Posts Tagged ‘Cain’
November 7th, 2011 at 10:11 pm
Cain Agonistes

Bill Bennett today offers what for him are prototypically thoughtful comments on the increasingly sad allegations against Herman Cain. The gist of his comments is that the growing number of allegations against Cain show that this isn’t just a “high-tech lynching,” and that Cain’s handling of it, by making utterly baseless allegations against the Perry campaign, is very disturbing:

I have watched long enough and held my tongue long enough to give him the benefit of the doubt, but can no longer say this is a witch hunt, “a lynching” to use his word, or any other euphemism. There are allegations out there that matter and they have stacked up. For we who led the charge against Bill Clinton on a number of related issues to continue to blame the media or other campaigns or say it simply doesn’t matter makes us the hypocrites as well.

To that, I add this thought: If these allegations against Cain are UNtrue, then this is one of the vilest episodes in American political history. The lady’s allegation today is so graphic that if it is a lie, it is absolutely sickening. What really puzzles me is that if these allegations ARE true, I don’t see how Herman Cain could possibly have thought he could run for president and not have these stories come out. I mean, I can sort of see Cain thinking that two vague allegations of the “you are the same height as my wife” sort would not be any reason at all to keep him from the presidency. But if he is a serial lout whose loutishness includes two official allegations of harassment of anywhere near the sort as the non-harassment loutishness described today, it makes NO sense for him to put himself in the public eye. He HAD to know these things would come out.

Oddly enough, today’s allegation of under-skirt exploration makes me more inclined, or at least WANT to be inclined, to believe Cain. This is probably a perverse psychological reaction from me: I just can’t bear the thought of somebody who seemed so admirable turn out instead to be not just a borderline serial harasser, but a serial serious harasser and groper.

Is it just me, or is today’s allegation just too “over the top” to be believable?

UPDATE: To be clear, I am not saying that I found Ms. Bialek personally to be not believable. She did not come across as a liar. I am just saying that I don’t want to believe both that Cain would have been such a serial lout and that he would run for president if he had been like that. In short, in a vacuum, on paper, its just hard to believe today’s accusation. Watching and listening to Ms. Bialek is NOT, however, a vacuum. She did not acquit herself badly.

October 25th, 2011 at 11:38 am
Still Room for an Entrant Into The GOP Field

I’ll admit it: Early this year, if Mike Pence had decided to run for president, I would have been “all in” for him. Here, Bill Kristol suggests that Pence is one who still should consider changing his “no go” decision. (Oh, what a nice thought!) The larger point that Kristol makes, a point that is right on target, is that there is absolutely no reason why the current shape of the race must remain in place. The vast majority of GOP voters are not yet even remotely committed to any particular candidate. In that light, my column today at The American Spectator names yet another person who party big-wigs ought to try to recruit: Bobby Jindal, who just won re-election as Louisiana governor in a landslide. As you’ll see in my column, Jim Geraghty also has a big Jindal feature in the latest issue of National Review.

To be clear, I’m not saying Jindal would get my vote even if he ran. I might still vote for Rick Santorum. I still see the appeal of Herman Cain.  Whatever. But that’s the point: I’m like more than 80 percent of Republican voters: I’m still able to be swayed.  So, dear reader, are you, almost assuredly. At Real Clear Politics, Scott Conroy says we shouldn’t be fooled, for instance, by Santorum’s low polling numbers, because his organization in Iowa is remarkably strong. I agree.

Right now it appears, for instance, that if either Herman Cain’s outlandish lack of a clue on foreign and defense policy or his weak campaign organization catches up with him and he starts to sink, the next conservative poised to make a challenge is Newt Gingrich, who was given up for dead almost as soon as he entered the race with a thud in the spring. Who woulda thunk that Gingrich could rehabilitate himself? (Who woulda thunk Republican voters would look past Gingrich’s sordid past, his implosion as Speaker based on his arrogance and mercurial nature, his habit of saying nasty things about conservatives, his huge negatives among independent voters, his pathetic pandering on ethanol and on global warming nonsense in general, his habit of sticking his foot in his mouth, or any of his other manifold weaknesses?) But if Gingrich can rise from the political dead all the way to third in the polls, why can’t Santorum catch the next wave? Or why can’t a Jindal jump in with just the right finesse and surge like Cain did, and like Perry and Bachmann did before Cain?

