Minute Sixteen and Counting (Updated)

I wasn’t going to blog anymore about Herman Cain, but I cannot let this go without comment:

Mark Block, chief of staff for the Cain campaign, laid the blame for the leaks about the allegations about Cain squarely at the Perry campaign’s feet in an interview today.

“The actions of the Perry campaign are despicable,” Block told Fox News tonight. “Rick Perry and his campaign owe Herman Cain and his family an apology. Both the Rick Perry campaign andPolitico did the wrong thing by reporting something that wasn’t true from anonymous sources. Like I said, they owe Herman Cain and his family an apology.”

Asked if he had any evidence, Block mentioned the fact that Cain had told Curt Anderson (who now works for Perry) about the accusations during his 2004 senate run. Cain accused Anderson earlier today; Anderson denied that he was.

As with every other aspect of his campaign, Herman Cain has been unable to address this situation in anything resembling a coherent manner.  I could let that pass, but instead of addressing the issue – or even not addressing it – the Cain camp decides to avert attention away from this mess by hurling unsubstantiated claims against one of his Republican rivals.  Could the Perry camp have leaked the information?  It’s certainly possible, but it just as likely could have been the Romney camp.  Or, and here’s a wild guess, someone did a little digging and came across a publicly available story.

Look, I don’t know if there’s anything more to the original story than that it was a misunderstanding.  But Cain is doing himself no favors by reacting as wildly as he is.  First he played the race card.  If he had been a Democrat conservatives would have collectively rolled their eyes, and yet some conservatives, including one that I highly respect, are willing to indulge this fantasy.  And now this.

What’s sickening is not just the man’s basic ineptitude, it’s that he is inspiring the same kind of blind loyalty to a cult of personality that we mock Democrats for with regards to Barack Obama.  And for what?  A candidate who has nothing to offer except a silly campaign slogan that is, for the record, politically unworkable.  A candidate who couldn’t even win a Senate primary in Georgia, of all states.  Ah, but he sounds so authentic.

And therein lies the problem with the conservative movement.  Mitt Romney is the establishment candidate, and we hate the establishment.  So our counter-reaction to the establishment is to rally around the guy who mouths the most platitudes, all the while ignoring the substance.  It’s like watching the Hot Air blog come to life.  The main contributors are a collection of mealy-mouthed wimps who fear the rise of genuinely conservative candidates.  On the other hand, the commenters are a  collection of raving “THIS GOES TO 11!!!!!!!!” “purists” who make the Free Republic look like a haven of logical thought.  It’s something behold, but it’s also a sad reflection on the conservative movement as we seem constantly to have to choose between raving psychosis and stultifying boredom.

What’s even funnier about the Cain dead-enders is envisioning their reaction when he drops out and turns around to endorse Mitt Romney.  But at least we would have beaten the guy who said “heartless” in a debate that one time.  Good job.  Look what happens when the search for purity leads to the nomination of the most impure candidate.

Then again, not everyone is turning a blind eye to Cain’s collapsing campaign.  Even his biggest booster in the blogosphereis starting to sound a little worried.

The fact that Chris Wilson works for a firm that has been associated with Rick Perry’s campaign may confirm widespread suspicions about the origin of Sunday’s Politico story, but as matters now stand, such speculation is irrelevant to whether Cain can survive this. Whatever the motives of the Politico sources, Cain’s fate depends on the specifics of the accusation and the credibility of his accuser.

Then again, knowing the spitefulness that guides certain people, he’ll only ascend in the polls.

Update:  FWIW, here is Eric Erickson’s interview with Perry, in which he firmly denies having anything to do with leaking the story.  Notice that despite the umms and ahhs, it doesn’t take a team of detectives to figure out what Perry is saying.

22 Responses to Minute Sixteen and Counting (Updated)

  • Can’t agree more.

  • That’s exactly how I feel about Republican support for Sarah Palin. Glad to see some more people realize that there’s a nutty wing in the GOP. My hope is that with a moderate Republican in the White House, the GOP nuts will stand down.

  • My hope is that with a moderate Republican in the White House, the GOP nuts will stand down.

    In case my post wasn’t clear on this point, I’d be no more content with Romney than with someone like Cain. Romney and Cain are equally distasteful candidates, though for opposite reasons. And my beef with the more strident conservatives has more to do with tone than substance.

