Conspiracy theories

    As we wait for the next shoe to drop on Herman Cain’s head – one of the women wants to be released from her confidentiality agreement; her lawyer says she is anxious to rebut Cain’s denial of sexual harassment – let us marvel at his defenders’ futile attempts to depict him as the victim of a “liberal” gotcha-media racist conspiracy.This was inevitable, of course, because this is what ideologues do. As soon as the story broke late Sunday night on the Politico website, it was only a matter of 3-2-1…”Liberals are terrified of Herman Cain,” Ann Coulter exclaimed on Fox News. “He is a strong, conservative black man…They are terrified of strong, conservative black men.”

    “A black man who thinks for himself…He needs to be put in his place, a lot of people think,” said Laura Ingraham on her radio show. The media has clearly decided that it’s “time to put this man in, hate to say it, the back of the bus.””The left-wing media has a track record of breathlessly taking down Republican candidates,” said Sean Hannity on his Fox show. This time, the “left-wing media” wants to ruin Cain because he “represents a real threat to a liberal narrative.””I think the left is totally and completely terrified of a conservative black man coming to power and prominence,” said Atlanta tea-party leader Debbie Dooley.”Politico is a Democratic organ, a spinoff of The Washington Post,” said former pollster and current Fox News talking head Dick Morris.My malarkey-meter just went tilt.Where in the world of empirical reality is there even a trace of evidence that “liberals” or “the left” are “terrified” of Herman Cain? The factual truth is that they view Cain as comic relief, laughing at his dearth of electoral credentials, and amused that Republican primary voters would actually grant him front-runner status. After all, this is a guy who can barely last a day without changing his stance on abortion; or making clear what he really thinks about the Middle East (last spring, he talked favorably about the Palestinians returning to their ancestral lands now held by Israel, yet now he’s talking about “the so-called Palestinian people”); or making sense on national security (two nights ago, he said that China “is trying to develop nuclear capability,” whereas, in reality, China has been nuclear-capable since 1964).My point is, if “liberals” were really going to gin up a Cain conspiracy, their goal would not be to destroy him. Quite the opposite. These conspirators (if even capable of conspiring) would surely seek to boost Cain, in the hope that he’d win the Republican nomination and award Barack Obama the gift of a hapless opponent.Nevertheless,  the right-wing meme is that Politico’s scandal scoop is proof of a “liberal” media conspiracy. After all, as Dick Morris pointed out, several Politico founders used to work for The Washington Post. (By the way, can’t Fox find someone better than Morris to comment on scandal? Lest we forget, Morris was forced to quit his job as Bill Clinton’s pollster back in 1996 after he was outed for cavorting with a call girl. Besides, there is currently a conflict of interest issue. Cain’s campaign buys ads on Morris’ website.)Yes, it would surely be better if we had a more ideologically diverse media – if, for instance, at least one major Washington outlet could have a CEO with sterling Republican credentials that included a long stint in the Reagan White House; if, for instance, at least one major Washington outlet hired reporters who formerly worked for the conservative National Review and Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post…Oh wait, there is one such outlet. I have just described Politico.Politico’s CEO is Frederick Ryan, who worked for Reagan as Assistant to the President, and who, more recently, was board chairman of the Reagan presidential library. Ryan is tight with Politico’s main financier, Joe Allbritton, who in turn has long been tight with the Bush family. More importantly, of the four reporters who broke the Cain scandal story, one of them is a New York Post alum and another is a National Review alum.And those alums may well have worked their Republican sources to break the story. Because the people who really had the best motive for targeting Cain are not “liberals” “terrified” of a black man, but Republicans terrified at the prospect of Cain leading their party to disaster in 2012. Indeed, Mike Huckabee, the ’08 candidate who commentates on Fox, said the other night he can “almost guarantee” that it was a Republican who dropped the dime on Cain.Rightly so. And whoever did it understands the relevance of this scandal. With the serious business of primary voting just two months away, Cain is asking that he be judged as a presidential candidate on the basis of his track record in the private sector. The payouts to these two women are part of that record. Fantasy claims about terrified liberal conspirators can’t possibly obscure that fundamental fact. ——-Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1

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