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CONSERVATIVES DISH ON CAIN, RACE: My Interview Below

This is article appeared Sunday, June 13, 2011, in the Philadelphia Tribune and is written by Zack Burgess

For more than two weeks now, and especially since Herman Cain was hit with allegations of sexual harassment, several talk show hosts have rallied around him, using race and his conservatism as a way to ex:plain why he has encountered some of his recent troubles.

First there was Rush Limbaugh, who recently said on his show: that the article in Politico is part of a process to tear down a Black Republican. Then there was Ann Coulter.

“Liberals detest, detest, detest conservative Blacks,” Coulter said. “…This is now the second time a conservative Black has had outrageous, and what appear to be false, allegations leveled against him.”

The first, in her view, was Clarence Thomas.

She didn’t stop there, inferring that a cadre of women, who were quick to forgive Bill Clinton for his sexual transgressions, was now attacking Herman Cain. “If you are a conservative Black, they will believe the most horrible sexualized fantasies of these uptight white feminists,” she said.

This prompted radio host Sean Hannity to wonder why liberals were, in his words, so “threatened” by Cain. Needless to say, Coulter was blunt in her response.

“Our Blacks are so much better than their Blacks,” she said, speaking of Democrats. “To become a Black Republican, you don’t just roll into it. You’re not going with the flow… and that’s why we have very impressive Blacks in the Republican Party.”

There has been a collective response to the Politico.com report that GOP front-runner Cain had settled two sexual harassment lawsuits when he headed the National Restaurant Association, a lobbying group for the food industry, in the 1990s.

And given that Cain gave inconsistent answers to questions raised by the article and has refused to acknowledge his latest accuser, Sharon Bialek — he has only been his own worst enemy.

“People refer to Herman Cain as a “Black conservative” as if he is some alien species,” said political analyst Mitch Baroody. “While the NAACP means well in protecting civil rights, I find them to be very quick on the trigger in pulling the race card and setting up divides. By talking about whites and Blacks like they are so different, it effectively makes them different. It allows people to use race as an excuse not to perform or an excuse as a defense to criticism.”

Coulter evoked the Thomas parallel when she dredged up the famous phrase from his nomination hearings 20 years ago.

At that time it was Thomas who made the statement that effectively neutralized questions about inappropriate sexual conduct raised by attorney Anita Hill.

Keep in mind, Coulter has called the Rev. Al Sharpton a “fat, race-baiting Black man” and has defended the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens as being unfairly accused of racism.

“The rendering of Black people as the ornaments of diversity, rather than incarnations of it, is one of the essential reasons why Blacks clash with conservatism,” said Political analyst Yvette Carnell.

Cain’s rise to the top of the GOP presidential pool has set off a furor among conservatives who saw Cain and other conservative minorities as victims of the so-called-liberal media. Limbaugh compared Cain’s problems to those of Marco Rubio, the U.S. senator from Florida who frequently told the story of his family fleeing Castro, which turned out to be untrue. Apparently the Rubios left Cuba several years before Castro came to power.

In a 12-minute exposition on the subject, Limbaugh called the reporting on Cain a “hit job.” “Anything good that happens to any Black or Hispanic in American politics can only happen via the Democrat Party. If it happens elsewhere, we’re going to destroy those people a la Clarence Thomas,” he said.

Speaking of Blacks’ place in America, MSNBC contributor, author and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan said in his just-released book, “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”: “The European and Christian core of our country is shrinking.”

He says that “Old heroes like Columbus and Robert E. Lee may be replaced on calendars by Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez.” He goes on to write: “The End of White America. Those who believe the rise to power of an Obama rainbow coalition of peoples of color means the whites who helped to engineer it will steer it are deluding themselves. The whites may discover what it is like to ride in the back of the bus.”

For 21 consecutive months now, MSNBC has been No. 1 among African-American viewers in prime time. So it’s no surprise that Buchanan, hasn’t appeared on the network since his comments.

The Huffington Post’s reported that Buchanan hasn’t shown up on MSNBC since Oct. 22, while doing the rounds on other stations to promote his new book.

“A Conservative does not change because he is a different color,” Baroody said. “A Liberal does not change his philosophy because of his color either. Color should not be a part of this debate. People should lean on the side of conviction and not outward appearance. But because people have put such an emphasis on color, it allows politicos to make excuses like, ‘the media doesn’t like me because I’m a Black Conservative.’ It’s disgusting that we have let our society come to this after the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968.”

ColorofChange.org, a civil rights group, asked its members to sign a petition urging MSNBC to fire Buchanan, rattling off a series of questionable comments he has made over the years.

The Anti-Defamation League also chimed in, labeling Buchanan a racist and anti-Semite. Calderone even spoke with a station executive, who told him that, “the network is taking the concerns seriously.”

He also stressed that the decision to freeze out Buchanan was made long before the groups started rallying against him.

“To me, it’s disgusting,” Baroody said. “Blacks and whites are equals, only different in appearance. In the progressive age we live in today, Blacks and whites should be sticking up for each other more and calling out those that abuse the ‘race card’ as an excuse. Every time someone refers to a candidate as a ‘Black Conservative’ there should be whites and Blacks protesting this type of language because it sets up divides.”

Zack Burgess is the enterprise writer for The Tribune. He is a freelance writer and editor who covers culture, politics and sports. He can be contacted at zackburgess.com.

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