Monday, October 17, 2011

Is Herman Cain proof the tea party isn't racist?

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Each day, we'll be telling you what we think about issues affecting the Charlotte region, North Carolina and our country. We'll bring you other perspectives, too, and we'll invite you to give yours. (Because we know you're shy about that sort of thing.)

I'm Peter St. Onge, an associate editor on the Observer's editorial board. Each weekday, a member of the board will host O-pinion, and we'll offer new items throughout the day. We'll be rolling out features as we go along this month, but each day will have some constants: You'll see tomorrow's print editorials here as they're written, and we'll tell you at the end of each afternoon who we thought had a good day or bad day.

Also, we'll bring you a roundup each morning of opinion we see locally, regionally and around the country. If you see something folks should read, let us know.

So what are people talking about this morning?

President Barack Obama is in North Carolina this week, with stops in Asheville this morning, then Millers Creek and Jamestown to pitch his jobs plan.

The Republican primary is entering a new phase, one that doesn't include debates, a prospect that makes Texas Gov. Rick Perry very happy. Just weeks ago, he was the front-runner of the Not Mitt Romney segment of the GOP field, but after exhibiting some lackluster debating skills, he's dropped into the tier below Romney and the new Not Mitt favorite, Herman Cain.

Now, some are crowing that Cain's success is proof that the tea party isn't racist. David Weigel of Slate explored just that over the weekend.

Problem is, says Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page, Cain doesn't really seem to like black people. At the least, says columnist Leonard Pitts, Cain doesn't seem comfortable in his own skin.

Better discuss now, because Cain's time at the top of the polls likely will be limited. He may or may not be proof of the tea party's color-blindness - our view: the party has been focused more on government largesse than the skin color of the people benefiting from it - but Cain's one substantial proposal, the 9-9-9 tax plan to prosperity, has been mostly panned by economists.

Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Close to home

Our editorial this morning explains why it's good for CMS not only to ask, but use what the public says it wants in a new superintendent.

Today's Letters to the Editor offer suggestions on how to make the inevitable Duke Energy rate increase more palatable, and how to be more pragmatic about CMS graduation rates.

In case you missed it over the weekend, we dropped some Montesquieu on you to explain why N.C. Republicans are dissing kids and the Constitution.

In North Carolina

The Raleigh News & Observer applauds Sen. Kay Hagan for reaching across the aisle to Republican Sen. John McCain for a change in our tax code that could bring more jobs to Americans.

Also from Raleigh, something we've never thought to type here: Let's celebrate the mullet.

Around the country

Former Observer biz editor Jon Talton writes in the Seattle Times that if the banks hate a rule, it must be a good one.

And finally, just to stir things up on your way to the rest of the day- the New York Post asks: Hillary for VP? It's not as farfetched as you think.


Veronica said...

So Cain is a problem because three flaming liberals: David Weigel, Clarence Page and Leonard Pitts don't think he's black enough?

Cain is a problem only because he makes it more difficult for the Left to play the race card.

Idlewild said...

The tea party is using Cain as a buffer to protect themselves from charges of racism. Google the Bradley effect and see what you think.

Anonymous said...

Leonard Pitts notes that black unemployment runs twice that of whites.

And in the same article he mentions black kids who think doing well in school is "acting white".

I think there is a connection between those two dots he's apparently unable to see.

Wiley Coyote said...


You lost all credibility with me yesterday by using a lame excuse on your "immigration" piece that the title was changed due to "space constraints".

You know as well as I do that a title that says this:

What happens after we send the immigrants away?

is far different than the revised title which is this:

What happens after we send the illegal immigrants away?

I would say you won your own "good day/bad day" award for yesterday.

MarkB said...

The question is a non-starter. Only liberals think the Tea Party is racist (or the GOP for that matter) because the thought that minorities can attain success without government assistance is frightening.

Leonard Pitts is the racist. He sees a bogeyman in every corner, and believes that blacks can't make it in life without the government helping them.

The question should really be "Are Democrats and liberals racist". There vitriolic assaults on conservative blacks are despicable.

