Cain Gets His Demagogue On


Hermain Cain did an interview with a far right Israeli newspaper called Israel Hayom and engaged in some serious demagoguery, with a whole lot of ignorance unsurprisingly thrown in for good measure. But he also revealed who might be his VP choice if he gets the nomination:

Who would you feel most comfortable going with to the White House as your number two?

Newt Gingrich. Despite some of the baggage that he has, he’s the most knowledgable, the sharpest, and respected by all. But unfortunately you have some of the social conservatives out there who still want to go back to some of the disagreements that they had with him early on in his career. But in terms of someone who brings the greatest mind, of intellectual capital, history, knowledge and experience … Now, electability is a different consideration.

Yikes.

In a Cain administration there would be no question in the minds of the world and the American people that we would stand with Israel. No question. It wasn’t the president’s right to suggest that they change those borders and I didn’t agree with that. For example, I think that the so-called Palestinian people have this urge for unilateral recognition because they see this president as weak.

Unilateral recognition? Virtually the entire world recognizes that the Palestinian people should be able to govern themselves to one degree or another. Hell, a large proportion of Israelis recognize that. And asking the United Nations to recognize that can’t possibly be called “unilateral.” The government of Israel is virtually alone — that’s what unilateral means, Herman — in not recognizing that.

And this cliche about “standing with Israel” is nonsensical. What does it mean? Does it mean we would defend Israel against attack? Of course we would. No one could possibly doubt that. But if it means agreeing with anything the government of Israel does, no one in their right mind should ever support such an idea.

What do you think of the Obama administration’s handling of Iran and what would you do differently, if anything?

I don’t know if this is going to translate well in your language: Choke. Choke them economically. Here’s what I mean by that and I know that that’s not politically correct to say but here’s the idea: It costs them $70 a barrel to break even on their oil. It costs Saudi Arabia $30. We’re going to develop an energy-independent strategy. We will move toward energy independence in the Cain administration. We’ve got the resources to do it, we need the will, the leadership and we get some of these unnecessary regulations out of the way. We will impact the world price of oil. We get the price of oil down to $70 or below, and the Iranians won’t have enough money to build a nuclear program. They’re going to have to worry about feeding their people instead.

Talk about ignorance. Pssst. Herman….We don’t buy any oil from Iran. And if we managed to bring up every drop of oil under land that the U.S. controls, it would have almost no impact on oil prices. And a whole lot of that oil has not been brought up precisely because it is too expensive to do so and won’t be cost effective without the price of oil being higher than it is now, not lower. Cain simply has no idea what he’s talking about.

But here’s the real demagoguery:

Do you think this president represents American values?

I do not believe he represents American values. One of our American values is: America is an exceptional country. He appears to want to try and apologize for that. Americans hate that. They hate that. It’s not that Americans feel arrogant but the opportunities that people have in this country, the standard of living that people have in this country, is exceptional. Our military capability, it’s exceptional. It’s weaker now, but it’s exceptional. That’s a huge American value. That same attitude is what started this country. And it appears as if he is trying to diminish and mitigate that. So from that standpoint he doesn’t represent American values.

I’ve got news for you, Herman. Americans ARE arrogant about their country. We have this crying need to be continually reminded of both our greatness and our goodness. And if anyone dares to bring up the atrocities we have continually inflicted on others around the world, demagogues like you scream “communist!” and shout them down. As a whole, Americans are abysmally ignorant about the rest of the world and about this country’s terrible record of mistreating others. We have this incredibly stupid and childish notion of nationalism that jumps immediately on the bandwagon for any war the leaders talk us into supporting.

For crying out loud, Americans even got behind the Vietnam War when it began (based on a flat out lie). Americans instinctively pick up the pom poms and cheer while their government destroys whole countries for no good reason, killing millions in the process — two million, at bare minimum, in that unholy war. And we keep cheerleading until we get fatigued by all the dead bodies — and especially if we get the idea that we might actually lose the war. Then we suddenly decide that we want out.

Hell yes we’re arrogant. And ignorant. And easily led. Only an American could hear rhetoric about how weak our defenses are becoming at a time when we have more nuclear weapons and spend more money on defense than the rest of the world combined and do anything but laugh at it.

