Last weekend former GOP pack leader and accused horndog Herman Cain finally called an end to his flailing Presidential campaign/book tour — or rather “suspended” it, allowing the enterprise to keep drawing money.
Some normally opinionated rightbloggers tip-toed away from the embarrassing subject, with non-committal “what do you think?” or just-the-facts posts. A few even said they were glad to be rid of him.
But what most normal people saw as the blessed end of a ridiculous pseudo-candidacy, many of the brethren saw as Cain’s martyrdom at the hands of President Obama and/or the media.”What was done to Herman Cain was disgusting,” said Rightwing Rebel at The Blogmocracy. But who dunnit? Rebel didn’t feel the need to say. And why should he bother? His Blogmocracy colleagues had previously denounced Cain’s “High-Tech Lynching” by various parties, including Karl Rove and “the MSM.” It’s the sense of grievance that matters — cultivate that, and each conservative can then choose the culprit that best suits his prejudices.
John Hinderaker at Power Line Aaron Goldstein at The American Spectator was similarly slippery: “I am angered because people who wanted Herman Cain out of the way got what they wanted,” he wrote. Really? Who were they? “I am also angered because I do not believe these accusations would have seen the light of day had he not won the Florida Straw Poll.” So — it was one of the other Republican candidates, then? Which one? “People who spread rumor, innuendo and outright lies have been rewarded for their behavior. The truth no longer matters.” Well, that could be anybody. Got a name?
“Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and other GOP candidates can expect far worse if they are in any position to unseat President Obama,” said Goldstein. Ah, so it wasn’t the other candidates? But then who —
“What happened to Herman Cain,” Finally John Hinderaker of Power Line said, “is what the Democrats intend to do to whoever the Republican nominee turns out to be. They know they can’t win a debate on the economy or on President Obama’s record, so they will do everything they can to distract the voters’ attention from those matters, which should be decisive, and instead turn the focus to the GOP candidate and his or her alleged foibles…”
Clever! Hinderaker never actually said Obama did it, but shrewdly ruled out — by innuendo if not by logic — the people who had the most to gain by Cain’s exit, and turned suspicion on Obama, who would be singing Glory Hallelujah if the bumbling Cain were nominated to run against him. As long as the Republican gravy train still runs, Hinderaker will never miss a meal. (* See update.)
Some were less guarded, possibly because they just couldn’t help themselves.
“Well, they succeeded,” said Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs. “The left wing enemedia killed off another GOP candidate while protecting the traitorous incompetent in the White House.”
Bruce MacIsaac of Conservative Daily News also blamed the press: “With comments like ‘he handled it so badly,’ the media tell us Herman Cain is now unelectable,” he wrote, citing no sources. “It proves one thing, the Obama camp was terrified of facing Mr. Cain in the general election.”
Goes to motive, Your Honor! MacIsaac also claimed the media was trying “to nominate Mitt Romney for us,” and offered this airtight evidence: “If the Obama administration was not convinced they would have an easier time defeating [Romney],” he said, “they would not be pushing so hard for his nomination. They are scared to death of running against Herman Cain, so they must destroy him prior to the GOP primary season. Perhaps they have succeeded.” Perhaps?
The Right Scoop was literally incoherent with rage. “Today is a sad day for America,” he wrote, “in that we have just witnessed what appears to be a media take-down of one of our candidates.”
Why’d he think that? He’s glad you asked: “I say that because, as I’ve said before, I don’t believe for a moment that he is guilty of any of the accusations that have been leveled at him.” Well, then the media must have been in cahoots with Cain’s various accusers who, after all, brought the accusations; might we have some evidence of this?
Here’s what The Right Scoop offered instead: “Consider for a moment if Herman Cain had gotten the John Edwards treatment by the media,” he wrote. “Where would he be today if all of these false allegations were relegated to the National Enquirer? He would likely still be enjoying a huge lead in the polls.”
That’s odd — John Edwards has been disgraced and in fact indicted on conspiracy charges related to his baby-daddy coverup, so “the John Edwards treatment” — whatever that is — is probably the last thing Cain wanted. But it’s one way to imply that the media sticks up for adulterous candidates it likes. “As a successful black man who’s lived in poverty and made himself what he is today because of his own ambition,” added Right Scoop, “[Cain’s] message against this entitlement class would have been strong, perhaps even a dangerous cocktail for the left in 2012.” So, sort of like a roofie? No wonder the DemoMedia had to take him out!
Perhaps the most shaken was AJ Strata, who began with the headline “Cain Surrenders To The Slime Machine Of The Political Industrial Complex.” Strata did not, alas, supply names to go with this intriguing cognomen, though he made clear that he exempted Sarah Palin and Herman Cain.
