Herman Cain, former Godfather’s Pizza bigwig and current GOP candidate for the 2012 presidential election, yesterday crafted a sentence that’s offensive in ways not previously thought mathematically possible. Think Progress scores this nugget of tolerance:
TP: Mr. Cain, you recently came under fire for your comments about the kind of people you would appoint to your cabinet. Would you be opposed to appointing an openly gay but qualified person to be in your cabinet?
CAIN: Nope, not at all. I wouldn’t have a problem with that at all. I just want people who are qualified, I want them to believe in the Constitution of the United States of America. So yep, I don’t have a problem with appointing an openly gay person. Because they’re not going to try to put sharia law in our laws.
As Think Progress notes, Cain states his qualified support for the gay community while sharing a stage with powerful Iowa political player Bob Vander Plaats, who’s referred to homosexuality as a ‘public health risk,’ but who seems unfazed here. So, uh, kudos?
As we’ve written before, Cain’s got a ugly record when it comes to anti-Muslim fearmongering. (He’s also got a bad record on remembering what the Constitution actually says.) In any other election cycle, Cain would be a footnote in his own time; this year, however, no rational person wants to go up against Obama, so the field of GOP candidates is thin, and the conversation is dominated by reverse-racebaiters like Andrew Breitbart.
Which means? Cain’s in the lead in straw polls in Iowa. And he’s getting touted as proof that the Tea Party isn’t motivated by bigotry, because, look, one black guy. Again, this is a great time to mention that young people have trouble articulating how systems are racist, because figures in the media keep the discussion of racism in a strictly interpersonal frame.
Cain’s not the only one propping up his career by smearing Muslims; as Jamilah wrote back in February, 13 states legislatures have introduced (useless, dangerous) anti-Sharia laws. At the American Prospect, Adam Serwer points out the lesson: “Americans are growing less homophobic but Muslims remain unpopular, so Cain feels comfortable casually declaring he’d violate Article VI of the Constitution.”
For what it’s worth, advocates for Muslim communities — and black communities, and queer communities — have already demonstrated no problem with a black president putting queer people in his administration. How the conservatives among these groups will react if faced with Cain grabbing the 2012 GOP presidential nomination? That, along with what might happen if Herman Cain ever meets a queer Muslim person, remains to be seen.