StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between



The Secret of Herman Cain's Political Success

29 Oct 2011
Posted by Bruce Bartlett
Short answer: It’s because he’s black and a Republican. Let me explain.
 
Republicans have long had a conflicted relationship with African Americans. Their party came into existence for the purpose of ending slavery. The Compromise of 1850 and Kansas-Nebraska Act were widely viewed throughout the North as sell-outs to slave owners and there was revulsion against the Whig Party for failing to mount any meaningful opposition to them. In the election of 1854, the Whigs collapsed and Democrats suffered heavy losses throughout the North.
 
At that point, the Democrats largely became a sectional party based in the South and dedicated to the preservation of slavery. The Republican Party arose from the ashes of the Whig Party and was dedicated to the abolition of slavery. It ran its first presidential candidate in 1856, electing former Whig congressman Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860, after the Democrats split into a pro slavery faction headed by Sen. Stephen Douglas of Illinois and a really pro slavery faction headed by former Vice President John Breckenridge of Kentucky.
 
After the Civil War, Republicans in Congress passed a number of measures to aid the former slaves, many over the veto of President Andrew Johnson, a Democrat who Lincoln put on the ticket in 1864 to show that the fight to preserve the Union was bipartisan. In addition to the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution, Republicans established a Freedmen’s Bureau to assist the former slaves and protect them from their former masters. In 1875, Republicans enacted a civil rights act very similar to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Unfortunately, the 1875 act was later gutted by the Supreme Court and Democratic congresses.
 
By 1876, the Democrats had made a significant comeback and almost won the presidency. Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was forced to make a deal with southerners to gain the White House that involved a pull-out of federal troops from the South and an end to aggressive efforts to aid former slaves. Supreme Court decisions throughout the late 19th century restricted the ability of the federal government to protect the rights of southern blacks, which led to the reestablishment of de facto slavery during the Jim Crow era. Southern blacks were routinely denied the right to vote, terrorized by racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, and discriminated against in ways too numerous to mention.
 
Republicans were sympathetic to the plight of African Americans, but Supreme Court rulings gave the president very little authority to help them. And Senate filibusters by southern Democrats blocked Republican efforts to enact new laws to protect voting rights and prosecute the awful practice of lynching.
 
Restrictions on the voting rights of blacks caused the Republican Party in the South to disintegrate following the end of Reconstruction and that region was solidly Democratic until the 1970s. Unfortunately, one consequence is that Republicans had little to gain, politically, from helping African Americans since the bulk of them lived where they could not vote.
 
Nevertheless, blacks voted Republican wherever they could because the GOP was the party of Lincoln, who freed them from bondage. Sadly, this led Republicans to take their votes for granted. In the 1930s, blacks had enough with Republican indifference and a majority of them became Democrats. But Republicans continued to get a third of the black vote until 1964, when it fell to just 6 percent. No Republican presidential candidate has gotten more than 15 percent since that time.
 
The cause of the collapse of the Republican black vote was 1964 Republican presidential nominee Sen. Barry Goldwater’s vote against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on constitutional grounds. He had been advised by both Yale law professor Robert Bork and prominent Phoenix attorney William Rehnquist, later chief justice of the Supreme Court, that the 1964 act was unconstitutional for the same reasons the 1875 act had been found unconstitutional.
 
Many libertarians, including Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, still believe that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is an unconstitutional infringement on the rights of racists to exclude blacks from service in restaurants, hotels and so on. They believe that the free market would eventually make such discrimination too costly to continue and it would die out. But it lasted for 100 years with no evidence of decline until the federal government stepped in and ended it.
 
As liberal Democrats from the North gained strength, they became increasingly hostile to their southern brethren. Richard Nixon and other Republicans saw an opening and began reaching out to disaffected Southern conservatives. After the huge Democratic victory in the 1974 elections, liberal Democrats began purging southern Democrats, taking away their committee chairmanships in Congress and otherwise making them feel unwanted. This began the migration of southerners out of the Democratic Party and into the Republican Party, a process that was virtually complete by 1994.
 
Liberals uniformly believe that the switch of southern Democrats into the GOP meant that Republicans had essentially become what the Democratic Party in the South had been for a century: the party of racial discrimination. Republicans counter that they merely welcomed conservatives from the South, who agreed with them on issues such as taxes and spending, that the Democrats had shunned.
 
Republicans really hate it when Democrats accuse them of racism simply because they oppose liberal policies for reasons that have nothing to do with race. And in their hearts they truly believe that cutting back government spending and regulation will do more to help African Americans than a continuation of liberal policies such as the minimum wage that actually harm blacks under the guise of helping them.
 