This race remains wide open, folks. Keeping it wide open is a good thing, not a bad one, because it allows more relevant information to surface and tests the candidates more strenuously, making the eventual nominee far more hardened and ready for whatever Barack Obama’s minions can throw at him.

October 7th, 2011 at 12:31 pm
Assessment of the GOP Race (Short Version)

The GOP presidential nomination campaign is a highly volatile thing, with one exception: No matter what happens, Mitt Romney coasts along in the high teens or low 20s, unmoved in the polls by all the other sturm und drang.Right now it is Herman Cain who, like a super ball, is bouncing extremely high — just as Rick Perry did before him, just as Michelle Bachmann did before that, and just as Cain himself did (to a slightly lesser extent) in the Spring. Of the others in the field, Ron Paul will keep his 10-12 percent of support no matter what, but will never exceed that, and thus has no prayer. Also prayerless are Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, almost certainly Bachmann (who has fallen almost off the map), and others like Buddy Roemer and Fred Karger.

Does that mean it is now a three-way race between Cain, Perry, and Romney? No.

Romney and Perry both have the money and clout to stay in all the way. Cain has mojo going for him, along with a winning personality, but his campaign organization is an absolute mess and he also is finally about to get vetted, for real, for the first time. He may or may not have staying power.

Meanwhile, three others still have a shot. Person one is MYSTERY MAN, meaning a still-possible, as-yet-unknown, entrant into the field. If Cain falls as fast as Bachmann did (not likely, but possible) and if Perry still hobbles along without regaining his polling momentum, there is still room for somebody with a certain profile to enter the race and catch fire. It would need to be somebody already well known or somebody unique. The three who come to mind are, 1) despite his protestations, Jeb Bush; 2) Rudy Giuliani; and 3) Bobby Jindal, once he wins re-election as Louisiana governor on Oct. 22 with about 83 percent of the vote. The latter would need to find a way to gingerly extricate himself from his endorsement of Perry, but he’s clever enough to do it if he wants.

Person two, surprisingly, is Newt Gingrich, who has been slowly and steadily gaining polling strength, returning from the absolute dregs into which he had cast himself with his ill-considered slam of Paul Ryan’s budget followed by sheer mendacity, and then cussedness, about what he had said. Would Republicans really be foolish enough to rally around a man he repeatedly through the years has bashed conservatives in harsh terms, who few people with whom he served in Congress trust entirely, who can be abrasive as heck, who has led the GOP into deep unpopularity in the past, and who has a sordid personal history? Well, some people long have called Republicans “the stupid party.” Gingrich has reinvented himself as everybody’s favorite uncle in the field, and attention spans are so short that a few good debate performances (see: Herman Cain) can make people go gaga no matter what a candidate’s history is.

Longshot-but-still-possible person three is Rick Santorum. Why? Hasn’t he consistently ranked well down in the polling single digits? Yes. But he also is the only one who has performed well in almost every debate. He also is the only one who has outperformed expectations in both major straw polls so far, beating Cain, Perry, Romney and Gingrich in Iowa (finishing fourth overall) and beating Paul, Gingrich and Bachmann in Florida (again finishing fourth overall, with a decent 11 percent of the vote).  And he has a history, on election day, of outperforming expectations. He won in major upsets his races in 1990, 1994, and 2000, and beat another incumbent when redistricted into a district with a Democratic congressman in 1992.

So, the question is, who, if anybody else, can catch fire? Whether Cain stays high, or whether Gingrich, Santorum or Jindal emerges, the main challenger(s) will need to contend with the steady Romney regardless. Stay tuned for more twists and turns.