KRAUTHAMMER: Mr. Cain, when Clarence Thomas was near to achieving position of high authority, he was hit with a sexual harassment charge. You, contending for presidency nomination, the office of highest authority, leading in the polls for the Republican nomination, all of a sudden get hit with a sexual harassment charge. Do you think that race, being a strong black conservative, has anything to do with the fact you've been so charged? And if so, do you have any evidence to support that?
CAIN: I believe the answer is yes, but we do not have any evidence to support it. But because I am unconventional candidate running an unconventional campaign and achieving some unexpected unconventional results in terms of my, the poll, we believe that, yes, there are some people who are Democrats, liberals, who do not want to see me win the nomination. And there could be some people on the right who don't want to see me because I'm not the, quote/unquote, "establishment candidate." No evidence.
KRAUTHAMMER: But does race have any part of that? Establishment, maverick, yes. What about race?
CAIN: Relative to the left I believe race is a bigger driving factor. I don't think it's a driving factor on the right. This is just based upon our speculation.
What does Cain mean when he says "there are some people who are Democrats, liberals, who do not want to see me win the nomination ... relative to the left I believe race is the bigger driving factor"?
I've spoken about Cain recently with five black conservatives: Armstrong Williams, Michael Steele, Richard Ivory of hiphoprepublican.com, Mychal Massie, and Crystal Wright of conservativeblackchick.com. Some of them expressed hopes that Cain could break the near-monopoly Democrats have had on the black vote since the 1960s. This view holds that Cain--born and raised in Jim Crow Georgia, Morehouse College graduate, minister at his black church--can connect with black voters on a visceral level. And this view draws a contrast with President Obama, whom some Republicans describe as Hawaii-born, Harvard-educated, and half-white.
So perhaps Cain is saying that liberals are afraid he might win black votes from Obama and challenge the conventional black political mindset, and therefore are coming after him with these sexual harassment accusations.
You know, another high-tech lynching:
"I actually am someone who-- doesn't believe in playing the race card on either side. I've seen it played, by the way, on the other side quite a lot too. And it's not good for the country."
(Imagine if she had run for president.)
Even before these harassment allegations broke, the conventional wisdom was that Cain didn't have enough money or campaign infrastructure to win the GOP nomination. It remains to be seen whether the harassment claims will knock Cain from atop the polls. No matter what happens, he doesn't seem likely to get knocked out of the racial discussion any time soon.