Sunday, November 06, 2011
Quote of the Day
"You got it."
-- Herman Cain responding to a journalist who asked if he plans to never answer any questions about the incidents of alleged sexual harassment in his past
This is the point where all of us rational people chuckle derisively at the idea that a guy accused of having sexually harassed a bunch of women thinks he can win the GOP presidential nomination without ever answering the press's questions about that alleged harassment. This is also the point where I catch myself and remind everyone not to laugh at this -- because while Herman Cain doesn't stand a chance in hell of ever becoming the Republican nominee, let alone President of the United States, there's nothing the least bit shocking about his assuming that he can go the distance in GOP politics while completely ignoring and even demonizing the traditional media.
What one underqualified political celebrity began a few years ago is now coming to logical fruition with another. Sarah Palin made the admittedly canny decision to not only write off any media outlet which dared to make her pea-brain hurt by lobbing a bunch of pesky questions at her, she publicly rebuked those outlets for demanding she know things; now Cain is taking that concept one step further by both ducking questions regarding a legitimate scandal consuming his campaign and blaming the media for concocting the scandal in the first place. What makes Cain think he can at least somewhat get away with it -- why Palin did before him -- is the fact that Fox News exists. I've said this over and over again so I won't get into it in detail, but the rise of Fox as the dominant bullhorn for Republican talking points throughout the media universe -- a propaganda machine so powerful that it has the ability to influence coverage at other news outlets -- means that a GOP candidate need never suffer through another adversarial interview again if he or she chooses. Cain isn't playing to every American at the moment; he's playing to the Republican base only -- and Fox owns the Republican base, lock, stock and barrel of uninformed monkeys.
If Herman Cain wants to marginalize the responsible press, he knows he pretty much can -- and what we're witnessing may be the shamelessly brazen new model for how Republicans embroiled in scandal attempt to sidestep the quagmire that years ago would've dragged them under instantly: ignore, evade, ridicule, and let the talking heads on Fox take up your cause and launder your sins in their own private news cycle. Cain has simply decided to, as I'm sure he sees it, take the wind out of the mainstream media's sails; he knows that answering a single question will just lead to a flood of others behind it, so why not deny responsible journalists the chance of getting the better of him by denying their right to ask questions at all. Like Palin, Cain is playing the persecution card and claiming that anything that trips him up isn't his fault but the fault of a Star Chamber of unethical journalists who have collectively ruled that he must be destroyed.
Will it work? With the GOP base, which is becoming more and more insulated and insane every minute, probably. With everyone else -- the ones who haven't made up their mind in advance and who are looking for information rather than confirmation -- probably not.
But again, none of this matters for Cain anyway. A gaffe-prone black guy won't win the GOP nomination if there's an equally conservative gaffe-prone white guy to get behind. And a cartoonish pizza salesman with zero governmental experience who in the span of just 24 hours has said, "People that want to be lazy and not help themselves, well, that’s their little boogie-woogie," and "When people get on the Cain train, they don't get off," isn't gonna win the general election.