Skip to comments.Can Cain Keep Flouting the Cardinal Rules of Politics?
Posted on 11/07/2011 5:27:10 AM PST by Kaslin
Herman Cain, beleaguered by charges of sexual harassment, was all over Washington last week -- an odd choice of venue, considering that the Iowa precinct caucuses are now just 58 days away and the New Hampshire primary 65.
But as I learned when I sat next to Cain Friday morning during a long-scheduled taping of Richard Carlson's "Danger Zone" radio program, Cain seemed unfazed.
In conversation before the taping he dismissed the controversy. "No documentation. No witnesses. And I didn't cancel a single event this week" -- although his wife Gloria, accompanying him for the first time, cancelled an interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren.
Political scientist Jay Cost, in a midweek post on the Weekly Standard blog, indicted Cain and all the other Republican candidates except Mitt Romney for breaking the rules of "the great game of politics."
"Yes, the political game as it is played in 2011 is terrible and is in need for major reforms," he wrote. "But if you want to win, you need somebody who knows how to play it."
Cain isn't buying that. He brags that he is an "unconventional candidate" with an "unconventional campaign" and an "unconventional message that is resonating around the country."
I tend to think the old rules still apply. But Cain's current lead in the polls, maintained after the sexual harassment story broke last Sunday in Politico, suggests there may be something to his argument.
One rule Cain has broken is that candidates have to spend a lot of time in Iowa and New Hampshire, making personal contact with voters who, legend has it, won't support a candidate till they've had a chance to talk to him three or four times.
Cain hasn't spent much time in the two first-in-the-nation states this year. When I went to his headquarters outside Des Moines three days before the straw poll, the door was locked and the place looked empty.
Cain says he spent time there last year, and in 2011 he's been communicating with voters nationally through new media on his trips to states with later primaries.
There may be something to that. This year, voters have been getting to know potential and actual candidates through cable news and YouTube videos.
YouTube videos made New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie a national celebrity and created a boomlet for his candidacy. He declined to run, but I can't recall a similar groundswell for a governor of a mid-sized state.
The cable news debates have attracted far larger audiences, probably heavily tilted to actual caucus-goers and primary voters, than debates in previous cycles, and the candidates' performances have had an impact on voters (ask Rick Perry).
Another old rule is that a whiff of scandal sinks a candidacy. But 79 percent of Republicans in this week's ABC/Washington Post poll say that they don't care about the charges against Cain. On talk radio and in the right blogosphere, many dismiss the charges as an unfair attack by liberal media.
Over the past week, Cain has serially violated the old rule that you must respond to scandal charges definitively and consistently. In one of his Fox News appearances, he acknowledged cheerfully that he was "unprepared" for the charges, though his campaign had 10 days' notice of them.
This has astounded conservative bloggers like Commentary's Pete Wehner ("unbelievably amateurish campaign") and The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin ("Cain seems intent on making the controversy worse").
I suspect Rubin is right when she says that Cain's strength in polls last week does not represent voters' final verdict on him. And his inconsistent stands on issues like abortion and ignorance that China already has nuclear weapons may still hurt him.
But Cain's stance as a non-politician who refuses to obey the rules of the great game of politics is at least momentarily a political asset in a year when opinion about conventional politicians of both parties is near an all-time low.
This cycle feels like 1992, when Ross Perot zoomed ahead of George Bush and Bill Clinton in the polls and, despite leaving and re-entering the race in bizarre fashion, won 19 percent of the vote in November.
I'm still inclined to think Cain's support will evaporate sooner or later. But for a moment Friday, the thought occurred to me that I was sitting next to a future president of the United States.
born December 13, 1945 in Memphis, TN (Meets the Jus Soli Requirement)
Luther Cain Jr., born March 16, 1925 in TN, died March 29, 1982 in Atlanta, GA
Lenora Davis, born July 27, 1925 in GA, died August 20, 2005 in Atlanta, GA
Both parents were US Citizens at the time of his birth (Meets the Jus Sanguinis Requirement)
Herman Cain is a NATURAL BORN CITIZEN
Barry Soetoro aka Barack Hussein Obama ISN'T!
Click on the cane, (Go Cain.)
Michael Barone, the racist for Romney,
attacks Mr. Cain this week with the lie that
there were “charges”.
There were allegations made by Romney’s “go to” guy, Martin.
Have these “people”, no shame?
