There's out of touch and then there's Marie Antoinette. On the eve of French Revolution she was, history reminds us, convinced that the political instability she saw all around her would soon pass.
Many plots were hatched to help her and other royals escape the approaching Terror, but she rejected all of them because she felt assured it would all blow over. When you're that rich it almost always does.
So it's hard not to think of her high-handed arrogance when you listen to Herman Cain talk.
'I don’t have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these (Occupy Wall Street) demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration. Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself!' he said during a campaign stop recently.
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On the face of it, that's about as heartless and unvarnished an accusation as I've ever heard from a Republican candidate for president. Listening to these sentiments, you can picture him heartily applauding the decision to abandon the uninsured to their fates with the rest of the GOP debate audience.
Blaming unemployment on the unemployed is a longstanding conservative tradition. But bluntly stating that you don't have the facts to back up what you're saying and then condemning others without a thought? That's something new in American politics.
That's wearing ignorance as a badge of honor. That's playing to the lowest instincts of the electorate. Telling people you have no facts but the ones they want to hear is risible. I'm amazed the press has given him a pass on it.
Wall Street, says Cain, are the ones who create jobs. But actually, Wall Street bankers are in the business of making money, not jobs. Often they buy companies, lay off all the workers and then resell, making huge profits. Others simply speculate on the economy itself, getting rich betting on things like the price of oil. But just those kinds of risky bets eventually plunged our financial system into unparalleled crisis and caused the unemployment spike and the great recession - and now Cain thinks we should still be thanking them?
The same Wall Street wrecked the US economy three years ago, without anyone ever being held to account? The ones who packaged high-risk, subprime mortgages along with low-risk mortgages to create artificially attractive mortgage-backed securities? Not a single person has been indicted or convicted for what followed - the destruction of 20% of Americas national net worth accumulated over the course of two centuries. We should be grateful to Wall Street? Seriously?
If Wall Street are the ones who create jobs, Mr Cain, where are they? Wall Street has just enjoyed an unfettered freewheeling decade under George W. Bush and they concluded it with an international banking crisis, plunging the world into chaos. I don't think they're the 'job creators' Cain seems to think they are.
And has Cain even noticed the extent of the social and economic inequalities in America in 2011? Does he really think American's are just jealous of his own fortune? Does he really believe we should blame the White House? If you want to address income inequality then you should go to place where the economy is controlled (and here's a tip, it's not the White House).
Cain's comments make him sound like the most out of touch candidate ever to run for Commander in Chief. If he can't get elected, he should blame himself.