Despite the speculation of Fox News (“he has a proven record of managing the kinds of fiscal problems that beset our nation”), the Washington Post (“a Daniels candidacy probably would be taken as a sign that the games are over for the Republican Party, that it is time to buckle down and organize to beat President Obama”), and others — not to mention CNN’s Erick Erickson‘s declaration that “according to my sources, Mitch Daniels will announce he is running for President” — the governor of Indiana copped out of the 2012 race this weekend, citing the disapproval of his wife and children.
Maybe Daniels took that conk on his head by a door at the gym as a warning. It has also been suggested that Daniels’ marital history — his wife left him, married someone else, then came back to him — was a factor.
That’s all water under the bridge now. Rightbloggers rushed to give their support to pizza magnate Herman Cain, or whatever non-candidate might emerge to rescue them from him. Daniels’ homeboy Hoosierpundit seemed to blame the call on Mrs. Daniels — “All it takes for bad men to triumph is for good men to do nothing. And good women to not let good men do anything” — as did American Truth Machine, who headlined, “My Man Mitch Held Back By His Bitch.”
POWIP, who said he admired Daniels’ “Coolidge-like” attainments as governor, felt similarly. “So I’m getting the feeling that ‘Mitch the Knife’s’ wife won’t let him come out to play,” he grumbled, “because she doesn’t want to have to answer for, or explain, her embarrasing fling; nor does she want to have Mitch face the continuous questioning on the matter. Because, really, her comfort and pride is more important than the fix our nation is in… this really seems that it’s all because his wife doesn’t want to have to dance to the tune she punched into the juke-box-so to speak…”
Come on, fellas — Daniels defunded Planned Parenthood; surely he’s done his part for the He-Man Women Haters Club.
Pundit & Pundette were slightly more sympathetic: “FOX News cites the Daniels’ ‘unusual marital history,’ which was sure to attract lots of negative attention from the dumpster-diving liberal media…” “Given the public spectacle that erupted this week when Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger announced hat they had separated,” said JAMES 4 America, “…one has to wonder if Cheri Daniels, as well as their daughters, were simply not up to the public lashing that would be in store for Mrs. Daniels.” Ah, the media — is there anything that isn’t their fault?
A few of the brethren were disappointed by Daniels’ withdrawal on electability grounds. “The one man who seemed to have the world beating a path to his door,” lamented Jazz Shaw at Hot Air, “offering to largely pay his tab for fundraising, some essentially begging him to toss his hat in the ring, was the one guy who honestly didn’t want to do it and had good reasons to decline.”
But in the main, rightbloggers were pleased Daniels was gone, largely because Daniels had invited Republicans to join a “truce” on social issues so they could hammer Democrats on the economy, which they considered unspeakable apostasy.
“Daniels’ trucer talk turned me off of him months ago,” said Planet Freedom. “The Obama Lapdog Media and Country-club Republican establishment is weeping,” crowed Marooned in Marin. “Speaking of defensive… the man lost a fight with a door,” said Ann Althouse.
“Guess the Bush and Rove wing of the Republican Party — who’ve been practically begging Daniels to run — is heartsick,” scoffed The Conservative Diva. “Since I Want Smaller Government, Mitch Daniels Won’t Be Missed,” agreed International Liberty. “This spares the republicans another candidate of the Dole/Bush/McCain Liberal model,” applauded The Blogomocracy.
Daniels’ departure got some rightbloggers reaching for their wish-lists of Republicans who have not expressed a desire to run for President in 2012.
“Mitch Daniels’ announcement that he’s not running for president means Republicans may turn up the pressure on dream candidates like Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan and Chris Christie,” said the Daily Caller. “All eyes will be on Sarah Palin,” said Conservative Samizdat.
“Expect the pressure on Rep. Paul Ryan and Gov. Christie to increase dramatically,” said Left Coast Rebel. “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is being heavily courted, as well as Jeb Bush,” reacted Right Pundits. “Stay tuned as the Bush donors scramble to find someone to draft to be the anti-Romney candidate,” said Flap’s Blog. “My best guess is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.”
This weekend Ryan had to remind everyone that he wasn’t running. Christie, who has forcefully denied an interest in the Presidency, last week went so far as to express a lack of interest in the Vice-Presidency. (And no wonder.)
But why are these folks looking for outside help, anyway, when the next President of the United States, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, just declared that he’s running?
“There is more to the Cain Train than most know,” reported American Thinker’s C. Edmund Wright on Cain’s announcement. “…the impressive size and staggering energy of the 15 thousand folks at Olympic Centennial Park gave the rally the feel of a winning movement.”
“So on a 90 degree Saturday in Hotlanta, Herman Cain [in his announcement] drew 10,000 – 15,000 supporters,” said Left Coast Rebel. “I’d say that’s not bad for a ‘long shot’ presidential candidate… How big have your crowds been lately, Mitt?”
LCR also posted pictures of Obama and Cain in their college years — Obama stylin’ with a cigarette and Panama hat, Cain looking like Raj from “What’s Happening!!” — and explained, “One was studying mathematics and computer science, the other was studying Marxism and benzoylmethylecgonine [cocaine]. If they had been in the same class, who do you suppose would have been voted most likely to succeed?” LCR also complained about “what a shady, metrosexual pot head we managed to let into the White House in ’08.”
Dan Spencer at RedState had the numbers: “Gallup reports that of all the announced and potential Republican candidates Gallup tracks that have name recognition below 50%, only Cain creates strong enthusiasm among those who recognize him.” Herman Cain leads among unknowns!
