Herman Cain’s candidacy is effectively over.
“As of today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign,” said Cain to boos of disappointment. “I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt caused on me and my family. Not because we are not fighters.”
Cain said he would endorse a Republican candidate soon, and announced his own “plan B” for public service, a policy web site called “The Cain Solutions.”
In the short term, I would imagine that most of Cain’s support will trickle to Gingrich. Then again, considering that Cain’s support is made up of anti-establishment types, it very well could go to a less popular candidate, say Santorum or, sigh, Bachmann. Either way, this hurts Romney as it eliminates a non-Romney with significant support. The fewer viable candidates, the less chance for Romney to eek out the nomination.
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.
Presidential candidate Herman Cain appeared on the Piers Morgan show last night, and the conversation turned to the topic of abortion. It’s a fascinating read because at first Cain appears to be giving an absolutist pro-life position – opposition to abortion in all circumstances. Yet Cain then gives a response that seems to suggest that while he’s personally pro-life, well, you know how this ends:
MORGAN: By expressing the view that you expressed, you are effectively — you might be president. You can’t hide behind now the mask, if you don’t mind me saying, of being the pizza guy. You might be the president of United States of America. So your views on these things become exponentially massively more important. They become a directive to the nation.
CAIN: No they don’t. I can have an opinion on an issue without it being a directive on the nation. The government shouldn’t be trying to tell people everything to do, especially when it comes to social decisions that they need to make.
Hmmmm. In the interests of fairness, here is the entire abortion discussion in context:
But it is a document that ensures a pesky little thing called religious freedom, something that Herman Cain has seemingly missed.
Herman Cain, a Republican presidential candidate, says Americans have the right to ban Muslims from building mosques.
“They have the right to do that,” Cain said on Fox News Sunday, expressing his concerns with Sharia law. “I’m willing to take a harder look at people that might be terrorists.”
Cain’s comments were in reference to a Tennessee town that is attempting to ban a mosque in its community. “That’s not discriminating based upon their particular religion,” he said. “There is an aspect of them building that mosque that doesn’t get talked about. And the people in the community know what it is and they’re talking about it.”
“Our Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state,” Cain said. “Islam combines church and state. They’re using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their morals in that community, and the people in the community do not like it.”
I’m the last person to deny the perniciousness of many elements within Islam, but this is nonsense on stilts. The most deliciously ironic aspect of this comment is Cain’s relying on the “separation of church and state trope.” So Cain doesn’t seem to think that the First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, which it in fact does, but he does think it guarantees a separation of church and state, which it in fact does not. And I especially have to laugh at Cain saying “They’re using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their morals in that community and the people in the community do not like it.” First of all, the church part of our First Amendment? What? Second, does anyone doubt that if an atheist or hardened leftist (I know, I’m being redundant) had said something like this he would have been excoriated by most conservatives. Evidently only pre-approved religious viewpoints are allowed to influence people in a given community. Perhaps Herman Cain would like to share with us which viewpoints are acceptable, this way we can be all clear in the future.
Naturally this has provided an opportunity for people to beat their chests and play “more righteously angry and conservative than thou.” Because only a hippy could possibly think that it is a dangerous thing to start prohibiting certain religions from constructing places of worship. This selective application of the first amendment could never be applied to Catholics, right? No one could possibly fathom using the same precise rationale that Cain has advanced here in order justify blocking the construction of a Roman Catholic Church.
I thought the construction of the Islamic cultural center at Ground Zero was a terrible idea, but that had to do with the symbolic import of the location. Even then, I thought the way to oppose it was through social pressure, not by the strong arm of the state intervening and prohibiting construction. The people of the local community can certainly express their displeasure, but once we allow the state to intervene we have destroyed the concept of religious freedom.
And yes, I know that many adherents of Islam do not even believe in the concept of religious freedom. Certainly there is a political element within Islam that makes it as much an ideology as a religion, at least in certain quarters. But are we willing to completely write off all Muslims as deranged fanatics unworthy of constitutional protections? If you think as Herman Cain does, then that’s implicitly what you are saying.
I have zero tolerance for people who attempt to turn Jesus into some sort of secular political leader in order to further their own political agenda. It’s reprehensible when done by social justice types on the religious left, and equally reprehensible when done by social conservatives. So it saddened me to see this blog journal on Red State written by presidential aspirant Herman Cain titled “The Perfect Conservative.” I’ll give you three guesses as to who he is talking about, and the first two don’t count. Here’s a taste of his post: Continue reading