04 December 2011

Terminus of the Cain Train

Atlanta originated from the settlement known as “Terminus” because that was the end of the line for the railroads to the south in the 1830s.  Hence it was fitting that Herman Cain terminated his campaign for the GOP Presidential nomination in Atlanta.

Do not be fooled by Cain’s announcement that he was “suspending” his campaign.  That is a fiction for the FEC which allows Cain to continue collecting campaign contributions to defray costs.  Cain claimed that his campaign was engaging “Plan B” to establish TheCainsolutions.com to continue to be a voice for the people to advocate for the 9-9-9 tax overhaul plan as well as American energy independence.

Cain’s Plan B was a graceful way to withdraw from the Presidential race, especially after making his supporters wait three hours for his announcement at the opening of his new Atlanta campaign headquarters.  Cain prided himself on not being a politician but a problem solver but it is dubious if Cain will still command the spotlight after he has exited the Presidential stage.

Although the unproven allegation of adultery on top of the sideshow of sexual harassment claims unquestionably precipitated Cain’s withdrawal from the nomination race, it was not the only reason the Hermanator was dropping in the polls.  Clumsy answers about abortion, foreign policy flubs and increased scrutiny over the ramifications of the 9-9-9 plan prompted Tea Party types to find another alternative to Gov. Mitt Romney.

Most of the coverage of the Presidential race revolves around feeding frenzies over scandals, highlighting high profile flubs and the horse race between candidates as measured by the polls.  Cain may have been scoring well in the polls during September and October, but he was not doing what political psephologists consider essential for winning the nomination.  While Cain was topping the polls, instead of capitalizing on his success by going to Iowa which was a must win for him, Cain kept his commitment to do a book signing in Memphis, Tennessee.  The Iowa Caucus not only requires lots of retail campaigning but also needs to have a strong ground gain herding potential supporters to show up to the Caucus on the evening of January 3rd.  In late September, Cain still had a skeletal staff of a half dozen workers in the Hawkeye state.

Cain may have been stunned at the support that he garnered in the run up to the nomination process. Perhaps Cain’s candidacy may have been started been more to promote the nascent Cain 9-9-9 policy while raising his personal profile rather to actually win the nomination.  Now he will be able to sell his book, promote his plan to radically redo tax policy and stop the scrutiny which threatened to tear his marriage apart.

Considering how quickly the Cain accusers disappeared after the Gloria Allred feeding frenzy fizzled, it is reasonable to consider the latest allegation as Ginger White’s lie.  But regardless of the merits of her claims, the meme had been successfully planted amongst casual political observers that “Where there is smoke, there is fire.”  This hardball political tactic may make a reappearance later in the election season.

On the one hand former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA 6th) has a messy personal life with two divorces with dicey circumstances. However, Gingrich approached the campaign as an open book, and so far ad hominem attacks on messy mores has been limited.  Whether this laissez-faire attitude with the electorate will continue when Obama surrogates on the media as well as in the media seriously start slinging mud remains to be seen.

On the other hand, Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) has a squeaky clean reputation.  In fact, Romney recently admitted to People magazine that he had once tried beer and a cigarette as a wayward teenager but never did it again.  Romney’s venial admission was much more believable than President Bill Clinton claiming that he smoked marijuana but never inhaled.  So politically stoning Romney as a reprobate probably won’t work but keying off of being a flip-flopper could have the same insidious effect that it had on the Democrats 2004 Presidential Nominee Senator John Kerry (D-MA).

Aside from offering the Cain solutions, Herman Cain may give an endorsement to some of the candidates remaining in the race.  While Cain was only polling 4% in Iowa when he effectively withdrew, that could make a difference to a second tier candidate like former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) or Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN 6th).  Cain could throw in with a perceived frontrunning like Gingrich and consider himself kingmaker and harbor hopes of the Veep-stakes.  Or Cain could curry favor with a campaign organization that was likely to help him pay off any campaign debts.

Irregardless of  how Cain capitalizes on his increased GOP statute after his run, expect to hear the Hermanator's booming voice during the Tampa convention and doing  his all to ensure that there is change at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

H/T Caglecartoons.com

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