Herman Cain confuses the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, but his impressive announcement speech ends with one of the most powerful lines of political oratory in recent years. He makes congruent the squared circle of bureaucracy and civil rights that was the original plague of a bureaucratic state enforcing civil rights (Sunstein makes this clear, btw). Among Republicans only he could have delivered it so effectively. He can't get the nomination, but he diminishes Republican confidence in the rest of field by speaking so pointedly.
But Cain's mistake is far overshadowed by Obama's use of the Declaration to promote his containment of Israel. Obama appears to assume that Palestinians recognize the equal natural rights of humanity. Moreover, the equality of all human beings by virtue of their natural rights means that not all cultures are created equal. Which side in the Middle East most resembles the "merciless Indian savages" denounced in the Declaration? Herman Cain would not make this mistake, however diligently Obama and the State Department persist in making it.
For the American people, the scenes of upheaval in the region may be unsettling, but the forces driving it are not unfamiliar. Our own nation was founded through a rebellion against an empire. Our people fought a painful Civil War that extended freedom and dignity to those who were enslaved. And I would not be standing here today unless past generations turned to the moral force of nonviolence as a way to perfect our union -- organizing, marching, protesting peacefully together to make real those words that declared our nation: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
Those words must guide our response to the change that is transforming the Middle East and North Africa -- words which tell us that repression will fail, and that tyrants will fall, and that every man and woman is endowed with certain inalienable rights.
Earlier he had oddly stated: "The dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation." But Israel is no dream; it exists. If its land is to be equated with "permanent occupation," then he is saying Israel is illegitimate. (Similar arguments are raised in the U.S. about the illegitimacy of European settlers.) Obama's speech does not even rise to the amorality of moral equivalence.