What Herman Cain’s 2012 run has already accomplished

If this GOP presidential campaign has taught us anything, it’s not to write any candidate’s political obituary before its time. (Hello, Newt Gingrich.)

So, today I come to praise Herman Cain, not to bury him beneath the opinion polls that show him slipping. No matter how the Georgia businessman’s candidacy turns out, it has done three important things.

As Cain’s popularity surged, there came a stream of allegations that he had sexually harassed women in the past. At first, the charges were vague and anonymous. Later, two women publicly accused Cain.

Depending on your point of view, or your allegiances, the allegations were either part of the vetting process or the lowest kind of character assassination: a he-said, she-said situation in which neither side can definitively prove its case.

While Cain’s poll numbers dipped slightly, donations to his campaign funds also rose. So, ultimately, while voters weighed the stories against what they previously believed about his character, Cain successfully avoided the trap of letting unproven accusations redefine his character or his fitness for the job. That’s one.

Eventually, though, Cain’s fitness for the job came into greater question — due instead to his unfortunate record of stumbling over issues that ought not to be “gotcha” topics for someone who aspires to the White House.

Cain’s line last month about not knowing about “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan” grew less funny this past week after he appeared stumped — or unable to remember his lines — when asked about President Barack Obama’s policies toward Libya.

It was of a piece with his earlier confusion about the “right of return” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; his serial punting when asked what he’d do in Afghanistan; his inability, in Miami, to comment on the “wet foot, dry foot” policy toward Cuban immigrants; and his over-reliance on his 9-9-9 tax plan to explain how he’d improve things at home.

Voters often say they want candidates who aren’t career politicians. That’s particularly true on the right — which is one reason why Rick Perry, who’s held one state office or another in Texas since 1985, bashes Washington; why Mitt Romney, who’s been running (mostly unsuccessfully) for one state or federal office or another for 17 years, talks up his business experience; and why Gingrich, the former speaker of the United States House of Representatives, calls himself a Washington outsider.

But Cain’s occasional slips have revealed the tension between wanting someone who hasn’t spent a lifetime trying to become president, and wanting someone who has spent considerable time thinking about the things presidents have to think about. That’s two.

Finally, Cain’s 9-9-9 plan may be, at once, overly simplistic and more complicated than he lets on. It’s unlikely to become the law of the land, even if he becomes president.

But Cain’s boldness pushed his competitors to produce their own tax plans. Whoever emerges from the primary will have a serious proposal with which to oppose Obama’s mine-mine-mine plan for your money — and will be harder to peg as part of a “party of no” that only opposes Democrats’ policies.

That’s three. Together, those three things helped to make for a better contest.

(What, you thought one of the three would be that Cain proved conservatives could support a black Republican? Nah. Only liberals thought otherwise before.)

– By Kyle Wingfield

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264 comments Add your comment

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

November 18th, 2011
6:27 pm

Hey, he also made Newt the flavor of the month.

Better get back on the Cain Train lest ye be left at the station, just sayin…

Ross Perot

November 18th, 2011
6:28 pm

I do have to agree he did up the ante with the 9-9-9 plan forcing the others to come up with something tangible as well. The allegations in my opinion are a classless form of character mauling by Axelrod, something that Newt will be going through as well. I wish he pushed for a balanced budget amendment while he was soaring to get that back into discussion.

Heavyhitter

November 18th, 2011
7:25 pm

He stands “No Chance” and neither does Perry. They both need to catch up on world affairs since World War II.

Rafe Hollister

November 18th, 2011
7:37 pm

The biggest thing Herman contributed was his ability to laugh at himself and bring humor back to politics. Too many Oblamers, Dubyahs, Algores, John McCains, John Heinz Kerry, and John Edwardes out there taking themselves way too seriously. Herman reminded me a little of the affable loser Bob Dole.

BigDawg

November 18th, 2011
8:05 pm

Newt is the smartest candidate! Great things happened when he was House Speaker, balanced budget! Go Newt!!!

Dave

November 18th, 2011
8:35 pm

Well said until “Obama’s mine-mine-mine plan.”

Not Newt

November 18th, 2011
8:41 pm

@BigDawg November 18th, 2011 8:05 pm – Newt is the smartest candidate! Great things happened when he was House Speaker, balanced budget! Go Newt!!!

