You might have anticipated that Perry would face a firestorm for being associated with the property, but it's Cain whose remarks are drawing the most criticism from the right. At RedState, Erick Erickson concluded, "It also seems to be a slander Herman Cain is picking up and running with as a way to get into second place." Glenn Reynolds remarked that until now, Cain's "big appeal is that he's not just another black race-card-playing politician." Over at the Daily Caller, Matt Lewis called Cain's remarks "a cheap shot, and, perhaps a signal that Cain is willing to play the race card against a fellow Republican when it benefits him."...And the Democratic template is to reassure Democrats that the Republicans have a race problem. That's what the Washington Post was doing, and that's what Serwer is doing now.
[It's not] just because Cain is attacking a fellow Republican, but because he stepped out of the proper role of a black conservative, which is to reassure Republicans that their political problems with race are the inventions of a liberal conspiracy....
[C]onservatives might rally around Perry's embattled campaign because a man with the living memory of what life was like for black people in the segregated South had the chutzpah to suggest that there was something "insensitive" about a place called "Niggerhead." Meanwhile, Cain, whose stock was rising prior to the controversy, may have harmed his own presidential ambitions with the mere suggestion that a white Republican had been "insensitive" on an issue of race. How's that for postracial?Just to turn down the heat a notch, I think the problem in what Cain said was a mistake in the facts as he was perhaps surprised by a question about a story that had just appeared in the news. He seems to miss the point that the word was painted over and he seems to think that "Niggerhead" was the official name of the place:
AMANPOUR: ... And it's been -- it's been painted over. But the report raises questions about whether this rock, this stone, with that word on it, was still on display even quite recently in the last several years. What is your reaction to that?Cain showed an insufficient concern about accuracy, to the point where Amanpour had to prompt him about the facts. He was helping WaPo propagate its meme about Perry, southerners, and racism. To give him a pass on that because he's "a man with the living memory of what life was like for black people in the segregated South" — as Serwer put it — is patronizing. I doubt very much that Herman Cain wants that kind of special treatment. But, of course, it isn't really any kind of caring concern for this man and his painful memories. It's one more application of the template: Republicans have a race problem. Serwer is happy to perform that service. How's that for postracial?
CAIN: My reaction is that is very insensitive.... And since Governor Perry has been going there for years to hunt, I think that it shows a lack of sensitivity for a long time of not taking that word off of that rock and renaming the place. It's just basically a case of insensitivity.
AMANPOUR: It was painted over.
CAIN: Yes. It was painted over. But how long ago was it painted over? So I'm still saying that it is a sign of insensitivity.
Or is "How's that for postracial?" — Serwer's question, above — a taunt only to be aimed at Republicans? Democrats want to keep playing the race card game, right? Oh, I don't know. I seem to remember a presidential candidate back in 2008 making us feel that we were about to move into the postracial era. Was I only dreaming?