Comments

  1. Dennis N says

    I do not believe he represents American values. One of our American values is: America is an exceptional country.

    How is Barack Obama anything other than exceptional? I disagree with him on a lot of stuff, but Columbia and Harvard Law? Harvard Law Review? C’mon, it’s blatantly disrespectful to claim otherwise. He’s not some B student who got by on his father’s legacy admittance.

  2. says

    “It’s not that Americans feel arrogant but the opportunities that people have in this country, the standard of living that people have in this country, is exceptional. Our military capability, it’s exceptional. It’s weaker now, but it’s exceptional. That’s a huge American value. That same attitude is what started this country.”

    Country with the lowest income flexibility among the first world say what? If you want the best opportunity to live the American dream, go to Denmark. Standard of living? Not exceptional in the least, again, try Denmark.
    Military capability sure. It’s also at a peak, at least in terms of spending, so claiming it’s weaker now makes zero sense.
    And that attitude did not start ‘this country’. It was the attitude that fought against an arrogant country that had an exceptional military capability that started ‘this country’.

    Just wow…

  3. dogmeat says

    He’s not some B student who got by on his father’s legacy admittance.

    Actually I believe it was a C- average… I could be wrong. ;o)

    ———-

    I don’t get the whole “America is an exceptional nation” tripe. Sure, when we adopted the constitution we were exceptional in many ways. With the exception of England and Iceland, there weren’t many other countries that had significant representational systems, much of their populations had no access to legal redress of grievances, religious freedoms were limited, etc. But today? Much of the world has passed us by on the whole idea of civil rights and civil liberties. Many of our republican systems are broken or at least horribly dented. We not only haven’t been protecting the rights of our citizens but actively rolling back those rights, and we’ve fought a number of undeclared military actions that seriously question the validity of the constitution itself (or at least our recognition of that validity).

    We’ve got a hodgepodge of democratic and despotic policies going on that may be exceptional in our delusional belief that we’re somehow better or more “free” than our peers, but beyond that, we seem to be pretty run of the mill.

  4. ewanmacdonald says

    It’s been a few year since I was at university (in Scotland) but back then I did a module on American political culture. Part of the required reading was Seymour Martin Lipset’s “American Exceptionalism – A Double-Edged Sword”.

    There was no mistaking Lipset for anything but an American patriot but in the introduction he made it very, very clear that his judgement of American exceptionalism was not based around its excellence but simply its difference. He said the term itself was neutral, and that while many its assets were excellent (high standard of living, egalitarianism – although that was already on the decline at time of writing – rights for women) many others were not (violence crime, incarceration rates). Indeed, the title says it all: American exceptionalism means both the good and the bad.

    In the near-decade since I graduated, has this term been so massively redefined? Is American exceptionalism now cause for wholly uncritical cheerleading session? Because at the time it seemed to be a very useful lens with which to view American political culture. Is it now taken in the public sphere to just mean “America is awesome”, i.e. is it completely useless?

  5. anandine says

    Dennis N said, He’s not some B student who got by on his father’s legacy admittance.

    The right-wing claim is that it was affirmative action gone amok.

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    Isn’t “exceptional” among the euphemisms now used to replace the (ahem!) traditional euphemism of “mentally retarded”?

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    ewanmacdonald @ # 4: … has this term been so massively redefined?

    Yes.

    Now, in many quarters, it means God (the J-C one) explicitly created the United States as an instrument of spreading His Divine Glory (and rule) across the otherwise benighted and pagan world.

  8. abb3w says

    There’s a difference in objectively inferring the proposition “America is an exceptional country” that we deviate from global norms (IE: per capita resource use is exceptionally high); inferring the proposition with the connotation that it is exceptional in terms of some metric of “greatness” (IE: taking some quasi-linear combination of sociologically measurable “favorable” traits like ingenuity, generosity, social mobility by ability, and so on, and then noting that the US is a positive-direction outlier); and in taking without justification from inference (on faith) that since we are America, we by definition must be great and divinely favored, even if we have the highest rates of poverty, child malnutrition, adult illiteracy, sex slavery, murder, urban cannibalism, and improper turn signals of any industrial nation.

