Civility Watchdog: Herman Cain Says Liberals Want to “Destroy Country”

GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain — appearing on “Meet the Press”, hosted by David Gregory — had this to say about about liberals:

Gregory: “You’ve talked as well about liberals in the country. You gave a speech in February where you didn’t mince words. This is what you said.”

Cain: “The objective of the liberals is to destroy this country.”

Gregory: “To destroy this country. How so?”
Cain: “Economically. Look at this economy. David, the engine of economic growth is the business sector. We are growing at an anemic one, one-and-a-half percent. If we allow this economy to continue to go down, it would destroy our economic capability. And, as a result, we are now looking at how much in defense we can cut. That’s destroying it.”
Gregory: “You think liberals actually seek to do that, that that’s their mission, to destroy the economy?”
Cain: “I — that’s the conclusion that I have drawn.”
Gregory: “Not mismanagement.”
Cain: “No.”
Gregory: “But it’s their mission.”
Cain: “It is their mission. Because they do not believe in a stronger America, in my opinion. Yes.”

Cain is engaging in name-calling. It’s one thing to disagree with the policies of liberals and progressives, or to say that those policies are harmful. But it’s demonizing liberals to say that they adopt these policies because they are intentionally trying to harm the country.

It’s the usual caricature of political opponents: Act like it’s obvious which policies are good and which policies are bad, and then say that anyone who supports different policies from your own knows that their policies are wrong for the country, and accuse them of having the sinister motive of wanting to destroy the country.

Cain is hardly the first to do this. It’s been done recently by Rep. Allen West (R-FL), AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), radio pundit Rush Limbaugh, former House Speaker (and now GOP presidential hopeful) Newt Gingrich (R-GA), former Gov. (and also GOP presidential hopeful) Mitt Romney, and others. Similarly, President Barack Obama routinely suggests that his opponents have “put their party ahead of the country”.

If Cain believes that liberal and progressive policies are bad for the country, then he should defend that belief. But if he’s going to claim that they are intentionally trying to destroy the country, then he better provide some actual evidence for the assertion. If he doesn’t, then he shouldn’t complain when his opponents — with equally little evidence — retaliate by accusing him of intentionally trying to destroy the economy (say, with his 9-9-9 plan).

On the other hand, if he doesn’t like baseless invective being hurled at him, he should set a good example and not hurl it at others.

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