What rock have you been living under? You people get amnesia quick! Newt was a horrible speaker and DO YOU REMEMBER he shut down the goovernment? DO YOU REMEMBER he dogged Clinton about his misdeeds when he was doing the exact same thing? DO YOU REMEMBER he left his cancer stricken wife for another woman? DO YOU REMEMBER that he had to pay a sanction for his misdeeds while speaker. By the way, WHAT ABOUT FREDDIE MAC?

I hope you are not in the early stages of Alzheimer disease.

IF YOU DO NOT REMEMBER WE DO!

Mr_B

November 18th, 2011
8:43 pm

That balanced budget resulted from hikes in the tax rates. How well is that one gonna fly now?

Mr_B

November 18th, 2011
8:46 pm

“Voters often say they want candidates who aren’t career politicians.”
Usually the same voters complaining about president Obama’s “total lack of experience.”

ByteMe

November 18th, 2011
8:49 pm

What, you thought one of the three would be that Cain proved conservatives could support a black Republican?

Near as I can tell from his nose-diving polls, they cain’t.

Desperate love. That’s all it was. The kind of love that seems so right at night and so terribly wrong the next morning when the attraction wears off and all you keep thinking is “what the heck was I thinking?”

Cain Wreck

November 18th, 2011
8:50 pm

WE TOLD YOU SOOOOOOOO!

Cain has been bumped down by his good ole white folks.

I guess he did not tap dance enough! Or maybe he did not lick enough boots. Or maybe they were just using him. Or maybe he was to asinine 9-9! Or maybe chocolate was not their favorite flavor! Or maybe he did not study up on world history. Or maybe he could not speak Cuban! Or maybe he……………………WAS JUST BEING USED AGAINST OBAMA.

Karma is a b*tch!

Morehouse should be ashamed of Herman Cain

November 18th, 2011
8:55 pm

What are they teaching at Morehouse to produce someone like Herman Cain?

Martin Luther King, Jr. is rolling over in his grave!!!!!!

Mr_B

November 18th, 2011
9:02 pm

Cain Wreck: I’d have generous and NOT attribute Cain’s demise to racism in the Republican base. The Koch brothers are too bright to bankroll somebody that they thought was completely unelectable.
Back in the 60s, “The Peter Principle” stated that every employee rises to his own level of incompitence. Cain found his with a two-bit talk radio show.

Not Newt

November 18th, 2011
9:17 pm

@@BigDawg November 18th, 2011 8:05 pm – Newt is the smartest candidate! Great things happened when he was House Speaker, balanced budget! Go Newt!!!

Newt is a POLITICAL PROPHET (Ooops, I meant PROFIT) :)

Newt would sell his soul to the devil for a buck!

Not Go Newt! BUT GO AWAY NEWT!

He’ll be gone soon for another flavor of the week. Then I will say, I TOLD YOU SO!

jconservative

November 18th, 2011
9:21 pm

Actually the Cain campaign has shown just how desperate Republicans are for a candidate that fits the imaginary ideology they have conjured up believe. Cut taxes a lot, cut spending a tad and everything will be like the good old days.

Palin, Bachmann, Perry, Cain and Gingrich all are highly qualified to be also rans in the Republican primary. But that is about it.

Republicans have a guy qualified, and electable, to be President of the US. But he is too moderate or to Mormon or to liberal for the Republican base. The fact that he can defeat Obama is not important. The most important thing is his lack “purity”. And he just does not say the simplistic “cute” things that seem to appeal to be base.

Reagan said the right things, the cute things,was elected and spent 8 years as a very moderate president. George W Bush said the right things, the cute things, and was the most liberal president we have had since Lyndon Johnson.

What we need is another “Compassionate Conservative”. Right? All agree?

And having said all this, I am a Cain supporter. I can’t wait for him to be elected so he can stop China from gaining a nuclear capability. A true man of vision. A man who can see Libya from his front porch.

Cain Wreck

November 18th, 2011
9:23 pm

@Mr_B November 18th, 2011 9:02 pm – The Koch brothers are too bright to bankroll somebody that they thought was completely unelectable.

Obviously the Koch Brothers are not that BRIGHT. Cain is falling in the polls. :)

I ain’t no genius but I knew Cain would NEVER be the nominee.