    (Note: all above characteristics are examples, and I didn’t bother checking the data to find which we’re actually outliers on. Post your snail mail address along with sources showing we actually are measured outliers on all of them and I’ll send you a condolences card.)

    I’m pretty the first is correct in at least some cases. I suspect the second is accepted at least partly even among the sane across the American political spectrum, though they may disagree about the amount of room left for improvement, the urgency of achieving it, and exactly which traits are “good”. The last seems to be limited to a rare strain of whacko libertarian and an epidemic strain of crazy conservatives — EG, most of the GOP field.

  9. gshelley says

    How is Barack Obama anything other than exceptional?

    In their world, Obama doesn’t believe in American Exceptionalism because he occasionally admits the US makes mistakes, or things could be done to improve some aspects of it.
    Which as Ed had posted about before, seems to be fine if they say it, but terrible when Obama does

  10. Azkyroth says

    But if it means agreeing with anything the government of Israel does, no one in their right mind should ever support such an idea.

    Emphasized for our resident chauvinist’s comprehension. >.>

  11. The Christian Cynic says

    Isn’t “exceptional” among the euphemisms now used to replace the (ahem!) traditional euphemism of “mentally retarded”?

    Sort of. Technically, the term “exceptional child” refers to both ends of the spectrum (special needs as well as gifted & talented), but as a data point, I had a class in my education program entitled “The Exceptional Child,” and there was no time spent on differentiated instruction for high-achieving students. I’m not sure that the term itself is used much to refer to delayed or low-functioning students, however.

  12. says

    How is Barack Obama anything other than exceptional?

    Don’t forget – on planet wingnut he’s a Kenyan or red lectroid or whatever – he’s not even an american!

    The comment about the palestinians was some of the basest pandering I’ve seen. Wow! Nauseating! I wonder what he’d say about the so-called native americans…

  13. Modusoperandi says

    Oh, please! Exceptionalism is the perception that a country, society, institution, movement, or time period is “exceptional” (i.e., unusual or extraordinary) in some way and thus does not need to conform to normal rules or general principles. It says right there that the USA “does not need to conform to normal rules” (so saying “freedom” while supporting, say, Baptista or Marcos, or “liberty” while defending the Patriot Act are perfectly fine, “or general principles” (so Supply-Side Economics and choosing “both” when given a choice between guns and butter are also fine).
    And that’s from the liberal Wikipedia! Conservapedia, the real encyclopedia, has a much better article (American Exceptionalism: “America is special and the height of awesome and shut up, that’s why”)

    Dennis N “How is Barack Obama anything other than exceptional?”
    Because he talks, instead of talks tough. And also he’s a Democrat. By definition, that means he cheated to get where he is, and also he hates America. And he’s uppity.

    The Christian Cynic “I’m not sure that the term itself is used much to refer to delayed or low-functioning students, however.”
    The medical term is “Teabagger”. After diagnosis they get a lifetime supply of Resentment pills, a sign saying “Keep the government out of Medicare” and an electric scooter.

  14. says

    Didn’t you know? Saying that the US is too right-wing is un-American, but saying it’s too leftist is patriotism.

  15. macallan says

    In their world, Obama doesn’t believe in American Exceptionalism because he occasionally admits the US makes mistakes, or things could be done to improve some aspects of it.
    Which as Ed had posted about before, seems to be fine if they say it, but terrible when Obama does it.

    As far as the wingnuts are concerned, anything is terrible when Obama does it. I’m not exactly a fan of his but he could pet his cat and some wacko would spin some sinister conspiracy theory around it.

  16. michaelcrichton says

    Dennis N: You have to understand, when wingnuts talk about “American Exceptionalism”, what they’re referring to is the idea that America is so uniquely special that the rules that the rest of the world should be held to just don’t apply to us. To them, America is the Animal that’s More Equal than the others. Yet somehow, it’s us liberals who are moral relativists, go figure.

