It is no White Christmas for Herman Cain

The news comes this evening that The Herman Cain campaign is “reassessing” its strategy following the allegation by Ginger White that she and Mr. Cain had been involved in a consensual relationship over a 13-year period.

Cain initially made the allegation public to Wolf Blitzer in an interview on CNN’s – The Situation Room. Shortly after the announcement, a statement from Cain’s lawyer said, “White’s claims of a consensual affair between two adults is not a legitimate news story.”

It should come as no surprise that Cain is reassessing his campaign as although the allegation does not involve sexual harassment like the previous claims, in many ways Cain’s lawyer’s statement is far from a complete denial or strong rebuttal.

Cain’s campaign team as I expressed in previous articles, totally mismanaged the original allegations from the three previous accusers. I do not believe it was the nature of the allegations that harmed Cain, but the fact, that his team got it so badly wrong in their crisis management of the affair which caused him damage.

Cain had just seemed to put his campaign back on a solid footing when he undertook a disastrous foreign policy question and answer session, which showed him all at sea when trying to answer a question on one of the year’s major foreign policy issues. This clip of his failed interview dominated an entire news cycle and only was also reinforced by his standard and sometimes weak replies during last week’s national security CNN debate.

I believe Cain has brought a considerable amount to this campaign. He has shown America that a black conservative politician can challenge for the GOP’s nomination. He has delivered the catch-phrase and intelligent 9-9-9 plan which had everyone talking on both sides of the political divide and his charisma, humour and common sense has made him a national figure. I believe that the opposition were gravely concerned about a Cain nomination and run off against President Obama, as it would have impacted a lot of their strategy for the 2012 campaign.

Cain would have been able to counter many of the messages which commentators expect the Obama machine to come forward with in the run up to next November’s election. Cain is very much the symbol of the American Dream experiencing southern state segregation, coming from a poor family and rising through hard work and studies to run some of America’s largest and most successful organisations.

Cain’s appeal was largely due to his business expertise and understanding of the economic challenges facing America. Next years election will see the eventual GOP nominee trying to make the election about the economy whereas, Team Obama will try and make it an election based on social and class warfare, as he can’t run on his domestic and economic record.

The revelation surrounding this alleged extramarital affair is sadly, I believe, one straw too many for the Herminator. It is hard to see many social conservatives being able to overlook the cloud hanging over Cain’s personal life and support him in time for Iowa and New Hampshire.

There is also the impact all these personal attacks and allegations are having on Cain’s own family, nobody deserves to be treated in such a fashion and again ability seems destined to be ignored in favour of rumour and innuendo. I feel for the whole Cain family, I really do.

Cain is due to spend tomorrow in Ohio before appearing on Fox News’s Neil Cavuto show for a one to one interview. It is believed a final decision will be made by Cain within a couple days about whether to go on.

A big factor in Cain’s decision will be money. Cain feels an obligation to those who have supported his campaign financially and it is believed he currently holds $9 million in his campaign war chest.

Personally, I would advise Cain to consider his family at this time. I don’t believe the allegations however; other supporters or admirers will prove much harder job to convince then I. Cain has had an excellent run and exceeded many people’s early expectations. Cain has seen what is involved being in the media spotlight of a national campaign. He should thank his supporter’s for all their support and bow out to focus on his family and proving all these allegations as being false. There is a remote chance should he prove the current allegations false, that he may be approached for a Vice President slot, if time and opportunity coincide.

I would like to see Cain respectfully drop out now and throw his support firmly behind one of the other candidates. I am sure Mr. Cain and his team know that after such a dreadful six weeks, winning the party nomination on this occasion is now firmly beyond him. He has raised his profile considerably and even if a V.P. role doesn’t come his way, he can spend the next four years becoming more involved in politics at a national level and prepare the way, all going well, for a stronger and less controversial run in 2016.

Is the Cain Train Still Running?

Bookmark and Share 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. 
Bookmark and Share

Affair Story Could Change Minds

Herman Cain may not have impressed pundits with his handling of the sexual harassment and assault charges that were leveled at him with no proof, and in some cases no names attached to the victims.  But he has managed to keep many of his loyal supporters from losing faith.  Support from Cain’s wife and his own direct denials turned a potentially ugly situation into a he said/she said where his supporters had a reason to rally around him and his detractors simply had one more negative thing to say about him.