One problem for Republicans is that they haven’t really competed for the black vote for so long that they really don’t know how. When they try they tend to come across as callous and indifferent to the problems of the black community. One of the few who didn’t was my late boss, Rep. Jack Kemp, who cared deeply and tried, without much success, to get his party to be more responsive the problems of African Americans and work harder to devise policies that would help them.
 
This brings me back to Mr. Cain. He is the first black Republican in memory to really connect with the way white Republicans think about race. Cain is living proof that the GOP is open to blacks and that Republican policies will benefit them. And with our first African American president in the White House, many Republicans crave an opportunity to finally have a real debate on which party’s policies are better for racial minorities. The thought of a presidential debate between Cain and Barack Obama excites many Republicans to the point of extasy.
 
Unfortunately, Mr. Cain has a very long way to go before becoming a viable presidential candidate. His knowledge of foreign policy is nonexistent and most of his program seems to consist of little more than clever slogans and sound bites. Political professionals note that Cain’s political operation is amateurish at best and few think he stands a chance of winning the Republican nomination. They also note that Cain’s race wouldn’t necessarily help him against Obama, who beat a black Republican named Alan Keyes to win his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004.
 
Whatever happens to the Cain campaign, I think it is good for African Americans to have a foot in both parties. They will be better off if both parties compete for their votes. If Cain helps Republicans think more about blacks and articulate themes and policies that attract their votes, then that is something to be applauded.
 
Note: Those wanting to know more about the political history of race in America may find of interest my 2008 book, “Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past,” which is available from any online bookseller.
 

Eh, I think that's too

Eh, I think that's too complex a theory. To me, it boils down to this: Cain is the perfect candidate for the Tea Party moment: no political or public policy experience or expertise and a pulled-himself-by-his-own-bootstraps life story. And he sounds articulate and confident (as long as he doesn't have to address real policy issues). The fact he's black only matters to the extent it plays into the made-for-a-libertarian-novel life story.

Anyone who's had any experience actually governing something--even if he's as conservative as Rick Perry--can't cut it with the Tea Party types. I think there's a real chance Cain guts it our for a two-man race with Romney and forces Romney even further to the right, which will be a boon for Obama's re-election chances.


Good Prediction

I think you're spot on here, Kyle. Given the GOP's current tendency to flock to whomever is the angriest person in the room, I believe Cain has a very good shot at the nomination. At least, until the rubber meets the road against Romney, who has more organization and more establishment Republicans in his corner. If Fox News gets behind Cain it would be a disaster for Cain and Fox, and would only empower us progressives to show up in November. Either way, it's lights out for the GOP until 2016. But -- and I believe I'm right about this -- the GOP already knows this.


Foreign Policy Maven?

"Unfortunately, Mr. Cain has a very long way to go before becoming a viable presidential candidate. His knowledge of foreign policy is nonexistent and most of his program seems to consist of little more than clever slogans and sound bites"

And Obama was/is an expert on policy, foreign or otherwise? Plz..he has zero experience outside of training future OWS (pee-baggers)participants and campaigning. He's a college Marxist and so are most of his Czars.

How Bartlett can convince himself that Obama's a moderate conservative(kinda like jumbo-shrimp)and not a hippy ala his grandparents/mother...is astonishing. The Keyes comparison is nonsense too...Keyes' personality and demeanor are nothing like Cain's.

Do republicans suck? Yes, as much as the quasi-Marxists steering the demo party? No. Are true conservatives(no Bush/Perry/Romney et al aren't even close)our only hope? No. Following our rule book written by some really smart cats a while back is our only hope.


A cynical message

As a coastal northerner who has lived in the south, I never understood why so many whites down there seem to think we're still fighting the Civil War. With so much inequality still remaining, our national dialogue still turns to distractions like confederate flag license plates and game fields with the N-word.

On Cain - the It's Your Own Fault candidate will never appeal to an ethnic group that has suffered disproportionately from the Great Recession. I have not read your 2008 book yet, but this article and others you have written about the GOP and race tend to frame it as "Republicans ignored the problems of blacks" or "it was a simple constitutional misunderstanding [in 1964]."

The GOP has gone out of its way the last 30 years to disenfranchise blacks to gain white votes in the south (current punching bags seem to be Hispanics and Muslims though). This is not a misunderstanding. Past chairmen of the RNC have acknowledged the party's racist policies. Some have even apologized for it. Your former boss utilized the Southern Strategy quite well as did both Bush presidents. With whites becoming the minority, I don't see it being successful in the future. Other libertarians like Ron Paul still insist the Civil Rights Act was more about property rights than racism. This rhetoric might work in the gated communities of the Houston/Galveston district and for his son in Kentucky, but it won't work in a national campaign.

