For Black Democrats, Is Herman Cain a Blessing or Embarrassment?

I wonder if black Democrats consider Herman Cain a blessing or an embarrassment.

No, really. Think about it. Conservative Republicans are counting on Cain to siphon off enough black votes – they estimate 20 to 30 percent — to crush President Obama’s reelection hopes.

I rolled my eyes when I first read this on one conservative’s Facebook page. To me it was emblematic of the cynical, racist rhetoric that one hears on conservative talk radio. But that was before Cain started climbing in the polls, and now claims frontrunner status in the GOP primary race.

Then Cain started talking; and now, he won’t shut-up.

Echoing the race-based, if not outright racist, styling of the Rush Limbaughs of the world, Cain first condescendingly implied that blacks disproportionately support Democrats because they are too stupid to do otherwise. Actually he said it is because they are brainwashed to “not even considering a conservative point of view.” Forget that the conservative point of view often leaves out issues of import to black voters, such as education, poverty and discriminatory practices that continue to put them at a disadvantage. No, Cain says discrimination and racism aren’t really problems in America these days. In fact, he believes blacks “want to use racism as an excuse for them not being able to achieve what they want to achieve.” In other words, if they don’t succeed, blacks only have themselves to blame.

Ahhhh, classic conservatism.

In the past week Cain took offense to questions about his decision not to participate in the 1960s civil rights movement; a day or so later he boldly questioned Obama’s blackness. That would be the same Obama, the community organizer, who once advocated for poor residents living in a Chicago public housing project.

But I digress…

Despite such credentials, many black voters – unimpressed with his performance in the White House – had wearied of Obama. Just last month polls showed that Obama’s support among black voters, while still strong, slipped to 54 percent from 77 percent a year ago. But if Cain keeps talking, that might all change.

I am willing to wager that Cain’s rhetoric might actually serve to incense black voters just enough for them to rally at the polls. In fact, I cannot help but imagine Obama, somewhere in the Oval Office, quietly exhorting Cain to “keep talking my brother.’’ Cain might be Obama’s best hope of regaining traction with black voters.

Still, one can’t help but to sometimes cringe when Cain opens his mouth. Case in point, while he celebrates his standout performance in Tuesday night’s Bloomberg debate on the economy, Cain’s praise of a ‘chief economic advisor’ should bring a sense of shame. Turns out that advisor, Richard Lowrie, knows very little about the global economy, if anything at all.

According to Lowrie’s LinkedIn profile, reports the Huffington Post, “his education tops out with a Bachelor of Science in accountancy from Case Western University. He has no formal training in economics, and there is no indication that he has ever worked on public policy. According to that same profile, Lowrie’s political experience includes working on the board of advisers for Americans For Prosperity, a hardline conservative outfit founded by the Koch Brothers, until 2008. In 2011, the group ran into trouble for posting fake eviction notices on the doors of Detroit families.”

Perhaps the Obama camp can safely consider Cain an embarrassment and THAT can prove to be a blessing.

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