    Unlike many, I do think there are several acceptable, conservative candidates. Let’s go with one of them, please.

  • Paul- What is your beef with Cain? Every time he is mentioned your reaction is similar to the Palin syndrome on the left.

    With conservatives like you, who needs left-wing, government loving statists like RR around?

  • My beef with Cain is that he is a substance free, incompetent candidate who can’t even speak without retracting or clarifying his statement at some future point. I honestly tried giving him a chance and liked him after the first few debates, but at some point you just have to stop giving guys the benefit of the doubt,

    As I said, there are several qualified, competent conservatives running. So my question to you is why the blind loyalty to this man when there are actually good candidates running?

  • “we seem constantly to have to choose between raving psychosis and stultifying boredom.”

    If that’s the case I will vote for boredom every time. The last thing this country needs is another exciting, charismatic candidate who lets all that fame go to his/her head and begins believing and acting as if they really are some kind of anointed political savior.

  • This is a game of attrition at this point. I don’t want Romney to be the last man standing and attacking Cain only serves to achieve this unintended consequence. For a liberal this is understandable but for a conservative it’s appalling.

    I’d love to see a guy like Santorum be President but it ain’t in the cards so you play the hand you are dealt. Do you see any truly viable conservative candidates at this stage in the game?

  • Do you see any truly viable conservative candidates at this stage in the game?

    I’ve said so twice. Either of the Ricks and Newt as well are all far preferable, and I believe that any of them would win in the general. Santorum is a long shot, but I’d much rather support him than Cain.

    By the way, if Cain is destroyed as a candidate I don’t see how that benefits Mitt. He absolutely needs a divided conservative field. If Cain falters, it’s probably down to just Newt and Perry as the anti-Romneys. Romney most likely needs at least three semi-viable conservative opponents, so unless Bachmann resuscitates her campaign he’d be in trouble.

  • By the way judging from this thread, Red State – hardly a bastion of establishment sympathy – is just about done with Cain as well.

  • Well we disagree on our political calculations in such case.

    Newt is a known quantity by the electorate and this electorate is not in the mood for political retreads no matter how high their IQ. Capturing the heart of this nation for a presidential bid is not a likely scenario for him.

    Rick Perry does not appear to be capable of withstanding the rigors of the debates. My greatest fear is that Obama would run rings around him. I don’t think he can win. I could be wrong.

    Regardless, were it Santorum, Perry, Bachmann or Newt currently neck and neck with Romney for pole position conservatives should be rallying around that individual in common cause. Watching Cain receive “friendly fire” from conservatives while he is under attack with what appear to be charges that are lacking any weight or seriousness is unbecoming of conservatives. That’s my concern irrespective of who it happens to be on the receiving end of a political hit-job, Cain or not.

  • “As with every other aspect of his campaign, Herman Cain has been unable to address this situation in anything resembling a coherent manner.”

    Bingo. I find his explanations of all this inherently unbelievable and incoherent. He had to know this was waiting in the wings, and he and his campaign act as if they are stunned ducks when it was revealed. Cain, although he has accomplished much in his life, was totally unprepared for a Presidential run, has attempted to wing the whole thing, and would be an absolute disaster in a general election campaign with the Obama lapdog media tearing into every aspect of his life. Next!

  • Jay Cost sums up the Cain campaign well:

    “What of Herman Cain’s response to this? In a word, it stinks. His campaign couldn’t get its stories straight, the final version does not square very well with the known facts, and worse Team Cain had known about this for more than a week, so it should have been prepared. This isn’t the first time I’d used a word like “stink” to describe the Cain operation, either. His tongue-tied answers on abortion and Guantanamo Bay stunk. His infrastructure in the early states stinks. His fundraising to date has stunk. You get the idea.” Politics isn’t a game, it is hard work and Cain and his staffers have shown no inclination to do the hard work necessary to win the nomination and the general election.

  • Cain doth protest too much. Or, to use another bromide, where there’s smoke there’s fire.
    Face it, Cain is not Able.

  • I think Ann Coulter put it best:

    “It is beyond insane that Herman Cain would have considered running for president if he had the tiniest skeleton in his closet. To be an out-of-the-closet black Republican, you had better be a combination rocket scientist/Baptist preacher.”

    to see AC following the MSM’s lead is sickening. Use to have respect for this blog, not anymore. You’re way to full of yourselves.

