Dr. Bill Bennett, at the Family Research Council’s Values Voters summit, recently said, “If you voted for Obama to prove that you’re not a racist, you should vote against him to prove you’re not an idiot. There’s one candidate for whom you can vote to prove both.”

Herman Cain has not played the race card, and that is to his credit. He has campaigned on a career unlike anyone else’s, having succeeded in at least three different fields: computer science, business administration and now politics, as he very likely will be the Republican nominee for president of the United States. He accomplished all this despite having been born in poverty in the American South.

If biography got President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick elected, then surely Cain warrants the same success. But Cain has not taken the easy way out, nor have his supporters focused on his race. In fact, Cain has insisted on making his campaign primarily about his “9-9-9” tax reform plan. This is admirable. However, something very strange-that is, if we are to believe the liberal media-has happened.

The Tea Party has abandoned Texas Gov. Rick Perry for Cain.

What is allegedly strange about this is that the Tea Party-we are told-is racist or at least unconsciously so.

Only months ago, Perry became the front-runner for the nomination seemingly overnight by stealing Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (“The Queen of Rage”) victory in the Ames Straw Poll and, with it, all of her supporters. Perry had everything that Bachmann had and more. Now we are seeing that the Tea Party believes that Cain has everything that Perry had and perhaps more.

This turn of events should put an end to any rumor that the Tea Party is racist. The Tea Party’s goals are clear: balancing the budget, paying down the debt and letting Americans keep more of what they work for. This is a message that benefits people of all races, creeds and colors, and therefore should appeal to everyone. Who, after all, is really against a balanced budget? Against keeping what they work for? Against the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution?

But the lie is still sold and sold hard. Andrew Breitbart even went so far as to offer a huge bounty for video evidence of any racism at a Tea Party rally. No one stepped forward to claim the money.

The most recent debate illustrated how afraid the other candidates are of Cain. Similarly, attacks on the Tea Party, especially of the ad hominem kind, show how afraid the left is and how much of a legitimate threat the Tea Party poses. Cain should take it as a compliment then that even he-an American who happens to be Black who grew up under Jim Crow-is being called a racist, and often by white people! This is what desperation looks like.

Bill Maher recently informed us that “denying racism is the new racism,” by which he means that to deny racism is to be complicit in it, which is true. What’s wrong is that Maher is attacking Cain and the Tea Party.

When the GOP doesn’t support a Black man, they get called racist, and even when they do support a Black man, they still get called racist. What do liberals want from the GOP? They want them to be liberal or cease to exist.

Janeane Garofalo says that Cain is something of a prop by the right to cover up their racism, the underlying presumption being that Mr. Cain can’t think for himself and would allow himself to be used in such a way, that he has no mind of his own and merely takes orders from his masters. Perhaps this is how Ms. Garofalo thinks.

Is it not amazing that Obama’s multiracial, multigenerational coalition in 2008 was, in Spike Lee’s words, “from God,” but Cain’s multiracial, multigenerational coalition in 2011 is racism? I cannot reconcile the disconnect.

A further irony is that Mr. Cain, as he unabashedly states, knows the Black experience better than Obama-and for obvious reasons. Cain grew up in the segregated South; Obama was raised by a white family in Hawaii and Indonesia. The left even loses at its own victimhood game.

How sad it is that we’ve reached a point in which we must compare our persecutions like a body count-the virtuous one, the winner, the noble one being whoever has suffered the most, and all this coming from the civility police! If you want real civility, judge the man Cain by the content of his character, and judge the Tea Party in the same way.

Armstrong Williams content can be found on RightSideWire.com. He is also the author of the new book “Reawakening Virtues.” Listen to him daily on Sirius Power 128, 7-8 p.m. and 4-5 a.m., Monday through Friday. Become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arightside and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/arightside.