Posted at 12:26 PM ET, 11/02/2011

Liberals are racially-motivated in Cain sexual harassment case, conservatives say

Herman Cain, who has been known to stand before large, mostly-white tea party crowds and proclaim that he sees patriots, not racists, finally found a group of people who he thinks are engaged in race-based thinking: liberals.


Herman Cain speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, Oct. 31, 2011. Denying he sexually harassed anyone, Cain said Monday he was falsely accused in the 1990s while he was head of the National Restaurant Association, and he branded revelation of the allegations a "witch hunt." (Pablo Martinez Monsivais - AP)

It was not an entirely surprising comment from Cain, who in dealing with allegations of sexual harassment has had a chorus of conservative pundits play the race card for him. Those political observers claim that Cain has been targeted because he’s black, because he’s conservative and because he is “uppity,” according to Rush Limbaugh, who has borrowed a phrase from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Answering a question on Fox News (video after the jump) Tuesday night from Charles Krauthammer, a prominent conservative intellectual, Cain said that he did indeed believe the episode was racially motivated.

Krauthammer, perfectly echoing comments from Limbaugh and Ann Coulter who have slammed the left for what they see as a coordinated, racially -based attack, put the question directly to Cain.

“Mr. Cain, when Clarence Thomas was near to achieving a position of high authority, he was hit with a sexual harassment charge. You, contending for the Presidency, the office of highest authority, leading in the polls, the Republican nomination, all of a sudden get hit with a sexual harassment charge,” Krauthammer said.

“Do you think that race, and being a strong black conservative has anything to do with the fact that you’ve been so charged, and if so, do you have any evidence to support that?”

Cain, who has often invoked race in his 2012 campaign — he has called blacks “brainwashed” for supporting Democrats by such large margins — yet also seems to reject assertions that race is a motivating factor in his rise, plainly stated that race was a factor in an episode that could lead to his downfall.

“I believe that the answer is yes. But we do not have any evidence to support it.”

“But because I am an unconventional candidate, running an unconventional campaign...We believe that, yes, there are some people who are Democrats, liberals, who do not want to see me win the nomination,” he said. “There could be some people on the right who don’t want to see me because I’m not the ‘establishment’ candidate.”

Krauthammer, seemingly unsatisfied with Cain’s answer, or at least wanting him to clarify just where the race-based thinking originated (the right, the left, both?) had this follow-up:

“But does race have any part of that?” he asked.

“Relative to the left, I believe that race is a bigger driving factor. I don’t think it’s a driving factor on the right,” Cain opined. “This is just based on our speculation.”

It is a speculation shared by many on the right-wing that is now a Cain refuge as he tries to explain his side of the story.

While offering little evidence, but maintaining these assertions, the strategy of some of Cain’s most ardent defenders is clear: On matters of race, blame the left and absolve the right.

By  |  12:26 PM ET, 11/02/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company