Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain‘s appeal to many is that he is not like your typical politician and instead more of a straight-talking man of the people, as he likes to say himself. Rarely does Cain shy away from a controversial issue, and now he too is commenting on the Jon Stewart and Chris Wallace showdown, which has particular significance, since he himself was a focal point of that debate.
Cain reminds his audience of a prior statement he made that “no bill is going to be longer than three pages.” Stewart mocked this suggestion as an unrealistic fantasy, to which Cain responded:
“Some of these idiotic reporters thought I was serious. The joke’s on them. The message was short bills. Understandable bills. No it’s not literally going to be three pages. The executive summary will be three pages. But they want to jump all over me – Jon Stewart.”
Yet the most controversial part of Stewart’s joke was the fact that Stewart imitated Cain using what many considered to be an Amos and Andy type of voice. Cain didn’t comment previously on the incident since he’s be campaigning and only first heard about it yesterday during a phone interview for Sean Hannity‘s radio show. Cain told Hannity:
“First of all, if [Stewart] really thinks that I’m serious about a bill only being three pages the joke’s on him. And I said secondly, as far as him mocking me, look I’ve been called every name in the book because I’m a conservative, because I’m black. Sticks and stone may break my bones, words are not going to hurt me.”
Overall it seems Cain handled the incident in a truly advantageous manner. Was Stewart being racially insensitive using that voice? I personally disagree with the Fox News repeated critique of Stewart, first from Wallace and then from Hannity, that a comedian jokingly imitating a voice is an improper racial statement. However, what is most interesting is how Cain viewed it. Yes Cain suggests that in the past he’s been slammed with all types of insults because of his conservative views from “Uncle Tom” to “sell out” and “Oreo.” Yet regarding Stewart’s mocking in particular, rather than adopt an Al Sharpton-like level of indignation, Cain laughs it off saying “the fact that he wants to mock me because I happen to be a black conservative, in the words of my Grandfather, ‘I does not care. I does not care.'”
Stewart’s comedy was motivated purely by what was funny, and although he might take extra personal glee in roasting a conservative, I think his history of imitating all types of ethnic voices should exonerate him from any racially insensitive charges. Ultimately though what this is guaranteed to lead to (or what it should lead to) is a headline-generating and poll-increasing appearance by Cain on The Daily Show, where Cain can continue to showcase his very likable personality, his ability to avoid conflict and so he can demonstrate his own great sense of humor.
Watch the video from Think Progress below:
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org