I began writing this post three days ago. The thinking behind it came to me when I suddenly
realized that we had not heard anything substantive, from or about the Cain campaign in almost two weeks. I began to think that in the case of Herman Cain, no news is bad news. After he vaulted to the top of many polls because of the Republican electorates willingness to go for anyone but Romney, Cain was hot and it looked as though he was about to establish himself as the man to beat.
Then came one, two, three, and even four accusations of sexual harassment.
For a brief second, it seemed that things might fall apart for Cain, but after news hound Gloria Allred got involved and after the accusations seemed to be a bit flimsy, Cain not only recovered, he benefitted from a brief backlash against the media coverage of anonymous allegations from over a dozen years ago, which never made it in to the judicial system where Cain could have had a proper hearing. As it was, Republican voters were getting tired of the media telling them that Mitt Romney was going to be their nominee whether they liked it or not. Which is how Herman Cain become so popular to begin with.
He was the perfect anti-establishment candidate in an electorate that is as anti-establishment and opposed to the political class as ever before. Cain never held elected office, he had some novel ideas, a common sense approach to problems, was willing to go against the politicians, and never held an elected office that could have qualified him as a politician. So he was the perfect vessel for TEA Party-like, anti-establishment voters to send their message through. Add to that the fact that Herman Cain was a passionate, articulate, and creative speaker and what you had was the perfect candidate for the times. Add to that Sarah Palin’s decision not to run and Herman Cain was a lucky man.
So Herman Cain benefited from a combination of a lack of elected offices, a history of talent, and good timing.
But with that benefit came responsibility. The responsibility to prove that he was worthy of the support that naturally gravitated towards him under the circumstances.
The problem is, Herman did not prove he was deserving of the support.
Instead he demonstrated that when he had more than two minutes to answer a questions, he didn’t know what he was talking about. And as for his campaign, instead of demonstrating that he could solidify and build on the popular support that did come his way, it proved to be inept, incompetent, and interestingly ill-equipped to cope with politics.
And the odd thing is that Herman Cain is nothing like his presidential campaign.
While Herman Cain worked hard to go from very humble beginnings to become a highly learned, highly successful businessman, and conservative leader, his campaign for President had a humble beginning and after a brief anomalous bounce in the polls, went from promising to disappointing.
Which brings us back to what finally put Herman Cain back in the news this week.
The initial accusations of sexual harassment seemed to have faded away. No thanks to his campaign, its fading away was a good thing. But what we began to see was that without scandal to force the media to focus on Cain’s presidential campaign, there was nothing for the media to report about Cain. Such media silence was a tragic loss of opportunity for Cain’s campaign.
They had the opportunity to grab the bull by the horns and issue bold new policy initiatives and plans that would have grabbed the headlines for Cain based on content of issue, not on spaciousness of scandal. Herman Cain had the chance to solidify the support he was getting when people rallied around him in his defense. He had the opportunity to increase his support by demonstrating to voters that in the face of politics as usual, he was the man who could get things done and focus on the issues, not the distractions.
Instead, Herman Cain and his campaign, initially extended the life of the sexual harassment charge scandal by mishandling his reaction to it for the first five days and then dropped off the political map.
Now as it turns out, we finally hear some news related to Herman Cain’s candidacy. But what we hear is not something we like. It is an accusation of a 13 year long, clandestine, extramarital affair.
Whether it is true or not does not even matter. Afterall, after the Kennedy’s and Clinton’s, the nation is numb to such personal matters. But what does matter is the fact that Herman Cain and his campaign failed to gain the limelight for nearly two weeks but finally do so after the prospect of a new scandal arises. Had it not been for his recent accuser, there would have been nothing else to report on regarding Herman Cain. There would have been no new economic inititaives or possible solutions to peace in the Middle East coming from Cain to report on. There would have been no new evidence to prove that Cain does know his P’s and Q’s when it comes to foreign affairs. Nothing constructive would have come out of the Cain campaign and that is a sad statement on the effectiveness of Herman Cain’s presidential campaign.
As I stated at the beginning of the post, this account was in the making several days before his latest accuser surfaced. The fact that there was finally something to say about Cain’s campaign because she surfaced, simply punctuates the point.
Before today, I was wondering if the train Cain was still running. I But as have been standing at the station waiting for something to report on about him. But every time I looked down the track, I saw nothing on the horizon. But as of today, I think I have my answer. While I know better than to never say never in politics, I have come to conclude that service on the Cain line has been discontinued. And it is not because of shaky accusations. It is because the Cain train has been unable to drop off any real issues whenever it makes a stop on the campaign trail. Even in politics, soundbites only get you so far. Good candidates need to run on more than slogans, they need some real issues and substantive policies to run on and unfortunately, after a good start, when it comes to issues, the Cain train’s been running on empty. After building up so much initial speed, it’s just taken awhile for the forward momentum to come to a stop and force the Cain train to come to an end.
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