“Can Cain Keep Flouting the Cardinal Rules of Politics?”
Sounds like the author assumes that “O” NEVER did!
Michael Barone sat next to the future President Of The United States.
A great deal of Cain’s appeal has to do with the fact he doesn’t represent traditional political rules and cheerfully keeps on breaking them.
If anything, its added to his support that people don’t perceive him to be a conventional politician. People are sick of the ones in both parties who don’t seem to have anything real to them.
They’re like manufactured and their politics are as phony as their personas.
Cain is different and I disagree with Barone his support is going to evaporate. People want something different and they’ll be damned if the establishment force-feeds more of the same that to them represents all that is wrong with the Washington establishment.
..to even mention Ross Perot in this article tells me that Barone just doesn’t get it. Political knowledge notwithstanding, he cannot differentiate between a legitimate grassroots candidate and an eccentric demagogue...
Regarding the harassment scandal: I followed it pretty closely here on Thursday and Friday, and when I made my 1 hour drive home Friday night I listened to NPR. The story they covered was completely different than what I was following. It was like I was in a parallel universe. They didn’t discuss the facts of the case (Cain not being on staff when one case was finally negotiated, or anything like that. They discussed his “flip flopping” as if he came out with a different story every couple of hours (which is bs) and how people are responding to the story, again ignoring the pro-Cain response other than to suggest that his “staunch” supporters still support him.
If all we had to depend on was the MSM these days, Cain would be delegated to just below Ron Paul in credibility. Cain truly is a candidate for an internet world. And it’s working for him.
—And his inconsistent stands on issues like abortion and ignorance that China already has nuclear weapons may still hurt him. —
BS. Both issues resulted from out-of-context quotes, chosen to heighten ambiguity as to meaning. They are trying to do a “Palin” with those.
Cain is breaking all the “rules” and that is exactly what is giving him momentum. It’s also what is frustrating all the political elites who think they know everything. They don’t get that we are tired of what they think, and tired of what they believe works. The American people, right now anyway, are not willing to be spoon fed their BS anymore.
Not only must Cain KEEP breaking the rules, but we the American People need to create NEW rules. This IS the people’s game not the media’s and not those so called political experts. Whether Cain gets the nomination or not the key issue for us is that we don’t let the establishment tell us what we need, and we send a clear message to Washington that we the people are STILL in charge.
The media stays silent on ALL the issues surrounding our President, but these candidates pick their nose in public and we get a scandal about it! Let’s put them out of business...stop all paper and magazine subscribtions...and if you have done it already start getting others to do the same. We don’t need them anymore!
Ross Perot ran as a third party candidate and it seemed to me he always had a screw loose. His bizarre behavior didn’t help and in the end I voted for Clinton. That was the first and last time in my adult life I voted for a Democratic candidate for President.
I believe it’s this difference that carried him through the past couple weeks. People are sick of Washington and the politicians that populate it, or are attracted by it. Anyone carrying the label “career politician” this election is suspect. That’s Cain’s main attraction beyond his personal appeal.
Cardinal Rules of Politics
Does anyone know where I can get a copy? /sarc
I find it fascinating the “media” — in this case, including Fox News, terms the accusations against Cain a “scandal.”
Yet, the Solyndra and “Fast and Furious” issues don’t even meet the definition of “controversy.”
They’ve tried one of their old tricks... throwing up mud and seeing if it sticks and it hasn’t worked. In the old days, the MSM could sink any one it disliked. People are far wiser to their bias and their games now.
Obama’s campaign strategy up to the presidency can be summarized as “get your opponent eliminated and run unopposed”.
From what I understand, Cain sent journalists a copy of their own Journalists’ Code of Ethics this weekend as a response to their unethical and dishonest reporting over the last week.
Maybe the journalists should be more worried about following THEIR OWN RULES before they start worrying about Mr. Cain and the political rules!!!
Fox is really pushing Romney hard. saying he is only one capable of beating Zero
None if this — the allegations of inappropriate behavior, mistakes regarding China, his fearlessness in saying what he thinks, his unpolished demeanor — have hurt his campaign. So why should he change just because some expert thinks be should?
The more I see of Rev. Cain and the more I hear him speak, the more I like him. The more he is attacked, the more I like him. So let the pundits, the malcontents, the Romney supporters persecute him. People like an underdog. They just might vote him in out of spite.
The same old canard - ‘Cain's inconsistency vs. the media's repetitive lies.
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