But Strata did say that Cain’s withdrawal meant that “politics in America is now controlled by the elite of the Political Industrial Complex” — not just by the PIC, but by its elite! Sort of a superoligarchy! — and announced that “this blog will be suspending its interest in parties and politics as well. Since the system is rigged against Main Street, no need to waste my time pretending our views matter.” It’s an ill wind that blows no one some good, we always say.
Whoever made it happen, Cain split, and rightbloggers were left with wonderful memories. Where most of us saw a humiliating mix of barbecue, bullshit, and bizarre Pokemon quotes, they saw greatness.
“Hell of a speech, though,” said Big Government. “…Why didn’t this Cain run for President… Cain just reinvented how to end one’s campaign for President. It is the new standard against which all others will be judged.” (We still think Pat Paulsen has the edge.)
“Cain really was in many ways refreshing and dynamic – the only true ‘outsider’ in the campaign,” said Sister Toldjah. “…He also avoided playing the political games that so many ‘insiders’ do at this stage of a campaign. Until the last month or so.” Whoops! Well, nobody’s perfect.
“Even with the problems that derailed his campaign,” said W. James Antle III at The American Spectator with becoming delicacy, “expect him to emerge as a larger conservative voice.” “I’m still inclined to cast my vote for him,” said Wizbang. “God bless you Herman Cain, keep fighting for the principles you espouse,” said The Daley Gator.
“Perhaps there will be a place for Cain in the next Republican administration?” asked Left Coast Rebel, seriously for all we can tell.
These are impressive testimonials for a candidate who didn’t know China had nuclear weapons, who thought the Taliban was running Libya, and basically had the foreign policy acumen of a bad Risk player.
But Erick Erickson of RedState and CNN had an explanation for that: “Let’s be real clear here,” he wrote. “Herman Cain did not get wiped out by an affair or allegations of sexual harassment, frivolous or otherwise. He got wiped out because those allegations threw him off his game and then he kept stumbling through attacks on his 999 plan, his foreign policy issues, and his campaign staff generally beclowning themselves with allegations, retracted allegations, and retracted retractions of allegations, etc.”
So despite what everyone thinks and what Cain’s final press conference suggested, it wasn’t the accusations that ended his campaign — it was the way those accusations were “throwing him off his game,” making him say stupid things and giving voters the false impression that Cain isn’t the intellectual powerhouse Erick Erickson knows him to be.
Aaron Goldstein at The American Spectator was sure that “Herman Cain holds his head up high as he picks up himself off the ground,” because “life goes on. There is a Plan B. Cain will continue to promote 9-9-9 and other innovative public policy solutions… I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets back into talk radio or gets a TV show in the not to distant future.” Well, as Sarah Palin showed, going from populist hero to Fox News hack is no longer considered a come-down.
Some, having no alternative, retreated into fantasy. “As I was watching Herman speak today,” said Mr_Ed at RedState, “I couldn’t help but notice the covered backdrop. The thought occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, the campaign was about to throw us all a curve by having all three ‘accusers’ come out from behind the backdrop in a jolting, ‘man, did we fool all of you!’ moment. What a brilliant move that would have been: to clear Herman’s name while simultaneously shoving it right back into the face of a scandal-hungry, uber-biased, incompetent press. It would have changed the landscape of political campaigns for generations.”
Yeah, wouldn’t that have been great? Alas, nothing remotely like it happened, and Mr_Ed felt “betrayed” — not because Cain turned out to be the crackpot fraud anyone with an ounce of sense could see he is, but because, Mr_Ed yelled at his Herman Cain button, “your total lack of judgment in selecting incompetent campaign leaders has proven your undoing.”
Don’t despair, Mr_Ed — there are plenty of other buffoons still running for President. One of them will excite you, and you can follow him until he disappoints you, too, at which point you can follow yet another buffoon. Some of the big boys are giving Jon Huntsman a look. And here’s even better news: Donald Trump is moderating a GOP Presidential debate on December 27, and guess what — he’s also considering running for President again himself! He’s like Herman Cain, only white. And we have a hunch that for folks like you, that won’t be a drawback.
Update: Some of the quotes I thought were John Hinderaker’s were actually from Aaron Goldstein at The American Spectator. Sorry, after a while these guys all sound alike to me. That’s been fixed in the text. Hinderaker acts quite steamed about it, and seems to think I “fabricated” the Goldstein quotes; guess they don’t have Google where he lives. Also he thinks my conclusion “makes no sense” because “I didn’t say that anyone other than Herman Cain was responsible for Cain’s demise.” Read his quote and see what you think his bit about how “what happened to Herman Cain is what the Democrats intend to do to whoever the Republican nominee turns out to be” was meant to convey.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 4, 2011