Until all party leaders and candidates admit their policies (even those with good intentions) have attracted xenophobes and bigots of all shapes and sizes, they won't even begin to attract minorities to their platform. Turning their back on AM radio would be a good start.


Also Republicans are big on

Also Republicans are big on tokenism. Hillary is running, so we need Palin. Obama's black, we need Cain. It's simplistic, but it's the way many think.


That and Palin and Cain are

That and Palin and Cain are almost comically unprepared for office. Both Obama and Clinton are far more capable than either.


Cain

A friend, a writer, thinks Cain's campaign is just a way to flog his book.


Quick question

One last Question

Hi Bruce, I know what you've said about the fed, inflation, and the 1980s, but I've heard that the inflation problem was helped by allowing the dollar to increase in value against other currencies by almost 50 percent, making American products more expensive outside the U.S. How much of inflation coming down so fast was caused by allowing the dollar value increase, and how much came from the Fed's crackdown on inflation. And exactly how much did this effect the deficit then?

Sorry to constantly ask you stuff like this and bother you, just interested that's all.


In some ways they are the

In some ways they are the flip sides of the same coin, or at leat complementary to eachother. If you keep money supply growth low, relative to the money supply growth of other major currencies, you will tend to push up the value of your currency. Low money supply growth is also a key part of how the Fed causes disinflation. However, when the velocity of money crashed in the Great Recession, even a big expanion in the Fed's balance sheet trying to create more money did not cuase inflation. In part that was because the money piled up as excess reserves (at the margin encouraged by actually paying interest on them). Also, durring the panic flight to saftey concerns seemed to be the biggest influence on the level of the dollar exchange rate.


Republicans have long had a

Republicans have long had a conflicted relationship with African Americans. Their party came into existence for the purpose of ending slavery. The Compromise of 1850 and Kansas-Nebraska Act were widely viewed throughout the North as sell-outs to slave owners and there was revulsion against the Whig Party for failing to mount any meaningful opposition to them. In the election of 1854, the Whigs collapsed and Democrats suffered heavy losses throughout the North.

THE REPUBLICAN PARTY CAME INTO EXISTENCE FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENDING THE EXPANSION OF SLAVERY.

At that point, the Democrats largely became a sectional party based in the South and dedicated to the preservation of slavery. The Republican Party arose from the ashes of the Whig Party and was dedicated to the abolition of slavery. It ran its first presidential candidate in 1856, electing former Whig congressman Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860, after the Democrats split into a pro slavery faction headed by Sen. Stephen Douglas of Illinois and a really pro slavery faction headed by former Vice President John Breckenridge of Kentucky.

THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WAS DEDICATED TO ENDING THE EXPANSION OF SLAVERY INTO THE NEW TERRITORIES (E.G., KANSAS, NEBRASKA) FOR POLITICAL REASONS. BY THIS I MEAN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WAS INTERESTED IN ENDING "SLAVE POWER", I.E., PUTTING AN END TO THE ADVANTAGE HELD BY THE SLAVE-HOLDING STATES FIRST GAINED IN THE GREAT COMPROMISE OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE "FEDERAL RATIO", THAT GAVE SLAVE HOLDING STATES (SOUTHERN STATES) AN ADVANTAGE IN REPRESENTATION IN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BY COUNTING SLAVES AS THREE-FIFTHS OF A PERSON - THIS HELPS TO EXPLAIN WHY FOUR OF THE FIRST FIVE PRESIDENTS WERE FROM SLAVEHOLDING STATES.

LINCOLN DIDN'T CHALLENGE SLAVERY WHERE IT EXISTED AND BELIEVED THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAD NO LEGAL RIGHT TO DO SO (BECAUSE SLAVERY WAS SANCTIONED BY THE AFOREMENTIONED GREAT COMPROMISE/FEDERAL RATIO); LINCOLN TOOK A STANCE, AS DID THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, THAT SLAVERY WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO EXPAND IN THE NEW TERRITORIES. THIS WAS A POLITICAL GOAL FOR CONTROL OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO ENACT NATIONALIST POLICIES FOR THE BENEFIT OF CAPITAL AND BUSINESS (THE SOUTH REMAINED FEUDAL AND HAD NO BANKING SYSTEM, INDUSTRY, OR COMMERCE OTHER THAN THAT BASED ON COTTON AND SLAVERY)

After the Civil War, Republicans in Congress passed a number of measures to aid the former slaves, many over the veto of President Andrew Johnson, a Democrat who Lincoln put on the ticket in 1864 to show that the fight to preserve the Union was bipartisan. In addition to the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution, Republicans established a Freedmen’s Bureau to assist the former slaves and protect them from their former masters. In 1875, Republicans enacted a civil rights act very similar to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Unfortunately, the 1875 act was later gutted by the Supreme Court and Democratic congresses.

