Like a smoldering cigarette, Herman Cain’s Internet ad had lain unnoticed for nearly a week.
On Tuesday, it flared. Exhaling a white cloud has once again become a symbol of rebellion. Not in an unfiltered, James Dean fashion. More of a style that shouts, “Get off my back. Medicare will eventually cover it.”
Cain’s campaign manager Mark Block takes up most of the 56 seconds. The GOP candidate’s smile – how does that grab you? – makes a cameo at the end:
The video was at once variously dissected as iconic, bizarre and baffling. Cain’s people rolled with it. Block on Fox:
“You walk into a veterans’ bar in Iowa and they’re sitting around smoking, and yeah, we are resonating with them. I’m not the only one that smokes in America for God’s sake. It’s a choice that I made, and was at the end of the ad,” he said.
But by putting the focus on Block, you also shine light on his biography – not the candidate’s. From the Daily Caller:
[Block] was also banned from politics in Wisconsin for three years and forced to pay a $15,000 fine after being accused by the Wisconsin State Elections Board of violating election law in 1997 as campaign manager to state Supreme Court Justice Jon P. Wilcox….
Block settled with the Wisconsin State Elections Board without admitting guilt. Broke and unable to work in politics under the settlement, he stocked shelves at Target.
His political rehabilitation includes meeting Herman Cain several years later, when Block was working as the head of the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity.
And from the left, Mother Jones was reminded of Cain’s previous life in Washington:
And as a lobbyist for the National Restaurant Association in DC in the 1990s, Cain was one of the tobacco industry’s best friends on K Street. His group received big bucks from major cigarette manufacturers, and returned the favor by opposing things like smoking bans.
One view from abroad was withering. From Richard Adams of the Guardian in the U.K., who raised this possibility:
Alternatively, the Cain campaign is a “Springtime for Hitler” production designed to fail, as in The Producers, which those involved now furiously trying to derail because it’s turned successful. My money is on the whole Cain thing being a giant decoy operation run by the Romney campaign.
Expect many parodies to come. One of the first was by New York hip-hop radio personality Jay Smooth:
Meanwhile, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll has this dose of reality for Cainiacs this morning:
[M]ost Americans and about half of the most conservative Republicans and independents— 49 percent—have unfavorable impressions of what has become the featured policy for GOP contender Herman Cain, his “9-9-9” tax plan. Cain has suggested spiking the federal income tax in favor of twin 9 percent taxes rates on personal income and corporate taxes and a new 9 percent national sales tax.
State Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, City Councilman Derrick Boazman and civil rights leader Joe Beasley were among those arrested at the Occupy Atlanta camp-in at Woodruff Park last night. And if you look at the opening seconds of this amateur seven-minute video, presumably shot by a protester, you catch a glimpse of a monitoring state Sen. Nan Orrock, D-Atlanta, outside the barriers.
At a Tuesday’s show-and-tell in Atlanta, both Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed emphasized the need to pass next year’s transportation sales tax in order to enhance the port’s value. From Walter Jones with Morris News Service:
“It doesn’t do a whole lot of good to get larger vessels into the ports if we can’t get the cargo distributed around the state,” he said at a luncheon sponsored by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Ports Authority.
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today examines a post circulating on Facebook that criticizes the House Republican majority for not focusing on job creation.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider