A couple of years ago, the residents of my hometown, Washington D.C. were treated to the spectacle of Marion Barry's arrest, and his subsequent...
Well, I'm not going to say downfall...
Let us say his trials due to his addiction to crack cocaine.
(Note: if you've watched the above video, just so you know, Jesse Jackson did not run for Mayor.)
I was in my teens at the time when the problem first became apparent to one and all. I was living in heavily suburban, but black Prince Georges County, Maryland, just over the border from substantially poorer, but still black District of Columbia.
Years before he arrest, I was a sophmore in High School when I saw the Mayor onstage, making a speech about the dangers of drug addition, and doing it in a mania very reminiscent of present-day Charlie Sheen. I knew the man was doing drugs. I just laughed it off at the time as ironic, and went to buy more of these new-fangled things called CDs.
I was a Sophmore at the University of Maryland when they finally got him. I watched this very broadcast of the CBS Evening News after about a full days coverage from the Local News. These where the days when Oprah wasn't yet Oprah, and you could have 3-4 hours of Local News a night.
America (by which I mean White America) was all atwitter. A Mayor? An elected Official doing drugs?? Surely, America thought, this menace would be going to jail.
Hold up. Not so fast.
The problem for the outside world...and by outside world I mean the non-African-American world outside of the Washington D.C. Area, was that the champion for putting this man behind bars was prosecutor Jay Stephens, a white Reagan appointee (featured at the 1:49 mark of the video). Even I knew at that young, still somewhat politically naive age that there was no way Black Washington D.C. was ever going to let a white Reagan Appointee tell them who was or who wasn't going to be their Mayor.
Four years after the arrest, the black residents of D.C. proved me right when, even after spending two years in jail, Marion Barry was returned him his fourth and final term as Mayor of the District.
I believe we're starting to see somewhat similar circumstances flow around the Herman Cain situation. But instead of the hard-headed, prideful (sometimes overly so) black residents of D.C., this is about the hard-headed, hyper-prideful, rabid, hyper-right wing base of the Republican Party.
And there is no way that any D.C. Establishment Cocktail Party Republican is going to tell them they have to "accept Mitt Romney" as their nominee.
While these folks hate Mitt Romney, they probably hate the D.C. Establishment Republicans even more. These are the people who say they'd rather lose to Barack Obama with one of their faithful, than to even make it close with Multiple Choice Mitt.
These are people who hate the mainstream media so much, who distrust it so much that they'd rather stick a thumb in their own eye and flush their electoral chances down the tubes in order to prove to the world just how hardcore they are. More importantly, they'll do this to prove that they can't be pushed around by the Villagers in the D.C. Republican Establishment.
That's why I think we're seeing a bump in Cain's fundraising numbers and his polling numbers. The establishment is trying to tell the base that he's dead (as a Candidate), and the base is saying...hold up, not so fast!!
(Note: For those who want to relive the glory days of the 1990s, there was a Documentary made about two years ago called The Nine Lives of Marion Barry. It didn't get picked up for distribution, but was shown on HBO and is now available at the iTunes Store for 9.99. It was worth a look.)