  17. Aquaria says

    I do not believe he represents American values. One of our American values is: America is an exceptional country. He appears to want to try and apologize for that. Americans hate that. They hate that. It’s not that Americans feel arrogant but the opportunities that people have in this country, the standard of living that people have in this country, is exceptional. Our military capability, it’s exceptional. It’s weaker now, but it’s exceptional. That’s a huge American value. That same attitude is what started this country. And it appears as if he is trying to diminish and mitigate that. So from that standpoint he doesn’t represent American values.

    Here’s American values for you, asshole:

    http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html

    http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html

    Until you understand that, you’re a lying scumbag, Cain.

  18. matty1 says

    SLC1,

    I have a question for you. Let us suppose as a thought experiment that
    1. All violence by Palestinian factions stopped permanently
    2. Israel remained in control of territory inhabited by Palestinians who are not currently citizens of Israel.

    What then should happen to thos non Israeli inhabitants?

    Should they get Israeli citiznship, emigrate en mass, continue permanently as citizens of no nation, what?

    To save time this question is *not* about Israels right of self defence, the treatment of Palestinian refugees in other Arab states, the ‘proper’ borders of Israel or any other related issue. I’m not saying these aren’t legitimate issues but they are not what I’m asking.

  19. Draken says

    We’re going to develop an energy-independent strategy. We will move toward energy independence in the Cain administration. We’ve got the resources to do it, we need the will,

    …and a bloody awful lot of it, if you want to get your energy consumption per capita anywhere near the rest of the world’s. Seeing that I wonder if your houses have walls at all.

  20. davem says

    Does it mean we would defend Israel against attack? Of course we would. No one could possibly doubt that.

    …and therein lies the problem.

  21. woodytanaka says

    Re Azkyroth @ #19

    Re Azkyroth @ #10

    The Palestinian state is in Amman.

    What the hell are you talking about?

    It means that SLC1 is a delusional Jewish nationalist whose ideas regarding Zionism have in it an enormous dose of anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab bigotry. Picture the Klan but Jews.

  22. slc1 says

    Re matty1 @ #21

    Mr. matty1 asks a fair question that deserves a thoughtful answer.

    The problem here is that the leadership of the Palestinians demands that refugees currently living in refugee camps be resettled in Israel. This has been the rock on which all previous peace initiatives have foundered. There is no way that any Government of Israel could accede to such a demand as, if it did, that would be tantamount to the State of Israel going out of business. Until such time as the Palestinians recognize that such a demand is a non-starter and publicly drop it, there is no chance for a settlement.

    As regards Mr. matty1’s premise namely, All violence by Palestinian factions stopped permanently, unfortunately, that ain’t going to happen because the Palestinian militants suffer under the delusion that if they keep up their terrorist actions long enough, eventually the Israelis will get tired and go somewhere else.

  23. dogmeat says

    Picture the Klan but Jews.

    Oh great, now I have the image of a Klan robe with a yamulkah stitched to the top of it and a flaming Star of David stuck into the ground in front of some “uppity” Palestinian’s house.

  24. woodytanaka says

    …a flaming Star of David stuck into the ground in front of some “uppity” Palestinian’s house.”

    That’s not too far from the mark of reality. The settlers in the West Bank area of Palestine have peppered the landscape with Stars of David and Menorahs as a threat against the native Palestinians not to get uppity and do things like demand their human rights.

  25. woodytanaka says

    @ cainch #27

    “The so-called Palestinian people?” What the fuck?

    Didn’t you know? Anti-Arab racism (and especially anti-Palestinian racism) is not only acceptable among the mouth-breathing GOPers and neocons, it’s encouraged.

  26. says

    In the near-decade since I graduated, has this term been so massively redefined? Is American exceptionalism now cause for wholly uncritical cheerleading session?

    As near as I can tell, “American exceptionalism” simply means “American supremacy” according to the right. That is precisely what they mean by the term. America is better than everyone else, other nations should bow to our will, and there is nothing we could possibly learn from the rest of the world. It’s just mindlessly arrogant nationalism. It’s an excellent example of the use of language to turn something that is actually quite vile into something positive.

