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

UGA 1999

November 21st, 2011
10:45 am

All of you Dems that do not like Cain are “racists”….

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

November 21st, 2011
10:45 am

“and what % of air time is truly news vs all the other stuff they run….”

Well, zeke, since you either can’t count, or simply don’t wish to learn for yourself, they have news programs from 9:00 am thru 4:00 pm and from 6:00 pm through 8:00 pm, so that would be 9 hours of news throughout the daytime and early evening hours. They only have 4 real opinion-based shows from 5-11 pm, plus Cavuto for an hour of business news.

Aren’t you feeling a bit sheepish right now?

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

November 21st, 2011
10:47 am

I suggest you read something other than Wiki to get your source of information, zeke.

Joseph Dooley

November 21st, 2011
10:47 am

The problems people have with Cain is that he doesn’t give answers with quiz-show precision. When you’re president, you’re surrounded by a team of people acquainted with the facts. What matters is the President’s VALUES, not whether he knows the name of the Ukraine’s Minister of Agriculture.

MarkV

November 21st, 2011
10:53 am

A policy question regarding Obama’s dealing with the Libya situation is not on the level of knowing the name of the Ukraine’s Minister of Agriculture.

HDB

November 21st, 2011
11:11 am

UGA 1999
November 21st, 2011
10:45 am

That’s not quite true……here’s one of my reasons that Herman Cain doesn’t resonate with me!!

http://www.blackcommentator.com/154/154_thindwa_black_conservatives.html

MarkV

November 21st, 2011
11:14 am

A discussion of Cain’s candidacy might be entertaining, but it is hardly a matter of importance. Herman Cain dropped in the Republican polls because of his inability to show qualities people expect in the Chief Executive, even when they agree with his ideology. It was not the Democrats who have made him look bad. One cannot expect them to praise a candidate on the opposite side of the political spectrum, but there has been hardly a big effort on their side to bash Cain. They can be satisfied to sit down and watch the media repeating Cain’s blunders and nighttime comedians making fun of them.

If Cain happens to regain his one time popularity that will be a better time to argue about him. For now, the latest alternative to Romney, Newt Gingrich and his vast political baggage are a better target for scorn.

Real Athens

November 21st, 2011
11:18 am

“We need a leader, not a reader.” – Herman Cain

Yeah, teach kids not to read. We’ll be real world leaders then.

zeke

November 21st, 2011
11:25 am

tiberius….that is bull…do the names murdoch and ailes mean anything…you sir are a total dumb arsse….and i and most others would trust wike over you 366 days of the year

Polls and surveys

A poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports during September 2004 found that Fox News was second to CBS as the most politically biased network in the public view. 37% of respondents thought CBS, in the wake of the memogate scandal, was trying to help elect John Kerry, while 34% of respondents said they believed that Fox’s goal was to “help elect Bush.”[37] However, a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling in January 2010 found Fox News to be the only US television news network to receive a positive rating by the public for trustworthiness with results strongly split depending on the political affiliation of the respondents [38] A survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press showed “a striking rise in the politicization of cable TV news audiences . . . This pattern is most apparent with the fast-growing Fox News Channel.”[39] Another Pew survey of news consumption found that Fox News has not suffered a decline in credibility with its audience, with one in four (25%) saying they believe all or most of what they see on Fox News Channel, virtually unchanged since Fox was first tested in 2000.[40]

According to the results of a 2006 study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism a survey of 547 journalists, found that Fox was most frequently cited by surveyed journalists as an outlet taking an ideological stance in its coverage, and most identified as advocating conservative political positions,[41] with 56% of national journalists citing Fox News as being especially conservative in its coverage of news. Additionally Fox was viewed as having the highest profile as a conservative news organization; it was cited unprompted by 69% of national journalists.[42]

gm

November 21st, 2011
11:38 am

All Obama has to do is run on morals and family values this knocks out all the hypocrities of the rep party, family values only counts when Dem are running the office but the hypocrites on the right turn their head when it comes to there own.
Newt did what the tea party hypocrites were out there against yet these double standards hypocrite are still out there supporting this hypocrites who took millions from the goverment, who can take this party of hypocrites, idiots seriously?

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

November 21st, 2011
3:24 pm

zeke, you’re using a poll? Of journalists? As your standard for whether Fox News is unbiased? :lol: :lol: :lol:

clem

November 21st, 2011
5:05 pm

try again, it was other polls too……and your citation highly questionable as well…..cite something else then….and it will likely have flaws like most of your thinking and blogging

zeke

November 21st, 2011
8:43 pm

gee tiberius, think you need to read my post again. it included other polls as well and being a journalist does not disqualify them.

zeke

November 21st, 2011
10:32 pm