And ya better recognize, because Cain is getting traction at the Fox News site, where Martin Sieff asked, “Could Herman Cain Be the Next President Ronald Reagan?” To return to the Magic 8-Ball: Signs point to yes! For example: “Only Cain of the current crop of actual or potential presidential candidates has already produced a withering phrase that wilts his rivals and turns them pale,” Sieff wrote. “‘How’d That Work Out for Ya?’ has already become a potent national watchword comparable to ‘Tear down this wall!’ or, more recently ‘It’s the economy, stupid.'” Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations was not available for comment.
“He’s had nonbelievers and businessmen alike leaping to their feet shouting ‘Amen!'” reported Mark McKinnon at the Daily Beast. “My instinct says go… Honesty alone is enough. I don’t want a playa,” said Wake Up America. (Playa?) “How is it that sparks don’t fly from this man’s crotch when we walks, given the chrome steel alloy he’s been gifted with down there?” we-swear-to-God said Confessions of a Constitutional Crusader.
“The Hermanator’s our man,” declared I Hate The Media. “At least until Marco Rubio or Allen West or Chris Christie decide to run. Then we have a tough decision to make.” Don’t worry, guys.
“Barbour quit, Trump quit, Huckabee quit and now Daniels quits, while Herman Cain — the man who all the pundits say can’t win — just keeps going and going,” said Robert Stacy McCain. “So what if Cain has never held an elected office?” asked Stand Up Patriots. “We don’t want more Career Politicians any way, we’ve had enough of them! The tea party loves him too and he may be their favorite choice for president.”
“A long shot? Definitely,” said Proof Positive. “But then, what was Barack Obama against the inevitability of a Hillary Clinton candidacy?” In addition to being black, Obama was a U.S. Senator, just like Clinton, whereas Cain has never held elective office. But Bizzy Blog cautions us against making the malicious mistake AP made when it “limited its description of Cain’s [experience] as CEO of Godfather’s Pizza” — Cain also “served as board member and Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City,” they reminded us, and as “head of the National Restaurant Association.” Tested and ready!
The candidate’s been speaking out, too. At his own website, Cain defended his non-answer on Afghanistan in a recent Republican debate (“Is there a path to victory?… there is obviously a lot of classified information to which I do not have access”), and was defended in turn by Datechguy: “…by ceding this ground he takes a risk but also shows political courage. It takes a person very comfortable in their own skin to be able to admit ignorance on a subject,” he said.
When it came to Israel and the Palestinians, however, Cain suddenly needed no classified information to denounce Obama (“You mess with Israel, you mess with the U.S.”), which further endeared him to the brethren. “Cain takes Barack Obama to the woodshed for his arrogant disregard of the will of the American people and their overwhelming support for the state of Israel,” declared Bare Naked Islam. “On Fox News Sunday, the Georgian [Cain] said if he was president, he’d offer the Palestians ‘nothing,'” said Marathon Pundit. “Not only that, he declared it defiantly.” Cain may not know what the Right of Return is, but he knows what rightbloggers like.
Not everyone was on the Cain Train. National Review‘s Jonah Goldberg said he saw Cain’s “clearly flummoxed response on the Palestinian ‘right of return'” and was “underwhelmed.” The Cain Train came chugging after him. “Herman Cain supporters are emailing me asking me to give him a ‘fair chance.’ I am at a loss as to how I’m not,” sputtered Goldberg in an update. “When did I say he should be tossed overboard based on this one interview?”
Clearly it’s not only the Lame Stream Media, at least as currently defined, that needs to fear Cainmentum. “We are reminded of the situation when Charles Gibson ambushed a freshly-minted GOP vice presidential candidate,” said Texas for Sarah Palin, referring to You Know Who. “As Palin supporters, we have been there and seen that.” Unfortunately, Cain currently holds no office that he can quit to become a commentator for Fox News.
Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer dismissed Cain’s candidacy as “entertainment.” Hot Air’s Allahpundit protested: “I’m not nearly as sure as Kraut is that this is true.” (Kraut?) “If Palin surprises everyone by staying out, Iowa will be wide open for a ‘true conservative’ to emerge.” “I think the Tea Party may have something to say about that,” threatened Gateway Pundit. “Personally, I do not think true conservatism is entertainment,” said Conservative Thinker. Well, to each his own.
Why are rightbloggers taking Cain seriously? Citizens 4 Cain‘s “5 Reasons Not to Discount Herman Cain” gave a clue: There’s “4. He has ties with the tea party movement and Evangelicals” — among declared candidates, his only competition here is Tim Pawlenty, and nobody believes he’ll ever be President. And there’s “5. He’s a true outsider” — indisputable.
But to rightbloggers, the most relevant of C4C’s qualifications has to be “3. He is not a flip-flopper… Cain has not supported any positions now considered heretical to the GOP base, like climate-change legislation (like Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Jon Huntsman) or like an individual mandate to health care (like Romney and Newt Gingrich).”
And there it is. Since no one’s ever taken him seriously as a candidate, Cain has never had an opportunity to disappoint rightbloggers by appealing to a base beyond themselves. He’s a Presidential purity candidate, like Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel before him. The most charitable interpretation of their grand claims for Cain’s chance of nomination is, that’s how politics works — you go all in for your favorite son and, when he fails, you get with the nominee and go all in for the big win. History shows rightbloggers were once at least somewhat capable of this. The question is, four years and oceans of bad blood later, whether they could get behind someone like, say, Mitt Romney. (As the Magic 8-Ball might say: Reply hazy; try again).