  • to see AC following the MSM’s lead is sickening. Use to have respect for this blog, not anymore. You’re way to full of yourselves.

    I wrote this blogpost because Herman Cain accused a fellow candidate of being the leaker without any evidence, and as a way to draw attention away from himself. This has nothing to do with putting credence in the allegations, but rather in the Cain camp’s reaction to the story. You Cainiacs are so invested in this guy that you are willing to overlook every stupid thing he does. So a little less sanctimony and a little more reflection, okay?

  • Oh give it a break Jasper! It is not following the mainstream media lead to conclude that Herman Cain’s campaign consists of winging it and making it up as he goes along. He had to know that the issue of sexual harassment would come up, and he obviously had no plan to deal with it. Rather than heap bile on the messenger your scorn is better directed at an obviously clueless candidate. TAC looks at facts straight on, whether the facts are good, bad or indifferent, and draws opinions and conclusions from the facts. We will not trim our analysis because someone is on “our side”.

  • OK, stipulating that Cain is finished as a viable candidate, Perry is being bashed left and right and none of the other candidates have much traction, who emerges as the front-runner? There’s a leadership void and someone must step up. If Gingrich steps up, it will take the media less than a news cycle to dredge up the since-discredited story about him visiting his cancer-striken ex-wife in the hospital and demanding a divorce.

    Is there anyone out there without baggage?

    Chime in, folks.

  • Wouldn’t it be refreshing if the GOP presidential nominating convention borrowed from history and actually showed some drama and uncertainty>
    Before the 1960s, the quadrennial gatherings were actually decision-making forums where the delegates met for four days to promote party unity, establish the party platform, vote for a presidential nominee, and then a vice presidential nominee.
    Many times delegates could not find consensus on candidates or platform. In 1924, Democrats cast 103 ballots before nominating John W. Davis, and in 1860 Stephen Douglas was finally selected after 59 ballots (and two conventions). Deadlock at the 1844 Democratic convention resulted in the selection of “dark horse” candidate James K. Polk, who was chosen on the ninth ballot, even though he wasn’t nominated until the eighth.
    The Democrats were bitterly divided in 1860 over the slavery issue. When delegates adopted Stephen Douglas’ plank that supported nonintervention with slavery in the territories, several delegates from the South bolted from the Charleston, South Carolina, convention in protest.
    While the early conventions often required more than one ballot, there have been only a handful of times in the past five decades that the conventions were nail-biters. In 1952, Adlai Stevenson triumphed over a “Stop Stevenson” campaign and won the nomination in three ballots. Stevenson created even more drama at the 1956 convention, when he declined to appoint a running mate, and the delegates chose Sen. Estes Kefauver over Sen. John F. Kennedy in two ballots. One of the closest races in recent history saw Gerald Ford edge out Ronald Reagan, 1187–1070.
    However, what with pollsters everywhere and the media mainly in charge of steering the dumb masses toward to lesser of several evils, I’m betting that by July/August of 2012 the GOP nominating decision will be preordained and someone will have it locked up.

  • Wouldn’t it be refreshing if the GOP presidential nominating convention borrowed from history and actually showed some drama and uncertainty>

    As a political junkie it would be exciting. But if the GOP doesn’t have a nominee by the time the primaries are done, it would be a disaster of epic proportions for the party.

  • Paul, why so? Reagan and Ford fought it out, as did Rockefeller and Goldwater, and the party not only survived but flourished. Of course, I can understand that the media likely would spin it as a sharply divided party, etc., but clear-thinking voters (I hope there are still some left) would look at a vibrant show of honest differences and in the end unity would prevail.

  • Divided conventions Joe usually presage defeat in November for a party in modern times. The last exception to that rule I can think of was when Eisenhower defeated Taft in 1952 at the Republican convention. Sometimes intra-party battles do strengthen a party long term: I certainly think that was true with Goldwater beating Rockefeller and Reagan beating Ford, but four more years of Obama would be too high a price to pay.

  • Joe, the party has been involved in intense bickering for months – just look at this thread! Imagine six extra months of this. Obama would love it.

    Furthermore, that’s six fewer months of fundraising for the eventual nominee, putting him at a tremendous disadvantage.

Follow TAC by Clicking on the Buttons Below
Bookmark and Share
Subscribe by eMail

Enter your email:

Recent Comments
Archives
Our Visitors. . .
Our Subscribers. . .