Monday, December 5, 2011

The Lessons of Herman Cain

It really wasn’t a big surprise that Herman Cain suspended his campaign for president this weekend. (By “suspending” it as opposed to formally ending it, he avoids some legal issues with fund-raising and the FEC. Plus, he keeps a glimmer of hope alive for the Cain-bots.) It’s hard to believe that anyone truly thought that he would ever be the Republican nominee, and even if he was, that he had a serious chance at winning the election. We like to encourage these kind of quixotic campaigns for the entertainment, but we also know that when it comes back to reality, it isn’t going to happen.

The Very Serious People and pundits will all now say that there was an important lesson in the four months of Mr. Cain’s ride in the polls above 1%: that we should learn from his candor and his flaws and his loopy 9-9-9 tax plan and his utter lack of knowledge of foreign policy that a high school kid skimming Yahoo! news tweets would know better. There are candidates who may not be career politicians, but they can be a voice in the selection of our leader, and that is essence of the American dream.

Oh, come on; seriously? The GOP and their enablers inside the Beltway should really wonder if they have a grip on reality when someone like Herman Cain — even if only for a few weeks — was atop the leader board in the GOP primary while other candidates with a lot more experience and insight such as Jon Huntsman or Gary Johnson languished at the bottom. It was like Pauly Shore being in the lead for an Oscar while Kenneth Branaugh couldn’t get a notice. And if you were able to get Herman Cain to speak honestly about his real goals and why he went through all the trouble and exposure, he would probably confess that it was all about selling books and getting the attention that some people really crave. He was this year’s Sarah Palin… remember her? And people wonder why most people are cynical about politics and the turn-out for elections wouldn’t keep a mildly funny sit-com alive on the CW.

The Iowa caucuses are in less than a month. By then Mr. Cain will be little more than a memory on the 2011 highlight reel that runs on New Year’s Eve, and the party will be focused on the next wild and crazy one to run; I hear Donald Trump is thinking about getting back in. It’s always fun to think of what it would be like with a complete outlier in the White House, but the reality is that we all know deep down that we would be truly messed up if we thought for an instant that we would ever trust the nation and the world to someone who really didn’t want the job in the first place.

Footnote: An Atlanta TV station is reporting that Mr. Cain will endorse Newt Gingrich for president. Presumably that will sew up the adultery demographic for the GOP.