, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank called Cain “the pizza man” and mad dog Chris Matthews called him “this character.”

Meanwhile, Bill O’Reilly’s hit-job in his Nov. 5 syndicated column about Cain’s lack of political experience is ridiculous. In fact, it’s why so many Americans are supporting him.

Smears against Cain hit a new low Oct. 30 as left-wing Politico website reported nebulous accusations of sexual harassment 12 years ago by two anonymous females at the National Restaurant Association he headed. Cain said he was “falsely accused,” an investigation proved the he said-she said claims “baseless” and that Politico’s story was “a witch hunt.”

Conservative firebrand Ann Coulter called Politico’s smear “a high-tech lynching”-ala Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, whom I detest-and said shots against Cain can’t compare to Bill Clinton’s documented sexual indiscretions. Clinton lied about oral sex from Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office and was impeached but not convicted.

Clinton also had a 12-year affair with Gennifer Flowers, made crude sexual moves on Kathleen Willey and exposed himself to Paula Jones-paying her $850,000 to drop a sex harassment lawsuit.

Juanita Broaddrick publicly claimed Clinton raped her in 1978, and while Arkansas governor, his revealed mistresses included Elizabeth Ward Gracen, Sally Perdue and Dolly Kyle Browning. He also had documented affairs with Black women-journalist Deborah Mathis, beauty queen Lencola Sullivan and Bobby Ann Williams.

Squeaky clean in contrast, Cain recently spoke at the National Press Club and was on all the top TV news shows, including NBC’s “Meet the Press”; CBS’ “Face the Nation”; FNC’s “O’Reilly Factor”; and CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight”-holding forth the entire hour. Often wearing a yellow power tie, he stressed offering “solutions to problems.”

Appearing with Sean Hannity on FNC, Cain described his foreign policy philosophy as “peace through strength and clarity.” Asked if he had settled on a vice presidential running mate if he were the nominee, Cain quipped, “My short list is getting shorter.”

A successful business entrepreneur, the 65-year-old, plain-speaking Cain is a cancer survivor who was given only a 30 percent chance to live. His up-from-the-bootstraps background in the segregated South and pleasing personality connects with everyday Americans.

Cain is an authentic Black man with two Black parents-unlike Barack Hussein Obama. He graduated from Morehouse College, a famous Black institution, earned a master’s degree from Purdue University in computer science and was a radio talk show host, gospel singer and author. He worked for the Department of the Navy and held top positions with Coca-Cola, Pillsbury and Burger King and was CEO of Godfather’s Pizza.

Cain says he prefers “Black American” to “African-American.”

So if Cain, a Black American, opposed half-white Obama, what would Blacks do? In 2008, most Black voters went for the biracial Obama simply because of his brown skin. Think about it.

Three years later, we’ve got a terrible economy with unemployment at 9 percent-15 percent for Black people. Cain accurately said, “The economy is on life support.”

Bottom line: “Let Herman be Herman” is a Cain campaign theme. And despite some missteps, it is working. Like it or not, Cain is for real. And that’s the name of that tune.