  27. says

    Ed:

    “Talk about ignorance. Pssst. Herman….We don’t buy any oil from Iran.”

    It actually doesn’t matter that we don’t buy any oil from Iran. Oil is bought and sold on a world-wide market, and the price is the same everywhere (minus transportation costs). If we could drive down the price, they would make less money.

    What you say after that however is spot-on. We do not have enough reserves in the US to make a significant dent in oil prices. As a leading member of OPEC, Iran has a vastly greater ability to control supply than we do. It is also wildly implausible that it costs Iran $70 a barrel to produce oil. If that were the case, they wouldn’t have produced any before about 2008. Lowering prices would almost certainly hurt American firms more than Iran.

    What makes this all so especially irritating is if we actually wanted to reduce prices, the one thing America could do is lower demand. While we have only about 2% of the world’s reserves, we consume 25% of the world’s production. But the Republicans have stood four-square against any attempts at increasing fuel economy, conservation, or using alternative fuels. So they refuse to do the things that might work, and insist on doing things that cannot work. This only makes sense if you understand that all they care about is oil company profits, and not at all about “energy independence” or the price of gas.

    The real question is why they’re allowed to get away with such blatant, fantastic lying. It’s another case of the media refusing to actually look into an issue and call them on it.

  28. dogmeat says

    If we could drive down the price, they would make less money.

    A more feasible method for driving down the price of oil would be to reduce the demand for oil. Of course that would mean implementing those evil liberal ideas like fuel efficient cars, alternative energy programs, and other anti-American anti-freedom measures. [/sarcasm]

  29. matty1 says

    Mr. matty1 asks a fair question that deserves a thoughtful answer.

    Thank you but I’m afraid you don’t appear to answer it. Maybe if I put this another way.

    I can see that you feel peace is impossible under current circumstances, which is why I’m phrasing this as a thought experiment.

    Let us pretend that by an impossible supernatural miracle you wake up tomorrow and find that the Israel/Palestinian conflict is over. *Everything* you want has been achieved and there is peace. What does that peace look like?

    Where are the people who currently inhabit Gaza city going to be living in this scenario?

    What nation will they be citizens of?

    Sorry to bang on but while I understand what you think the problems are I cannot get my head around what kind of solution you are looking for.

  30. slc1 says

    Re matty1 @ #33

    The two sides came close to an agreement in 2000 at Taba and in 2008 in discussions between then Prime Minister Olmert and PA President Abbas (according to the just released memoir of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice). Again, the failure was due to the resettlement of the refugees and their descendants issue. All the Palestinians had to do was to drop the resettlement in Israel demand and a settlement between the two side would have been achieved and the two state solution implemented.

  31. matty1 says

    OK now I’m getting closer, so you would support a two state solution if the resettlement demand was dropped (together with an end to violence and a mutually agreed border obviously)?

  32. slc1 says

    Re maty1 @ #35

    I have always supported the 2 state solution. The question is whether the Palestinian state should be independent or associated with Jordan.

  33. matty1 says

    OK, got it. For some reason I had misread you as oposing a Palestinian state under any circumstances whatsoever. sorry about that and thanks for explaining.

  34. says

    Going off on a tangent, probably:

    SLC1:

    Isn’t the scenario you suggest in your last comment:

    “The two sides came close to an agreement in 2000 at Taba and in 2008 in discussions between then Prime Minister Olmert and PA President Abbas (according to the just released memoir of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice). Again, the failure was due to the resettlement of the refugees and their descendants issue. All the Palestinians had to do was to drop the resettlement in Israel demand and a settlement between the two side would have been achieved and the two state solution implemented”

    Pretty much what the jews wanted in establishing Israel, a homeland for ALL jews who wanted to live there? I’m not trying to pick a fight (I know full well that you and others here lurv you some fightin’!) but it seems disingenuous to suggest that the Palestinians who were displaced from what is historically considered to be Palestine should have less of a right to return than those jews from eastern europe did.

    As for the violence on the part of the Palestinians and their hope that the jews will eventually cave. They are following a precedent set by the Irgun, a precedent which was established over something like 25 years.

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