By 1876, the Democrats had made a significant comeback and almost won the presidency. Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was forced to make a deal with southerners to gain the White House that involved a pull-out of federal troops from the South and an end to aggressive efforts to aid former slaves. Supreme Court decisions throughout the late 19th century restricted the ability of the federal government to protect the rights of southern blacks, which led to the reestablishment of de facto slavery during the Jim Crow era. Southern blacks were routinely denied the right to vote, terrorized by racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, and discriminated against in ways too numerous to mention.

ANOTHER INTERPRETATION WOULD HOLD THAT REPUBLICANS WERE INTERESTED IN PUNISHING THE SOUTH AND PREVENTING SOUTHERN STATES FROM BEING REDEEMED (ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN GOVERNMENT) SO THAT THE REPUBLICAN CONTROL OF GOVERNMENT COULD CONTINUE, NOT WITH HELPING FORMER SLAVES. EVIDENCE OF THIS POINT WAS THE BACK ROOM DEAL MADE TO ENSURE A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT IN RETURN FOR THE END OF RECONSTRUCTION AND THE RETURN TO DE FACTO SLAVERY (JIM CROW) - SOUTHERN STATES REDEEMED WERE NOW ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN GOVERNMENT; CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS WERE COMPLICIT IN THE RETURN OF "SLAVERY" AND REALLY HAD NO MORAL COMPUNCTION TO HELP FORMER SLAVES AS IS PROVEN WITH NIXON'S SOUTHERN STRATEGY WHERE BACKLASH TO THE PROGRESSIVE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT UNITED SOUTHERN CONSERVATIVES (DIXIECRATS) WITH REPUBLICAN CONSERVATIVES

Republicans were sympathetic to the plight of African Americans, but Supreme Court rulings gave the president very little authority to help them. And Senate filibusters by southern Democrats blocked Republican efforts to enact new laws to protect voting rights and prosecute the awful practice of lynching.

ANTI-LYNCHING LEGISLATION WAS CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN POLITICAL POSTURING. SOUTHERN CONSERVATIVES (DIXIECRATS) BLOCKED THE LEGISLATION.

Restrictions on the voting rights of blacks caused the Republican Party in the South to disintegrate following the end of Reconstruction and that region was solidly Democratic until the 1970s. Unfortunately, one consequence is that Republicans had little to gain, politically, from helping African Americans since the bulk of them lived where they could not vote.

ANY WHITE SOUTHERNER WHO VOTED REPUBLICAN WAS A TRAITOR - VOTING FOR THE PARTY OF LINCOLN.

Nevertheless, blacks voted Republican wherever they could because the GOP was the party of Lincoln, who freed them from bondage. Sadly, this led Republicans to take their votes for granted. In the 1930s, blacks had enough with Republican indifference and a majority of them became Democrats. But Republicans continued to get a third of the black vote until 1964, when it fell to just 6 percent. No Republican presidential candidate has gotten more than 15 percent since that time.

SOUTHERN BLACKS VOTED REPUBLICAN UNTIL FDR, WHOSE NEW DEAL PROGRAMS THEY WELCOMED AND WHO THEY SAW AS A FRIEND; THEY HAVE VOTED DEMOCRATIC SINCE (JUST AS SOUTHERN WHITES HAVE VOTED REPUBLICAN SINCE THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACTS OF 1964-5)

I'M NOW BORED WITH THIS CONSERVATIVE APOLOGIST REVISION OF HISTORY ...

The cause of the collapse of the Republican black vote was 1964 Republican presidential nominee Sen. Barry Goldwater’s vote against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on constitutional grounds. He had been advised by both Yale law professor Robert Bork and prominent Phoenix attorney William Rehnquist, later chief justice of the Supreme Court, that the 1964 act was unconstitutional for the same reasons the 1875 act had been found unconstitutional.

Many libertarians, including Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, still believe that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is an unconstitutional infringement on the rights of racists to exclude blacks from service in restaurants, hotels and so on. They believe that the free market would eventually make such discrimination too costly to continue and it would die out. But it lasted for 100 years with no evidence of decline until the federal government stepped in and ended it.

As liberal Democrats from the North gained strength, they became increasingly hostile to their southern brethren. Richard Nixon and other Republicans saw an opening and began reaching out to disaffected Southern conservatives. After the huge Democratic victory in the 1974 elections, liberal Democrats began purging southern Democrats, taking away their committee chairmanships in Congress and otherwise making them feel unwanted. This began the migration of southerners out of the Democratic Party and into the Republican Party, a process that was virtually complete by 1994.