Now, someone who Cain describes as someone he thought was a friend is coming out and alleging a 13 year affair with Cain.  Cain apparently had knowledge ahead of time that she was going to come out and attempted a pre-emptive denial.  The big difference here is that Cain did know her, remembers that he knows her, knew she was going to come out with this allegation, and considered her a friend.  People who you think are your friends don’t usually make up stories about 13 year affairs.

The problem with this story is that if it changes peoples’ minds about Cain’s character, then every other dismissed accusation is back on the table.  If Cain did it and decides to come clean and admit to an affair, he can forget the support and especially the trust of his supporters.  If he continues to deny this affair, he will keep his loyal supporters but may not gain enough support back to regain relevance.

The best thing that could happen for Cain’s campaign at this point is for one of the women who made accusations to come out apologetically admitting that she made the story up.  Either that, or an alibi.

The GOP Debate Gauntlet – Deciding The Nominee Or Face Time For Media Hounds?

Bookmark and ShareAs GOP primary voters wind down to the last couple of months before the selection process of a nominee begins there has certainly been no shortage of opportunity for the top polling candidates to get their message out.

Is it me or is there a GOP presidential debate every week?

For political junkies it is a fantastic schedule. The candidates squaring off on our tv’s, the trip up’s and slip up’s, the scolding of the media, the embellishing of records and the bickering about who has the biggest…….plan. All kidding aside there have been a few bright moments and some instances where policy has been articulated well to allow the voters to hear and decide who the best candidate would be to put the country back on the right track.

But does the grueling debate schedule also serve another purpose?

Lets be honest here, there are candidates whose funding, message and 15 minutes have dried up during the process but yet they remain there, on the stage, for nothing more than a little self promotion and face time. To steal a quote from ESPN’s weekly blooper segment: “C’Mon Man!”.

Michele Bachmann came out like a lion and is leaving like a lamb. Winning the Iowa straw poll gave her some hope but realistically the big dogs had yet to get on the porch in Iowa at the time. Although she has had some good moments in the debates her chances are slim to none. 28 foster children is admirable but repeating it time after time to people who want to know what you are going to do to help the job market won’t help a withering campaign bank account. Sorry congresswoman but after Iowa it may be time to sit down and pen that book you seem to be promoting. Get off the stage

Rick Santorum has spent a ton of time and money in Iowa. He has spent enough time in Iowa that he may have to file his state tax return in the Hawkeye state. Despite his near residency he is still polling at or near the bottom in the state that kicks off the election cycle. That alone should be enough to tell the former Pennsylvania Senator that it may be time to hang it up. In a socially conservative state, the socially conservative candidate has not been able to gain traction. Not a good sign. He has performed well in the debates don’t get me wrong but if he can’t get off the ground in Iowa he isn’t getting off the ground at all. Especially after all of the effort he has put into it. If he is staying in for VP consideration or to gain viewers for a new Fox News show is unclear but staying in to win is not an option at this point. Your best in Iowa was not good enough. Get off the stage.

Jon Huntsman has also not made any major gaffes in the debate cycle but has yet to make a name for himself in a muddled field. China this, China that. Pointing to his foreign policy experience should be an asset to Huntsman but instead has made him seem like a 1 trick pony. Throw that in with his time in the Obama administration and although it may be unfair, he comes off to the everyday voter as Obama’s China guy and using the words Obama and China in the same sentence doesn’t bode well with GOP voters at the moment. Noting your experience with China every time you get a chance to speak however may land you a spot in the next GOP administration but other than that there is no reason for Huntsman to remain in. Get off the stage.

Ron Paul has been polling well. That is to say better than he has in past presidential primaries. However even his supporters, of which I am one, realize his chances of winning a GOP nomination are almost non-existent. His values are more Libertarian than Republican, everyone knows it and he is unapologetic for it. Some of the ideas he was ostracized for in past primaries have become GOP rallying calls but it still doesn’t hide the fact that he simply is not what GOP voters are looking for. He is still raising enough money and polling well enough to stay in the race but is he going to stay in to win or to gain a national stage for his Libertarian philosophy? I think everyone with an ounce of sense knows it is the latter. He would do much better as a 3rd party candidate and would in the end probably help the GOP nominee by siphoning some of Obama’s more fiscally responsible but socially liberal supporters from the President. It pains me to say it but Dr. Paul – Get off the (GOP) stage.

Rick Perry is a car wreck on the side of the highway. It is very difficult to watch but you can’t help yourself from wanting to take a peek. Gaffe after gaffe has made him the poster boy for SNL skits. Couple that with a very poor decision to pick a fight with Mitt Romney in which he got his rear end handed to him and you have a flash in the pan campaign that started like it was shot out of a cannon and then exploded before it made impact with anything. debates are not Perry’s strong suit. Unfortunately for him there are a bunch of them. Another Fox News gig in the wings? He does have great hair. Governor, Get off the stage.

