Now Herman Cain is saying that his applause line about putting up an electrified fence across the border was a joke, and that America needs to get a sense of humor. It may well be that Cain’s highly selective audience of Republican primary voters found the idea of setting a fatal trap for potential illegal aliens a real knee-slapper, but in this age of cell phone videos and social media, a remark made to an amen corner is also a remark made to the world…just ask President George “Macaca” Allen.
Last night I watched the Spanish-language news cut-in while indulging my telenovela habit, and they led with the item about Cain’s “muro encargado electrico.” Way to lose the entire Hispanic vote in ten seconds, Mr. $9.99. It appears your brand of humor doesn’t translate well.
If Cain is serious, he might want to consider this: A credible contender for the presidency needs to learn how to be mealy-mouthed. If you say anything with too sharp a contour, you’re bound to offend somebody. Mitt Romney has done such a good job of mastering the art of empty utterances that he can simultaneously be all things to all people while being nothing to anybody. This may be perceived as a weakness right now in the pre-primary season, but after all the extremist foot soldiers finally fall away, it will be his greatest strength come the fall of 2012.