Mr. Cain's 9-9-9 plan is supported and opposed. The one thing that is different is that he has submitted a plan, something Obama and the Democrats have not done for years. So at least Mr. Cain's plan is a starting point for discussion.

If liberals voted for Obama in 2008 to prove they aren't racists, will they vote for Cain in 2012 to affirm this? After all, both of his parents are black, and he is a descendant of slaves. How great is that? Oh, and he has a work history.

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Hi Wiley,

Blogs regularly have different headlines than what appears in print, because there are different space considerations. I think that including "illegal" makes the headline better, which is why I did so on the blog. But the column itself didn't change, and it was clearly about illegal immigrants.


PH50 said...

The media is guilty of racial prejudice many times more than the public are. This article is evidence.

The Observer Editorial Board said...

That's interesting, PH50. How so?

PH50 said...

The media once again demonstrates racial prejudice when they disagree with a candidate of different race shows potential. Shame on the journalist for wearing the racial bigotry because of your political misallignment to the issues.

Ghoul said...

Welcome to O-pinion, a new place for argument.

That is only if you have a Google account, and of course, the editorial board allows your comment to be seen.

Pete you are either ignorant or disingenuous if you don't see the problem with including illegal in your title in the paper. Without it, it has a completely different meaning. We all know it was a conscious decision of yours and the editorial board to call all illegal immigrants just immigrants to fit your mantra.

You could just admit it and apologize for think we are all too stupid to know the difference.

The Observer Editorial Board said...


The first sentence of the column, if you read it, had the term "illegal immigration." It was clear from the start what we were talking about.

The thing is, we agree: I think the headline was better with illegal in it, which is why I made that improvement for online. If I had another go-round, I would've worked harder to get it in the print headline.

But sorry, nothing nefarious going on there.


Ken said...

What is a fanatic? "A fanatic is someone who wont shut up, and who wont change the subject." -Winston Churchill.

That pretty much describes modern liberalism. No matter what you are talking about, they always come back with "racist!"

It's time to shut up, and change the subject.


WashuOtaku said...

I would argue that the Tea Party was never racist, that people that disagree with the party simply call them that to demonize them. A realitively simple answer to the question.

Tandemfusion said...

The question of whether Herman Cain stands as proof that the Tea Party is not racist, is nonsensical on many counts.

First of all, since there is no "Tea Party" per se, the question is to say the least imprecise. The matter of attempting to label certain people as members of the non-existent tea party has been an ongoing partisan theme by Democrats for some while now, since it is so imprecise as to create perfect straw man arguments.

And then there is the matter of seeking proof to negate a charge that is unsupported by evidence in the first place. why would such proof be needed: is there any evidence that the tea party movement is largely comprised of those with a racist agenda? If so, why do those insist that the tea party movement is racist, never bring forward any proof of a broad race based agenda or motivation?

And then there is the matter of what a handful of writers have to say regarding both Cain and the tea party movement: such speculation is little more than the raw material of which writers and opinion mongers make a paycheck. IT is neither thoughtful nor realistic to cast every act of a black man, and every reaction of people generally to that black man, as based upon his race. Why it's so bloody hard for these creatures to wrap their head around the idea that while THEY may be obsessed with race, the rest of the world largely cares about policies and ideas.

Such things are not the product of serious journalism, but rather of today's polemicists, who are heirs to the yellow journalism of earlier years.

One Discerner said...

Those working in the fields knew never to fully trust those working in the big house. The Tea Party is still racist. Clarence Thomas, Ward Connerly...Herman Cain are cut from the same cloth.

Claxton said...

I don't believe everyone who is connected to the Tea Party is racist. That being said, Herman Cain's presence does not prove that there isn't racism within the Tea Party. There most certainly is, and I don't need the media to show me that. I've read a lot of comments across the internet, and those comments say to me that racism is rife among those minions.

Herman Cain is, of course, a tool. He can get away with saying what people like Rick Perry and Mitt Romney cannot say, because he is black. He's not smart enough to realize he's being used as a mouthpiece, and that he's already insulted and alienated himself from the part of the base he needs to win - the very same black people who voted for someone who didn't talk down to them. I'd just as soon vote for Daffy Duck. He's nuts too, but he hasn't forgotten that he's black.