The Ben Carson Phenomenon


“You know, they put you in a little category, a little box—you have to think this way. How could you dare come off the plantation?”

Ben Carson

Perhaps insensate equivocation is the sort of unfortunate outcome one should expect from a collective that views itself more as a marketplace than a community, but rising conservative star Dr. Ben Carson offers the latest reminder of obvious differences:

Dr. Ben Carson and President George W. Bush, 2008.Dr. Ben Carson, a black Johns Hopkins University neurosurgeon and conservative favorite after challenging President Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, said Monday on “The Mark Levin Show” that white liberals are “racist.”

“And you’re attacked in many respects because of your race. You’re not supposed to think like this, and supposed to talk like this. A lot of white liberals just don’t like it, do they?” said Levin, host of the syndicated radio show.

“Well, they’re the most racist people there are. You know, they put you in a little category, a little box—you have to think this way. How could you dare come off the plantation?” responded Carson.

Let us start with the obvious: What does that even mean?

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Herman Cain apologizes to American Muslims


GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain tried to apologize to American Muslims yesterday:

Cain 2012 LogoI would like to thank Imam Mohamed Magid and the ADAMS Center for extending their hospitality to me this afternoon. We enjoyed heartfelt fellowship and thoughtful dialogue about how patriotic Americans of all faiths can work together to restore the American Dream.

While I stand by my opposition to the interference of shariah law into the American legal system, I remain humble and contrite for any statements I have made that might have caused offense to Muslim Americans and their friends. I am truly sorry for any comments that may have betrayed my commitment to the U.S. Constitution and the freedom of religion guaranteed by it. Muslims, like all Americans, have the right to practice their faith freely and peacefully.

As I expected, we discovered we have much more in common in our values and virtues. In my own life as a black youth growing up in the segregated South, I understand their frustration with stereotypes. Those in attendance, like most Muslim Americans, are peaceful Muslims and patriotic Americans whose good will is often drowned out by the reprehensible actions of jihadists.

I am encouraged by the bonds of friendship forged today at our meeting, and I look forward to continuing this very healthy dialogue. The relationship we established was so positive that the Imam has invited me back to speak to not only some of their youth, but also at one of their worship services.

Robert Marro, Government Relations Chair, ADAMS CenterNaturally, some are wondering whether the race-baiting Republican who thinks he is President Obama’s worst nightmare simply because he’s black is genuinely represented by the statement his campaign released. One witness to his meeting with Imam Mhamed Magid suggested that Cain’s words could be trusted. “He seemed genuinely surprised,” Robert Marro, the Government Relations Chairman for the ADAMS Center, where the meeting occurred, explained to Talking Points Memo. “It was almost like he was saying, ‘I should’ve known better.'”

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The magic of Herman Cain


Cain 2012 LogoTo what degree is the maxim true, that there is no such thing as bad press? Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain may well be putting it to the test.

Recent days have witnessed what might be the official beginning of the public discourse debate about Herman Cain’s outlook on Islam and Muslims. The Hermanator has already challenged conventional wisdom by arguing that because of his race—i.e., black—we should vote for him because he takes the race card off the table against Obama. And then he went on to prove his point by arguing that President Obama is not a strong black man. When pressed, he acknowledged that he felt President Obama is not really a black man.

So there are plenty who have been watching with interest as Cain has repeatedly challenged conventional wisdom in terms of religious identity politics. Perhaps it comes down to the notion that Herman Cain is simply not going to win the GOP nomination, and it really does seem a safe bet.

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Hermanating the First Amendment


Herman Cain is playing for the bigot vote.Some years back, before the internet beat every dead horse into a mudhole, a New York professor, Dr. Leonard Jeffries, stirred controversy by asserting that black people cannot, by virtue of empowerment balance, be racist. And while one can construct the argument in a way that it makes abstract sense, it’s kind of hard to translate that abstraction into practice. When a racist, or any sort of bigot gets in your face, it really doesn’t matter what color their skin is.

However, Herman Cain is working hard to demolish Jeffries’ assertion.

One would think that’s an easy job, since maybe twelve people in the whole country ever agreed with Jeffries. But Cain is putting some serious effort into it.

In 2010, he argued that Republicans should vote for him because he’s black, in order to take the race card off the table. No, really, he did. Of course, he said it to World Net Daily, so it’s a safe bet none of the faithful readers and supporters of the site noticed the contradiction.

And while religious bigotry isn’t racism, well, I still can’t see how the first paragraph of Tim Murphy‘s article for Mother Jones, covering Cain’s latest episode of outrageous bigotry, could possibly help make Mr. Jeffries’ point. Empowerment issues aside—

GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain has an Islam problem. The former Godfather’s pizza godfather put his foot in his mouth early in his campaign when he told Think Progress he wouldn’t appoint any Muslims in his administration (which would be unconstitutional), and again when he said Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) wasn’t loyal to the Constitution because he’s Muslim, and again when he said he has never encountered an American Muslim who is loyal to the Constitution, and then again when he denied ever saying any of those things and blamed the media.

—that’s just not a paragraph anyone should ever want to read about himself. Continue reading