Liberals uniformly believe that the switch of southern Democrats into the GOP meant that Republicans had essentially become what the Democratic Party in the South had been for a century: the party of racial discrimination. Republicans counter that they merely welcomed conservatives from the South, who agreed with them on issues such as taxes and spending, that the Democrats had shunned.

Republicans really hate it when Democrats accuse them of racism simply because they oppose liberal policies for reasons that have nothing to do with race. And in their hearts they truly believe that cutting back government spending and regulation will do more to help African Americans than a continuation of liberal policies such as the minimum wage that actually harm blacks under the guise of helping them.

One problem for Republicans is that they haven’t really competed for the black vote for so long that they really don’t know how. When they try they tend to come across as callous and indifferent to the problems of the black community. One of the few who didn’t was my late boss, Rep. Jack Kemp, who cared deeply and tried, without much success, to get his party to be more responsive the problems of African Americans and work harder to devise policies that would help them.

This brings me back to Mr. Cain. He is the first black Republican in memory to really connect with the way white Republicans think about race. Cain is living proof that the GOP is open to blacks and that Republican policies will benefit them. And with our first African American president in the White House, many Republicans crave an opportunity to finally have a real debate on which party’s policies are better for racial minorities. The thought of a presidential debate between Cain and Barack Obama excites many Republicans to the point of extasy.

Unfortunately, Mr. Cain has a very long way to go before becoming a viable presidential candidate. His knowledge of foreign policy is nonexistent and most of his program seems to consist of little more than clever slogans and sound bites. Political professionals note that Cain’s political operation is amateurish at best and few think he stands a chance of winning the Republican nomination. They also note that Cain’s race wouldn’t necessarily help him against Obama, who beat a black Republican named Alan Keyes to win his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004.

Whatever happens to the Cain campaign, I think it is good for African Americans to have a foot in both parties. They will be better off if both parties compete for their votes. If Cain helps Republicans think more about blacks and articulate themes and policies that attract their votes, then that is something to be applauded.


Lee Atwater doesn't even rate a MENTION?

I find it remarkable that the late Lee Atwater doesn't even rate a *mention* in an article that clearly deals with his legacy - "And in their hearts they truly believe that cutting back government spending and regulation will do more to help African Americans" is exactly the kind of nonsense his strategy demands GOPers pretend to believe while dog-whistling to resentful neo-Confederates.


Dixiecrats left the Dems, furious at the end of white supremacy

Yeah, this is important. Comrade PhysioProf posted the Atwater explanation of the Southern Strategy below; here's Pat Buchanan's explanation of it for the Nixon campaign: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/05/26/080526fa_fact_packer?print...

"[Buchanan] recommended that the White House “exacerbate the ideological division” between the Old and New Left by praising Democrats who supported any of Nixon’s policies; highlight “the elitism and quasi-anti-Americanism of the National Democratic Party”; nominate for the Supreme Court a Southern strict constructionist who would divide Democrats regionally; use abortion and parochial-school aid to deepen the split between Catholics and social liberals; elicit white working-class support with tax relief and denunciations of welfare. Finally, the memo recommended exploiting racial tensions among Democrats. “Bumper stickers calling for black Presidential and especially Vice-Presidential candidates should be spread out in the ghettoes of the country,” Buchanan wrote. “We should do what is within our power to have a black nominated for Number Two, at least at the Democratic National Convention.” Such gambits, he added, could “cut the Democratic Party and country in half; my view is that we would have far the larger half.” "

As to "dog-whistling to neo-confederates," recall John Ashcroft telling the white supremacist "Southern Partisan" magazine, "Your magazine helps set the record straight. You've got a heritage of doing that, of defending Southern patriots like [Robert E.] Lee, [Stonewall] Jackson and [Jefferson] Davis. Traditionalists must do more." Then, as AG, Ashcroft began the suit that came to be called Raich v. Gonzales, defending the federal government's prerogative to imprison people for victimless activities a state's voters had rendered legal under state law. It's simple enough to square that circle-- Republicans defend "states' rights" solely and exclusively when states are infringing on the rights of their citizens.

After the end of white supremacy in the 1960s, the parties gradually sorted out ideologically. The Republican Party fused white resentment over the end of segregation with libertarian talking points about how the government is bad. Now, Reagan didn't believe those talking points altogether-- he raised taxes 11 times. And his GOP successor signed the Americans With Disabilities Act.

But today, there is nothing to GOP loyalty except cultural resentment.

(Well, and maybe personal enrichment. See, e.g., Gregory Mankiw).