Cain Wreck

November 18th, 2011
9:26 pm

@jconservative November 18th, 2011 9:21 pm – I am a Cain supporter. I can’t wait for him to be elected so he can stop China from gaining a nuclear capability. A true man of vision. A man who can see Libya from his front porch.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! :)

Voice of Reason

November 18th, 2011
9:29 pm

Say what you want about Herman Cain, the Republican presidential candidate, but Herman Cain the businessman is a smart guy whose been extremely successful in the private sector.

MrLiberty

November 18th, 2011
9:42 pm

Voice of Reason – If his campaign lasts long enough, expect to actually find out the truth about his business performance. Closing restaurants, laying off employees, corruption and the like are not going to win over voters and certainly don’t show sound business acumen. Romney’s accoplishments too involve destroying companies, ruining lives and pocketing billions – hardly the hallmark of a great business genious.

Meanwhile, Ron Paul ran a successful medical practice that accepted patients without insurance, never took any federal dollars for services, and never turned anyone away. Additionally, despite being a “career politician” – hardly a term that actually describes this guy – he has returned nearly $100,000 of his annual office budget to the general fund every year, turned down his last 4 automatic pay raises, has never participated in the congressional pension plan, has a sound program to cut $1 Trillion his first year and balance the budget by year 3, and will only take a salary equal to the median income of $39,000.

What Cain showed is that the republicans are so desperate to avoid facing the realities that Ron Paul has been trying to get them to face for 40 years that they would even embrace a clueless black man with a past history with the Federal Reserve who declared the economy solid as a rock just days before the 2008 collapse. Not exactly something the republicans should be proud of.

Ron Paul 2012.

Cain Wreck

November 18th, 2011
9:43 pm

@Voice of Reason November 18th, 2011 9:29 pm – Herman Cain the businessman is a smart guy whose been extremely successful in the private sector

***********************

He should have stayed in the PRIVATE SECTOR maybe he could have saved himself from embarrasment, humiliation and heartache!

You reap what you sow!

getalife

November 18th, 2011
9:52 pm

The oops party leaves Americans with only one choice.

Four more years.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

November 18th, 2011
10:04 pm

Obozo’s economy-wrecking, anti-American regime has proven one thing: There’s more to being an American than having a birth certificate.

Obozo: Legal alien.

Ross Perot

November 18th, 2011
10:11 pm

The do nothing Democrat crooks will not compromise or work with the Republicans. They don’t even have an itenerary, budget plans, ideas etc. They will let this country sh!t itself so they can get re-elected.

What

November 18th, 2011
10:18 pm

So, the Herman Cain PAC to help republican candidates took in $220K and donated $2K. What a racket.

Republican Bloggers are INSANE Liars

November 18th, 2011
10:32 pm

@Ross Perot November 18th, 2011 10:11 pm – The do nothing Democrat crooks will not compromise or work with the Republicans. They don’t even have an itenerary, budget plans, ideas etc. They will let this country sh!t itself so they can get re-elected.
*****************************

I think you got that wrong.
-Remember, its the do nothing Republican crooks who will not comprise.
-Remember, they said NO to the Jobs Act, NO to hiring veterans, NO to infra-structure spending, on and on and on.
Remember, they said they would create jobs. WHERE ARE THE JOBS?
-Remember, they hate Obama more than they love America!
-56% of Americans say the Republicans are the problem.

Let’s not blurr the truth to get your point across. In plain english “STOP LYING”. :)

Toe Maine

November 18th, 2011
10:33 pm

Tday Cain confused Libya with Afghanistan. I guess he needed more sleep.

Cain Wreck

November 18th, 2011
10:47 pm

@Toe Maine November 18th, 2011 – 10:33 pm Tday Cain confused Libya with Afghanistan. I guess he needed more sleep.

Hey Toe, Cain keeps putting his foot in his mouth (no punintended)!

Cain Wreck

November 18th, 2011
10:49 pm

CORRECTION:

Hey Toe, Cain keeps putting his foot in his mouth (no pun intended)!

St Simons - rising sea level - not a theory - trust me on this one

November 18th, 2011
11:00 pm

don’t forget he got you the campaign slogan & it fits on a bumpersticker

Cain/Gingrich – We Know What Women Want

[...] What Herman Cain’s 2012 run has already accomplished [...]

