NPR's apparently a great place to go to denounce Herman Cain. On Friday's edition of Tell Me More, host Michelle Martin cued up Cain's remarks suggesting the Occupy Wall Street protests are "planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration." Quite obviously, you can disagree with that theory without comparing Cain to segregationists.
But that's precisely what sports columnist and ESPN regular Kevin Blackistone said to Martin: "It sounds like to me what people who used to run the White Citizens Councils used to say in the South during the civil rights movement, that it was outside agitators who were coming in and stirring up black folks down there."
He added: "How disingenuous it is of a CEO of a company or anybody to make a suggestion that it is the unemployed's fault that they are unemployed at a time when corporate America is breaking the record profits in 2011, is flushed with cash in terms of its coffers, and unemployed people are over 14 million. Absolutely disingenuous."
This is the same left-wing columnist who suggested Israel should be banned from international sports competitions (except, er, the Olympics after that unfortunate Munich mass murder): "could it not be time for sport to illuminate Israel's deadly occupation of Palestinians?"
Another liberal guest, Arsalan Ifthakar of TheMuslimGuy.com, also took the fight to Cain:
He also recently went on "The View" and told Joy Behar that being gay is a choice. And I wonder if being left-handed is a choice or being gay is a choice. I mean this is a man essentially - I mean Elizabeth Warren, you know, recently said that there is no person in America who got rich on his or her own. Nobody ate Herman Cain's first slice of pizza and been like 'Mmm, this is some good pizza. Let's make this man a millionaire.' I mean he hustled. And, you know, because he's successful he's disparaging people, you know, the 99 percent. There's not been this income inequality since 1929 where the top one percent make the top 25 percent of wealth in America today.
Surprisingly, there was a conservative guest, Mario Loyola, who writes for National Review. It was a bit shocking that Loyola didn't push back on comparing Cain to white bigots. But Martin squabbled with him when he changed the subject to make a couple of anti-regulatory points.
MARTIN: But in terms of the regulatory burden, some of the locations that are generating the most jobs are also some of the states that have the highest regulatory burden. So there's really not a clear - it's just that it clear through-line on that, Mario. I think you would have to acknowledge that, right?
LOYOLA: Well, most of the jobs - more than half the jobs have been in the last couple of years have been created in Texas, which has a very low regulatory burden in the high regulatory...
MARTIN: And also generated by government spending. They've been generated by government spending. You do acknowledge that, right? Right, Mr. Policy?
LOYOLA: Well, we can get into the details but, you know, but there's it's, but so look, you know...
MARTIN: That's a big detail, right?
LOYOLA: ...in the high regulatory states you also have extremely well-educated labor forces that are very well suited to the workforce needs that we have and so...
MARTIN: Well, it's an important topic and it's a topic we'll talk about again, as this campaign goes on. Herman Cain is obviously a very interesting candidate to watch so will be talking about him.
Martin wanted to change the subject to...a new theme song for Monday Night Football. On Wednesday's Tell Me More, USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan (a former Washington Postie) was incensed at Hank Williams Jr. and wanted his theme song banned forever from ESPN, before it was:
BRENNAN: And, you know, whatever happened to the analogy of like oil and water, you know, in terms of comparing things that are - you know, to pick the name Hitler is so reprehensible and just so awful, that it seems to me this goes well beyond free speech to responsibility and how a network wants to represent itself on one of its marquis events, Monday Night Football. And that's why I think ESPN did the right thing in getting rid of it this week, and I think now they should do that permanently.
MARTIN: ...Just to clarify, he said in a statement posted on Facebook and his website on Tuesday that his passion for politics and sports got the best or worst of me. And he also said that - it was the classic apology. If someone was offended, I apologize. (LAUGHTER)
BRENNAN: I can't stand that, and I wish we could have, Michel, a moratorium on that for everyone who says something dumb for the rest of their lives on any airwaves ever to not say that. You have offended somebody. Just apologize. And why people still do that - and also, we are talking - I don't care if people like the president or don't like this president or didn't like the last one or like him or whatever. It's the office of the presidency. So the very fact that we're using the name of maybe the most reprehensible person of 100 years, 200 years, you name it, associated with office of the president is also just, again, reprehensible.