That's not an exaggeration. Try to think of any one principle that the GOP has consistently espoused over the last ten years. When Bush Jr. was president, the GOP stood for the proposition that "deficits don't matter," and for uncheckable federal and executive power. Today, the GOP stands for "we don't like President Obama and maybe we're gonna secede." Keen observers might note some inconsistencies. GOP budget proposals consist mostly of clip art. Their presidential candidates are trying to out-stupid each other with data-free, slogan-based tax "policies".

As to the rise of Cain, who knows. Talentless mudslingers like Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Donald Trump have risen to the top of the GOP field solely on the basis of their willingness to say obnoxious, false things about the president. Then they flamed out. Presumably Cain will too.

So, yeah, in theory, it'd be awesome if both parties competed for the votes of African American voters. But the GOP is founded entirely on cultural resentment. And as your fellow GOP excommunication victim David Frum pointed out recently on his blog, the GOP policy program-- to the extent such a thing can be thought to exist-- holds nothing of value to anyone making under about $250,000 a year. It's hard to see how we get from here to there.


Tickled pink

Republicans really hate it when Democrats accuse them of racism simply because they oppose liberal policies for reasons that have nothing to do with race.
This brings me back to Mr. Cain. He is the first black Republican in memory to really connect with the way white Republicans think about race.

This is laughable. First the deflection of blame; second the confession. "The first to connect with the way white Republicans think about race"? Exactly - that it is the black man's fault he has no hope and therefore no reason to play the white Republican game - accrual of wealth to the top through the destruction of social programs, taxation, deregulation. For conservative Republicans, hypocritical demonizing of government spending doesn't apply to the Pentagon System that subsidizes the private sector and champions the projection of force for the capture of markets and the exploitation (or murder) of "others" (conservatives have trouble acknowledging the rights of "others"). If the public fisc were used to support social rather than selfish, asocial or even sociopathic policies, maybe we wouldn't have a race problem in America - something conservatives may exploit to create division and fear for the purpose of their own self-agrandizement (profit)


Strange that a party competes

Strange that a party competes for their votes by setting up hardships for them to vote. I guess the message is a work in progress?


A one sided debate

You discussed the relationship Cain has with white Republicans, but about the relationship that Cain has with African American voters? His numbers among blacks are just as bleak as any of the other white Republican candidates. Even though he seems to have found a way to communicate to white voters, he seems incapable of connecting to black voters. How can the GOP "finally have a real debate on which party’s policies are better for racial minorities" when the minorities themselves aren't listening?

So long as that's the situation, the GOP is merely having it's debate by itself, which is little more than repeating the free market "solutions" which, as you noted above, didn't do African Americans a whole lot of good during the century following the Civil War.

African Americans have heard this all before. If the GOP wanted to really make inroads into the black community it would start meeting it half way on some issues: say, reduced welfare programs in exchange for increasing education in historically black neighborhoods, for example. That's impossible in today's GOP because any increase in government programs -- even if it comes with a corresponding decrease in others -- is anathema. African Americans appreciate government because all too frequently it's one of the few functioning institutions in their community, not because they want a hand-out (This, by the way, is how FDR converted blacks to the Democratic Party: the New Deal gave African Americans jobs where the discrimination of the "free market" shut them out).

Which brings me to the comment about Lee Atwater above. There can be no denying that the GOP has used Black America as a scape goat to win working class whites for the last 40+ years. It's going to take a lot more than Herman Cain to reconcile the mistreatment of black in the GOP's rhetoric (e.g. "welfare queens") during that time.

If the GOP really wants to have a debate about what economic policies are best for minority communities, it must first recognize that it has mistreated the black community for its own political gain and that the consequence of that mistreatment is that they have no credibility with African American voters. Attacking the first African American leader of the country -- someone who has caused a radical internal re-evaluation for the better of the black community's place in the United States -- as a foreign born, illegitimate, Marxist, Manchurian candidate who is so stupid that he can't speak without a teleprompter is probably not the best way to make inroads with minority voters.

Yes, there were conservatives who sincerely had the best interests of blacks in mind and Jack Kemp was definitely one of them. The story of Kemp fighting for black teammates' rights as a member of the Bills is very moving and gave him street cred with African Americans because he had a history of standing up with and for them. Where are those Republicans today?

That they don't exist is frankly appalling. You're right to say that the GOP doesn't know how to connect with minorities when it confuses support for a completely and obviously unqualified candidate like Cain with "outreach." The black community sees it for exactly what it is: a shallow attempt by conservatives to demonstrate that we live in a "colorblind" world and that racism is a thing of the past. That's a ridiculous proposition to the ears of a black voter, who lives with daily reminders that race still matters in ways white folks simply don't.

