This blog's Herman Cain-free status

By Jonathan Bradley in Sydney, Australia

20 October 2011

I realised some time earlier this week that a decision I'd made with this blog that once seemed entirely reasonable was beginning to look like an odd blind spot. That decision? Herman Cain wasn't worth talking about.

Over the past few weeks, Cain, a GOP presidential candidate and the former CEO of the Godfather's Pizza chain, has garnered substantial Republican support. RealClearPolitics's polling aggregator has him basically tied with frontrunner Mitt Romney and 12 points ahead of recent frontrunner Rick Perry. Don't think that's going to change my Cain policy though.

Herman Cain has experienced a recent boost in the polls due to the large section of the Republican Party that is uncomfortable with making Romney its 2012 nominee. That doesn't mean he's a serious contender, however. Cain has never held elected office, is blithely uninformed on basic issues, and has just one policy to his name: a nutty tax reform plan he calls "9-9-9" that would raise the taxes of most Americans to cut those of the wealthiest.

Like Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich before him, Herman Cain is a joke candidate. He won't be the nominee and he won't be president. The best proof of that? Check out the above video, from the Omaha World-Herald, which features a much younger Cain performing a parody of the John Lennon song "Imagine," with new lyrics about the greatness of pizza. Opening verse: "Imagine there's no pizza/I couldn't if I tried/Eating only tacos/Or Kentucky Fried."

This would be a light-hearted diversion for a candidate with serious ideas, but there isn't anything more to Cain than this sort of craziness. The guy's a goofball. A pleasant and charming one, sure, but he's still a goofball.

Anything else you need to know about him, you can get from John Barron's great column at American Review this week:

Like 2008's conservative "little candidate that could" Mike Huckabee, Cain seems too in danger of peaking early and running out of money to be competitive in big delegate-rich states deep into the primaries when costly advertising on TV becomes decisive. The again unsettled and compressed primary calendar will only add to his difficulties.

But Herman Cain doesn't seem to be that fussed; in fact he's spending more time promoting his new best-selling book This Is Herman Cain! in populous but politically unimportant states than pressing the flesh in Iowa City and Manchester.

Jonathan Bernstein has some insight into how such a candidacy happens:

While each election year field is subject to its own particular constraints and quirks of history, today’s wacky Republican field is also the undeniable product of two long-brewing trends within the party. First, GOP elites have become ruthlessly efficient at winnowing the field of serious contenders. At the same time, however, the growth of the market for conservative books, television shows, and speaking engagements has made a presidential run a good brand-builder for those not seriously seeking to be president but eager to exploit that market.

Maybe Christine O'Donnell should have also considered a run? She'd have no better chance at the nomination than Cain, but it might have helped her sell some books.

Tags: American Review, Christine Odonnell, Election 2012, Herman Cain, Republican Party, Republican Primary 2012

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