Hopefully these candidates will see the light after Iowa and bow out gracefully. They have nothing but a prayer of winning the GOP nomination and if they truly wan to show fiscal responsibility will quit wasting their donors money trying to do so. There will probably be a couple that remain in until the coffers run empty simply for self promotion and grandeur, but that’s what we get for scheduling this many debates.

Bookmark and Share

Foreign Policy Reveals Different Strengths

Whether or not you think the GOP has a strong field, one thing is for sure.  Any of these candidates would be better than Obama when it comes to foreign policy.  That came across clearly from more moderate voices like Jon Huntsman in addition to the two front runners.  Overall it was a great performance by all the candidates.  The contrast between the GOP field, including Ron Paul, and Barack Obama was clear.  So, here are the winners and losers:

Mitt Romney won the debate because of his smooth ability to introduce ambiguity on some issues to give all Conservatives a cushion of comfort.  See Newt’s performance below.  Mitt also took on Ron Paul and I think Mitt won that debate.  It seems pretty clear that Al Qaida terrorists and Timothy McVeigh do not represent the same sort of threat.  In fact, I would argue that lumping McVeigh, a disgruntled anti-American government citizen attacking the system, in with the 9/11 hijackers, foreign terrorists attacking and targeting United States civilians, is a very dangerous way of looking at foreign and domestic terrorism.  I sure hope we would treat a foreign terrorist crossing our border illegally differently than a citizen radical trying to build a bomb in their basement because the IRS just sent them another tax notice.

Jon Huntsman demonstrated his firm control of foreign policy issues.  I think he overcame some fears when he affirmed our strong relationship with Israel.  Huntsman also expressed sentiments on Afghanistan that have been felt by many Conservatives who were mislabeled as “neo-cons” over the last decade.  Many Conservatives supported both wars, but do not support something for nothing nation building in nations that don’t respect us and don’t appreciate the sacrifices we have made.  Huntsman turned again and again to the economy and the failures of Obama and Congress to solve the problem.  Huntsman’s point on how we leave North Korea alone because they have a nuke, but invaded Libya after they gave up their nuclear ambitions is a great diagnosis of the inconsistency in America’s position towards nuclear ambitious countries.

Newt had a great, issue free performance.  Here is the problem.  Newt comes across hawkish, and he is far too honest.  In the end, Mitt agreed with him on long-time illegal immigrants, but Mitt said it in such a way that will be taken better by anti-illegal alien Conservatives.  Newt also hurt himself by endorsing and calling for an expansion of the Patriot act.  This could help guarantee that Ron Paulites stay home and let Obama get re-elected in 2012.  What Newt should have said was that he supported the Patriot Act, but recommends examining it for things that could be eliminated or added.  I think Newt is too straight forward on a subject that honestly Americans would prefer some ambiguity on.  Same with covert operations.  His answer regarding opening our oil resources is not new, but continues to be a very strong point for him.

Ron Paul continued to solidify his base and add some fringe Conservatives who are weary enough of the wars to want to radically change America’s relationship with the world.  For these people, Paul’s angry old man persona, scoffing and reacting to opponents’ answers, and idea that if we leave terrorists alone, they will realize the error of their ways and leave us alone, will not affect his support.  Still, Paul would make a better foreign policy President than Obama.  At least his disengagement would be total, not mixed with war hawkishness like Obama’s.

Rick Perry’s substance earned him a higher spot after this debate.  I still think his idea of zero based budgeting for foreign aid resonates with Americans.  His refusal to dabble in hypotheticals about illegals who have been here more than a quarter century is going to help him as people weed out Romney and Gingrich’s immigration comments and discover the softness there.

Herman Cain did well not to hurt himself in this debate.  He has come across as unknowledgeable on foreign policy.  In this debate he showed he has a recognizable set of foreign policy principles, although he kept things pretty vague.  He didn’t hurt himself and that is a victory for him on foreign policy.

Rick Santorum comes across as a neo-con.   This debate didn’t really change that, and only a change in that perception would cause his status to change as a result of this debate.  No mistakes, but also no movement for him after this debate.  He continues to maintain that we should be paying Pakistan for friendship.

