Note to Herman Cain

There’s a difference between *making* a joke and *being* a joke.

There’s a difference between making a joke and being a joke. Guess which category a Presidential candidate talking lightly about killing people fits into?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

13 thoughts on “Note to Herman Cain”

  1. There is a word that has gone out of common usage in the English speaking countries. It is blunt, direct and describes a lot of self anointed “leaders.”


  2. Would his electrified fence plan kill as many people as his plan to double federal taxes on the middle class, and more than double them on the working poor, while slashing federal spending and eviscerating taxes on the wealthy?

  3. What is truly appalling is that he intends on using American tax dollars to print warning signs in Spanish. If we can’t even be linguistically united when we’re electrocuting people, there really is no hope for this Nation.

  4. God, what is it with these types of people? I have a conservative co-worker like this, who routinely advocates killing all gang-bangers. And she works with troubled teens! (She also proposes forced adoption for the babies of teen mothers – “I have a friend who grew up in an orphanage and she is fine!”

    I get the wink-wink aspect of it. But it gets old. And it occupies this weird space between self-indulgent fantasy and unseriousness. Especially from someone campaigning for a position in which your job is to take issues seriously. To a liberal, it just seems to broadcast the more sociopathic impulses of the callous libertine.

  5. I’m going to go with “coward”. Only wimps (and a certain kind of bully) continually make offensive comments and then walk them back with “it wa only a joke” when someone calls them on it.

  6. Andy Borowitz (of the Borowitz Report): “Rick Perry blasts Cain’s idea of electrified border fence: ‘There are plenty of good people to electrocute right here.'”

  7. Some polls have this guy as the top Republican candidate. His comments about killing Mexicans were received with cheers. If this is a joke, I’m not laughing.

  8. (Uh, I just realized how ambiguous my comment was. That was in response to the statement that Herman Cain is a joke. Only in the darkest, most nihilistic sense.)

  9. From the Monty Python episode comes the Herman Cain who says that he has not learned political correctness:

    Stockbroker: Well I think they should attack the lower classes, er, first with bombs, and rockets destroying their homes, and then when they run helpless into the streets, er, mowing them down with machine guns. Er, and then of course releasing the vultures. I know these views aren’t popular, but I have never courted popularity.

  10. If we had a decent press corps, the Repubs wouldn’t be an outfit of clowns. It is an open question if a decent press would result in Dems growing spines, but at least there is a chance the public would be able to see these clowns for the third-rate clowns they are. And I agree with paul uptheread on the ‘coward’ observation.

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