Cain Wreck

November 18th, 2011
11:17 pm

@Today’s Rebellion News – November 19th 2011 | Rebellion News
November 18th, 2011
11:02 pm

WHAT’S YOUR POINT????????? Who are you? What is your political agenda? What is your political affilliation?

Acer706

November 18th, 2011
11:21 pm

Simple Accusations Toward Herman Cain Does Not Make Your Opposition Credible… There Are Not Any Facts or Details.

Anyone Can Make an Accusation.

Pres. Clintion Said So.

Cain Wreck

November 19th, 2011
12:05 am

@Acer706 November 18th, 2011 11:21 pm Simple Accusations Toward Herman Cain Does Not Make Your Opposition Credible… There Are Not Any Facts or Details. Anyone Can Make an Accusation. Pres. Clintion Said So.

*************************

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Acer706

November 19th, 2011
12:18 am

Paula Jones stayed “alleged.” Monica Lewinsky and Gennifer Flowers; however, did not lack specifics.

Ringer

November 19th, 2011
12:38 am

The Cain candidacy is still a real possibility. Newt has not yet been hammered yet by the same leftist media that will surely remind us all of Newts past transgressions. When the dust settles from the Newt fallout right around Christmas time, voters are going to have to reconsider their candidate yet again.

Most Republicans I know have about this opinion on the candidates. Head is for Romney, heart is for Cain, and guts are for Newt. Most Republican’s eventually fall to what their head tells them and this certainly bodes well for Romney. HOWEVER, another policy revelation like 9-9-9 could easily launch Cain back to the #1 spot. Cain now actually has the money and the schedule slated in the first primary states to make a go of it.

FYI, Ron Paul may have won the straw poll in Iowa, but he’s got little chance of garnering the WHOLE Republican base. He’s seen as far too kookie.

Progressive Humanist

November 19th, 2011
1:00 am

Kyle,

You write about “Obama’s mine-mine-mine plan for your money”. You’re too smart to stoop to such demagoguery.

You know that tax rates are the lowest they’ve been since 1932, except for a blip from 1988 to 1992. And you should know that the two times this country has had the lowest tax rates in modern history (1988-1992 and 2003-present) have also coincided with the biggest recessions since WW II. It’s clear by now that low tax rates equal BIG recessions. When you subtract the substantial amount of money that wealthy individuals and large corporations contribute to our economy, very bad things happen to that economy.

Look at the data in the link below you will see that what I’m saying is the truth. And you should know better.

http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/151.html

ragnar danneskjold

November 19th, 2011
4:42 am

While I remain a Cain supporter, and will vote for him in Georgia, I do not object to our host’s arguments, they are fairly presented, but I disagree with the analysis.

I think Ann Coulter’s logical parsing of the sexual innuendo strongly argues that the accusers lie (and Chairman Ann also is not a Cain partisan.) This is totally a non-issue for me, although real predators such as Bill Clinton or Chris Dodd or the late Ted Kennedy deserve our opprobrium.

As to allegation #2, which I relabel “Cain’s failure to command the insider-speak used by political writers,” I find that wholly untroubling. Note that many of the questions are phrased in cultist language (”do you agree with President Obama’s policy that …”) when, on any given topic, the empty suit in the oval office has been on all sides of an issue. Because many of those phrases have multiple meanings, they are all “gotcha” questions, no matter how much preparation one has – any interpretation different from that of the journalism major “proves” the candidate’s incompetence. Herman should stick to being Herman, ignore the question, and give his policy on a topic.

As to 9-9-9, I have no problem with a politician riding a winner. Arthur Laffer crunched the numbers for us in the WSJ last month, seemingly proving that the proposed changes are revenue-neutral using a static analysis, and likely to produce the desired dynamic results. Herman would do well to continue to push 9-9-9, as he has already shifted the conversation from “raising taxes” to “reforming and simplifying the tax system.” Worthy of my support.

innocentia74

November 19th, 2011
5:06 am

Herman Cain is uninformed, totally disrespectful of women, of working class people and would be a constant headache and embarassment to us globally. He’s essentially an older, male, black Sarah Palin – flip, unpolished, lacking social grace, humility or decency if you believe the sexual harassment allegations. Will having such a person in any way solve any of the major problems facing this country? I posit Herman Cain would be a massive additional set of problems if elected president.

