“I Was Speaking At Tea Parties Before It Was Cool”

Herman Cain’s hathos-filled new video:

Pareene ponders the Cain boomlet:

Cain is a surprisingly powerful candidate, despite the fact that he’s a silly former pizza chain owner, because he makes white conservatives feel very good about themselves, as Adam Serwer (and others) have pointed out.

White conservatives have developed the belief that being called a racist is a slur on par with actual, proper racial slurs. They also tend to think that amorphous anti-white prejudice is a big problem; it is, in their thinking, perhaps a bigger problem than anti-black prejudice. Many of them also have a very simple, binary understanding of the concept of “racism.” You’re either a racist — an epithet-shouting Klan member — or you’re not. This is why, say, Andrew Breitbart says that unless there is video evidence of Tea Partyers explicitly saying “nigger,” there is no “proof” that racial resentments have anything to do with right-wing white populism. So Cain is a shield against that charge. How can we be racists when we support a black man for president?

Allahpundit is taking Cain seriously. I think he’s right to. To have a black man backing the Fundamental Restoration project is serious credentializing for the right. There’s even an insinuation that he is more authentically African-American than Obama, because his ancestors were slaves. And then there’s the Perot-style notion that anyone who can add 2 + 2 = 4 is ipso facto qualified to be president. And he has the businessman’s cred as well – more than Romney, who fired far more people in his business career than he hired. Given the fluidity of this race, I wouldn’t rule anyone out.