Watching the GOP "embrace" Herman Cain (for now) is just as awkward and uncomfortable as watching Mitt Romney asking a group of black voters "Who let the dogs out?" It's just as clear that Romney doesn't listen to hip hop as it is that white conservative voters are enthusiastic about Cain because of his great ideas and vast knowledge of the world.

Cain is having his moment right now because supporting him is the very least conservative voters believe they need to do to absolve themselves of a checkered past with regard to race relations. What's the GOP doesn't understand is that elevating Herman Cain actually does more harm to their outreach efforts than good. Most African Americans are bound to look at Cain and think to themselves, "Is this the best one of us you all could find?"


Barriers to vote

You don't understand. The barriers to vote are placed to help them. This is part of the overall Republican approach to help the poor through the flat tax, no capital gains tax, etc. If more blacks voted they would probably vote against these tax proposals out of sheer ignorance.

Somc e commenter mentioned tokens. The R's are great for this. Think Cantor and a former Oklahoma congressman, who finally tired of speaking to white audiences.


Race is only part of it

Race is only part of it. IMO, the bigger explanation is the modern GOP's cargo cult fascination with what they perceive to be "businessmen". This also explains Donald Trump's quick (though brief) rise to the top of the polls when he announced he would run. It's becoming a weird dynamic. The "Joe The Plumber" meme really is quite reflective of a large segment of the GOP base. Recall that he wasn't a plumber, didn't earn anything near what he claimed, and his name wasn't even Joe (hence my cargo cult comment) and add that to Taibbi's line about tax policy and working people who perceive themselves as being "one clogged toilet away from becoming a millionaire" and you pretty much have the modern GOP in a nutshell.boverson the


"And in their hearts they

"And in their hearts they truly believe that cutting back government spending and regulation will do more to help African Americans than a continuation of liberal policies such as the minimum wage that actually harm blacks under the guise of helping them."

What a load of bull. As the commenter upthread mentioned, the rhetoric of "cutting" is about convincing non-wealthy racist whites to vote for policies that benefit the rich by convincing them that those policies will stick it to blacks and hispanics. This is the sole basis for the electoral success of the Republican Party.

Here it is explained by one of its architects:

"Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger.""

Bruce, you are living in a fantasy world Republican Party that hasn't existed for decades, since before Ronald Reagan, whose political genius was to realize that southern racism and white supremacy wasn't just southern, and that it could be mobilized in white suburbs across the nation.


Well, my mother has been a

Well, my mother has been a pretty consistent Republican voter in Massachusetts since at least Nixon's day, and I can tell you that the way she thinks of race is not really as you describe. Here's why many non-Republicans (I am not a Democrat) think Republicans are racist: many of the Republicans we know are actually racist.


Republicans are open to a

Republicans are open to a certain type of black. But only a few of them for novelty sake. They will not put a black in the White House, you can be sure. Cain will poll much better than will be delivered at the polls. It's just a little white guilt being appeased.


I'm going to reveal the

I'm going to reveal the secret formula the GOP can use to compete for black votes.

1. Present a candidate of any race or gender who listens and speaks to the concerns of black americans.*

2. This candidate should also exhibit a general competency in regards to other domestic and foreign policy issues.

3. Profit.

It's a low bar. That the GOP so consistently fails to clear it engenders a lot of mistrust.


This is precisely the issue.

This is precisely the issue. After the Democratic Party splintered in 1964, the Republicans had more to gain in courting the southern white vote than the black vote. When you alienate yourself from a group of voters, it's hard to connect again.

Hence their absolute ineptitude.

Cain pulls this off without the paper trail of a Clarence Thomas, Alan Keys, or similar candidate. That, of course, doesn't mean he will get traction with the black community. But, it does mean the Republicans are trying to move beyond their ignorance.


Cain's Personality

I think the reason he polls so well is his personality and honest answers. Also, he has a very broad background in Mathematics, Business and Banking. Yes, he is not well versed in Foreign affairs, but by contrast Mr Obama is woefuly clueless in business and to quote Carville "Its the economy, Stupid"

Most likely, he will not win the nomination, but he has been refreshing.


He's a Pizza Salesman

Wake up. Government is in fact a career. You do not learn it by being governed any more than you learn how to do surgery by being operated upon.

I feel sorry for you that you think you have no currently experienced, serving Republicans who are worthy of a presidential nomination (I agree with you, by the way). That's still no reason to nominate someone sure to fail.


" You do not learn it by

" You do not learn it by being governed any more than you learn how to do surgery by being operated upon."

If this is true, then the Republic is dead.


Republicans and racism

You let the Republican party off too easily on race. Remember Bush courting active racists at Bob Jones University? This was hardly an isolated instance - it was openly stated Republican policy (see Pat Buchanan reference above). Your defense seems to be "all Republicans aren't racist," but I submit that the better question would be "Are most racists Republican?" My strong intuition is that the answer is "Yes." Same question/answer for homophobes, mysogenists, gun toting anarchists, religious nuts, ...