Michele Bachmann is either a career politician or has issues with comprehension.  On multiple occasions she seemed to not be able to grasp her opponent’s position.  A glaring example was when she interpreted Newt’s soft approach to long-time established illegals as some sort of call for general amnesty to 11 million illegal aliens.  She played the same role in Rick Perry’s demise, but now it seems more like a desperate cry for relevance.  Rising and falling as the Social Conservative choice at this point will require superiority on the issues, not loud misunderstanding of opponents, even though that usually produces success with the general electorate.

No matter who the nominee is, what is clear from last night is that we cannot afford four more years of Obama’s foreign policy.

Gingrich Wins at Cain Event

Slated by organizers as the beginning of the Northeast Florida political campaign season, Stand Up for America was an event in Jacksonville Friday night featuring semi-local radio personality Neil Boortz, Karl Rove, Jacksonville political news blogger and reporter Jaime Dupree, and featured a special guest appearance by Herman Cain.

Cain got the audience going at the well attended event with a 20 minute speech on taxes, spending and foreign policy.  But the big winner of the night was Newt Gingrich who won the straw poll at the beginning of the night.  The day before, Newt gathered a crowd of a couple hundred in downtown Jacksonville for a townhall meeting sponsored by the First Coast Tea Party, one of the largest individual TEA party organizations in the United States.

Thanksgiving Family Forum Review

The GOP candidates faced something Saturday night that they haven’t seen in a long time, a friendly moderator.  In a round table discussion without buzzers, all but one of today’s contenders shared personal stories, tears, and their faith.  It was a very personalizing debate where Americans got to see these candidates discuss the issues facing family values voters.  So here is the official review:

Newt Gingrich opened up and shared a real personal side of himself with the audience.  He personalized the healthcare debate in a way that would make pro-Obamacare liberals rethink centralized health planning.  He also was the most genuine in sharing his failures with the crowd.  His failure and the resolution of turning his life around through God’s help is exactly what resonates with this crowd. He presented solutions on judicial activism without betraying a sort of militant anti-homosexuality that will be a turnoff to some states rights conservatives who shy away from a marriage amendment, but in a way that should satisfy pro-amendment conservatives who see the courts stampeding over states rights on marriage.

Rick Santorum had a chance to connect with audiences and take enough time to overcome some of the perception of irrelevance that comes with mainstream media consumer based debates.  This will help him especially in Iowa where social conservatives are searching to an anti-Romney with a clean record.  Santorum helped his changes in Iowa, although even if he wins in Iowa he will probably not take any other states.

Herman Cain played to his strength: being real.  Although there are questions about Cain’s foreign policy know how and tax plan, one thing that has made him endearing to Republicans is his realness and his ability to connect on that personal level.  He may have harmed himself though when as a failure he pointed out that he spent too much time working to the top of the corporate ladder and not enough time with his family.  That is a regret that will not resonate with most Americans, and for those who it does it will not be seen as a good thing.

Michele Bachmann did well, but was once again forgettable.  Her answer on schools was good by itself, but was a shadow of answers given by other candidates.  She must find a way to distinguish herself if she hopes to be relevant again.  Perry tried to make himself relevant, but his tax plan was trumped by Gingrich’s flat tax.  Santorum has not been able to make himself relevant again.  Bachmann’s best shot recently at making herself relevant has been apparent support for a $10 surtax on all Americans to make sure everyone is paying something in.  That is not a defining plan that will rocket her back to relevance.

Ron Paul was able to be personal and share his faith, which is important for him among social conservatives.  However, it may also be damaging among libertarian voters.  Paul showed support for DOMA, which will hurt him with libertarians.  His advocacy for moving issues like gay marriage to the church and family are admirable, but naive like his foreign policy.  Paul does not seem to understand the militancy of some liberal homosexual groups.  Paul also hurt himself with his greatest failure, suffering sports injuries that kept him from playing football in highschool.  Honestly, if someone told me that in a job interview I would probably only continue the interview out of politeness.

Rick Perry had a typical bumbling debate performance.  At one point he said “We’ve all heard that saying…” and I was afraid he might forget what it was.  When he talked about his greatest failure, I think he was saying he impregnated his wife (possibly not his wife at the time?) and had to drop out of veterinarian school.  Overall, unimpressive.

The biggest loser was Mitt Romney.  Mitt will not win this election with just the establishment and fiscal conservatives.  This was a must attend debate if he hopes to win over any social conservatives of family values voters.  Then again, if Mitt could not stand toe to toe with these candidates on family values, perhaps it is best that he didn’t show up.

Other no shows, Gary Johnson, Fred Kargar, Buddy Roemer, and Jon Huntsman.  Let’s be honest, who cares.

%d bloggers like this: