Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain came out swinging Friday against a New York Times op-ed that claims Republicans strategically use black politicians to "undermine black interests." The Wednesday op-ed specifically dismisses South Carolina Republican Rep. Tim Scott, who will soon join the Senate, as one of the Republicans' "cynical tokens." Cain declared the New York Times a "racist newspaper" for running the column, which was penned by University of Pennsylvania political science professor Adolph Reed Jr. and titled "The Puzzle of Black Republicans."
"Any newspaper that would publish a piece denigrating blacks as needing the benevolence of big government in order to serve their interests is obviously racist and deserves widespread censure for making such an insensitive and racially biased editorial decision," Cain wrote at his website, CainTV. In the op-ed, Reed argues black Republicans are "tokens" meant primarily not to attract blacks to the GOP, but to allow whites to vote Republican without feeling racist. He further claims that politicians like Scott — with "little that connects these men to mainstream black politics or to the country's first two black senators" — are used to actually "undermine black interests."
"The trope of the black conservative has retained a man-bites-dog newsworthiness that is long past its shelf life. Clichés about fallen barriers are increasingly meaningless; symbols don't make for coherent policies," Reed added. "Republicans will not gain significant black support unless they take policy positions that advance black interests. No number of Tim Scotts — or other cynical tokens — will change that." According to Cain, Reed is dealing with "obvious self-loathing" and is small minded in his approach to "black interests."