I'd love to believe you,

I'd love to believe you, Bruce. Sadly, I do not. Simply observing GOP behavior and knowing GOP voters tells me that your take is... shall we say aspirational. You're a good egg and all, but the GOP is rotten to the core.


re: Cain is a prop

Cain is a Koch creation to divide the black vote and is racist,cynical and dismissive of black needs at its heart.


Simplicity

Too much complexity, Bruce. Cain may be about the GOP's race history to you because you know about it. For most of the party, though, and especially for the activist tea-party factions, it's Cain's simple-minded sloganeering that gets them, plus his willingness to speak categorically and talk back to the media. It's all about the Cain brand.

I find his biography as posted on Wikipedia very enlightening. It appears to me that he was fast-tracked at Pillsbury (a Minnesota-based company with, I'd wager, self-consciously progressive affirmative action policies) in the 80s, assigned to a Burger King regional headship on the basis of strong performance in financial analysis. He succeeded in turning the region around by teaching customer service to the staff, complete with catchy slogan. He then was moved to head Godfather's, another Pillsbury subsidiary, and saved it by closing 200 locations, then led an LBO of it in 1988. While there he was almost immediately chosen for the Kansas City Fed's Omaha branch board, then for the Kansas City board. Clearly, he had patrons in high places. He decided to do politics from 1996 on.

He'd already cut his teeth getting in Clinton's face about health care in 1993, in Kansas City. He was on the Fed board at the time. And he was also on the Restaurant Association board; he headed it in 1996, when he also advised the Dole campaign.

Most interestingly and something I'd never seen mentioned, he had a presidential campaign going in 2000 and a senatorial one in 2004. After that, it was Americans for Prosperity, the Koch operation, all the way, presumably speaking engagements. In 2006 he also voiced ads for black radio markets that tried to smear Democrats and steer the black vote to Republicans. And of course there's the radio show.

So while it's correct to say that he's never held political office, it's a completely wrong idea that he's a political newbie. He is really, I think, a capable business analyst with good PR skills who actively sought and got both business and political patronage. Godfather's was over for him 15 years ago, after all, and it was entrepreneurial in a very different sense than we usually would think of. Rags (or really lower-middle-class) to riches through ability and patronage, a lot like Andrew Carnegie when he first moved from the Pennsy into iron (he had all kinds of contracts set up already). Not so much building up a chain from just a few shops, the way we might think.

He's slick. He sloganeers emptily but appropriately for his target audience, like Palin and Bachmann but without the flaky beauty-pageant incoherence of the one and the walking-undead eerieness of the other. He sounds decisive on the surface, tends to speak declaratively, and has a good speaking voice. He's making himself a salable GOP brand, aimed primarily at the tea-party and fringe elements that make up the bulk of primary voters, but really with closest ties to the kind of extremist right-wing money that Eisenhower disapproved of in letters to his brother.

And if it's not too conspiratorial of me, I don't really think his campaign is laughably amateurish at heart; the usual political journos are missing this completely. Rather, it's all about the branding. It's really an audacious shot at seeing whether we've reached the point in America where a candidate can win solely on the basis of branding-- ads and PR and sloganeering. It works for preachers, it works for selling products, it's the core of celebrity merchandising (what else is there to Kim Kardashian than celebrity itself, aka the brand?). Why not for presidents? If you have more money than God and want to control political decision-making, as the Kochs and their allies have said they do, why not give this possibility a shot too?


Bruce, your comment Their

Bruce, your comment
Their party came into existence for the purpose of ending slavery.
is incorrect. The Republican party erupted from the Whig Party(Ripon 1854). The cotton whigs were not invited. The cotton whigs could seldom carry their states in the South. The Whig party in the early republic represented "the rich". In the early republic "the rich" were landowners. The southern landowners(plantation owners) became rich due to the industrialization of Britain. The Northern landowners went into industry but due to competition from Britain did not do so well. They needed protection(high tariffs). Southerns did not want high tariffs and the constant battle(slowly won by the South)led to sectional rivalry and the demise of the Whigs as a party. The Northern Whigs became the Republicans Party which opposed extension of slavery into the territories but not abolition. Southern overeaction led to the Civil War and abolition of slavery. But look at the tariffs that were enacted as soon as the Southerners left Congress and remained until Wilson got them reduced(temporarily) in 1913. That is what the Republican Party came into existence for.


RollingStone Article

Tim Dickinson quotes you a bunch in his RS article. It would be interesting to hear your take/comments.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-the-gop-became-the-party-o...




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