Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain has rocketed to the first tier among the candidates seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for president. Part of Cain’s appeal, according to the polls, is that he’s “not a career politician,” and that includes not always talking like one.
Cain’s political incorrectness can be a double-edged sword, however. He has come under fire for calling for an electrified fence and a moat filled with alligators across the southern border, to keep out illegal immigrants — something he has said in multiple speeches and in his book, though he later claimed those statements were a “joke.”
And he has made controversial statements on race: saying black Americans are “brainwashed” into voting for Democrats, saying racism is no longer a significant factor in American life, and referring to himself as “black walnut”, in response to a question over whether he is the GOP’s “flavor of the week.”
While he insists that race is not a significant factor in his run for president, Cain has not been shy about invoking race when talking about seemingly unrelated issues.
Most recently, in an interview this week with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Cain argued that homosexuality is both a sin and a choice. And he compared being gay to being black, telling a flabbergasted Morgan that the latter “doesn’t wash off.”
Morgan: You’re a commonsense guy..You genuinely believe that millions of Americans wake up in their late teens normally and go, you know what, i kind of fancy being a homosexual? You don’t believe that, do you?
Cain: Piers, you haven’t given me any evidence to believe otherwise.
Morgan: My gut instinct, Herman, tells me that it has to be a natural thing.
Cain: So it’s your gut instinct versus my gut instincts. I respect their right to make that choice. You don’t see me bashing them. I respect them to have the right to make that choice. I don’t have to agree with it. That’s all I’m saying
Morgan: It would be like a gay person saying, Herman, you made a choice to be black.
Cain: You know that’s not the case. You know I was born black.
Morgan: Maybe if they say that, they would find that offensive.
Cain: Piers, Piers. This doesn’t wash off. I hate to burst your bubble
Meanwhile, NBC’s Domenico Montanaro uncovered surprising statements by Cain in past articles, in which he inveighed against Social Security, in explicitly racial terms.
From MSNBC’s First Read:
Under a 2005 column titled, “Separate Water Fountains,” Cain wrote, “It is now evident that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not apply to the Social Security system. Due to the rising retirement age, differences in life expectancy between Blacks and Whites, and mandatory payroll tax deductions, the system by its very nature discriminates against black men and women.”
He went on to call it “built-in discrimination,” before adding, “Under the current Social Security structure, deceased black men essentially fund a large percentage of the retirement income of elderly white women, since they live the longest to nearly 80 years on average.”
He added: “The answer is that congressional Democrats do not want all Americans to drink from the same retirement fountains. They insinuate that we are not smart enough to ride in the front of the retirement bus with them. … At least with separate water fountains blacks and whites each had water to drink.”
Cain — who during his presidential campaign said, “African-Americans have been brainwashed” into voting for Democrats — also took shots in his past writing at the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus, and “many of our so-called black leaders,” including then-Sen. Barack Obama.
”[B]lack Democratic leaders are willing to see the next generation of Blacks remain in economic slavery on the Democratic plantation, so long as they can deny any Republican a perceived political victory,” Cain wrote.
Read more at MSNBC’s First Read