Alex

November 19th, 2011
5:18 am

Voting Ron Paul here! I know many say he has little chance of winning but he is in second place right now in Iowa and second to third place in New Hampshire! If he does good in the states I think he may very well have a good chance. The mainstream media ignores him as much as they can but I think Ron Paul’s really catching in the early states despite the media’s bias. IMO there isn’t a better choice right now.

Just to name a few reasons – end the wars (including the insane war on drugs), secure the borders, audit the federal reserve (so we know where all the money is going), save a trillion dollars first year in office (if Ron Paul wins), lower taxes (good for economy and business), and those are just a few reasons I am supporting Ron Paul this election. The country is 15 trillion dollars in debt. I’ll admit it is against the odds (cause of the media ignoring Ron Paul for the most part) but a win in Iowa can really set the ball rolling IMO !

Jack

November 19th, 2011
5:39 am

I hope Guiliana gets back in the race.

Lib in Cobb

November 19th, 2011
5:57 am

If you love Republican, can’t be believed, blow hard, hypocritic candidates, vote for Newt.

Lib in Cobb

November 19th, 2011
6:04 am

@Ragnar
Many Republicans were complaining 4 years ago that President Obama lacked government experience, eventhough he had been in Illinois State Senate for 7 years. Those same Republicans, perhaps you, are now supporting a candidate who has NO government experience and is clearly not qualified. How do you square that?

NoSkinInTheGame

November 19th, 2011
6:33 am

What I’ve appreciated the most is watching Cain make an embarrassment of himself. He’s proven himself to be a vapid, shallow, uninformed candidate, whom I believe got into this race to push his books.Granted his business experience is vast, but how much of that alleged success is due to skills and talent versus old-fashioned cronyism is undoubtedly debatable. While an overpaid talk show host for WSB, he was confrontational, argumentative, displayed a level of arrogance that turned off many listeners, ala Boortz. Watching him in the sinking ship was an inevitable sight. Maybe Gospel singing is his next career turn.

CommonSenseRules

November 19th, 2011
6:37 am

(What, you thought one of the three would be that Cain proved conservatives could support a black Republican? Nah. Only liberals thought otherwise before.)

No, I never feared that conservatives wouldn’t support a black puppet, er, I mean, Republican. There hasn’t been a black Republican on the national stage without a ‘man behind the curtain’ since 1888, namely, Frederick Douglass — including those two most recent actors, Colin Powell (manipulated to the extreme) and Condoleeza Rice (bright,though misguided). It’s the utter cynicism and fear-mongering(Clarence Thomas, a fine legal mind??; weapons of mass destruction??) of the Republican leadership that rankles, and quite frankly, terrifies me!

Craig Quirolo

November 19th, 2011
7:08 am

Cain has showed us that anyone can run for president provided they are in the pockets of the Koch Brothers. If pizzas are now considered vegetables that must make this guy a turnip.

Comrade MarxistV

November 19th, 2011
7:08 am

It’s clear by now that low tax rates equal BIG recessions.

Not according to the tax foundation you linked as a reference. A quick read of the tax foundation’s “about us” web-page puts you and your demagogued claim to shame.

Broad Bases and Low Rates: As a corollary to the principle of neutrality, lawmakers should avoid enacting targeted deductions, credits and exclusions. If such tax preferences are few, substantial revenue can be raised with low tax rates. Broad-based taxes can also produce relatively stable tax revenues from year to year.

http://www.taxfoundation.org/about/

Churchill's MOM.....Ron Paul for President

November 19th, 2011
7:15 am

ragnar danneskjold

November 19th, 2011
4:42 am

you need to look at Ron Paul.. he is the only hope for the USA.. I’d vote for Obama before Newt.

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November 19th, 2011
7:16 am

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Chief Media Urologist

November 19th, 2011
7:17 am

So, ultimately, while voters weighed the stories against what they previously believed about his character, Obama successfully avoided the trap of letting unproven accusations redefine his character or his fitness for the job. That’s one.

But Obama’s occasional slips have revealed the tension between wanting someone who hasn’t spent a lifetime trying to become president, and wanting someone who has spent considerable time thinking about the things presidents have to think about. That’s two.

Eric

November 19th, 2011
7:21 am

This is the first time I’ve read your column and you have confirmed for me exactly what I expected. You, like Herman Cain, MIchele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, etc etc etc, are a complete and utter moron, and none of you will ever occupy The Oval Office. Hallelujah! Have a nice day.