Do you think that Herman Cain has all the elements necessary to have an actual chance at that GOP presidential candidate spot?
Polls suggest that Herman Cain is one of the frontrunners for the GOP presidential nomination. So why is it that most political insiders privately dismiss his chances?
The one-word answer: Money.
The conventional wisdom in Washington – and it is grounded in recent history – is that you can’t win a presidential election without wealthy donors behind you. Those donors provide the money for a candiate to hire field staff and build a campaign organization in key early states, run advertisments to boost name recognition and create contrasts with rivals, and pay for the many costs (travel, security) of running for president. And without some big donors getting on board, other prospective donors are less likely to contribute because they fear that the candidate may not be able to stay in the race for the long haul.
The flip side is also true. Donors give to candidates with lots money. Mitt Romney raised $14.2 million between July and September, and has $14.7 million in cash on hand; Rick Perry raised $12.3 million in the same period and has 15.1 million on hand. Perry, the Texas governor, has relied largely on the energy companies and other corporations that make up his donor network in Texas, while Romney has shown himself to be Wall Street’s preferred candidate, taking in significant donations from employees of large financial firms. Cain, whose only serious bid for public office had been a failed 2004 bid for the GOP Senate nomination against Georgia’s Johnny Isaakson, is trying to turn the shoestring, unorthdox nature of his campaign into a strength, insisting last week that “message is more important than money.” Certainly, the simplicity of his message – most notably, of course, in the form of his “9-9-9” plan – has captured primany voters’ attention.
But most Republican insiders believe that Cain’s personal magantism and his “9-9-9” plan – which has come under significant fire as Cain has risen in the polls – isn’t enough to keep Cain from ultimately ending up like the other recent candidates who have surged, and then flamed out, as the anybody-but-Romney choice.
The candidate himself isn’t helping. Just as he shot to the top of the polls, Cain embarked on a book tour that kept him away from the key early states; this week he went to Tennessee, which doesn’t hold a primary until March. Most of Cain’s rivals, meanwhile, have been crosscrossing the key early voting states. Cain’s lack of focus on early states has many political watchers wondering just how serious he is about trying to win the nomination.
And Cain’s willingness to proclaim his lack of knowledge about a range of issues – he boasted earlier this month that “when they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan, I’m going to say you know, I don’t know” – has fed concerns that he simply lacks the range of knowledge to be a successful general election candidate, and, potentially, a successful presdient. He’s made a number of claims that he has later dismissed as jokes or exaggerations, including that he would only sign bills that are three pages or less and that he wants a fence on the Mexico-U.S. border that would electricute people to death.
In accordance with his increased standing in opinion polls, Cain has been making the rounds on the Sunday talk shows closely watched by political insiders and potential donors. He’s gotten decidedly mixed reviews for performances like the one he put in on “Meet the Press” Sunday, where Cain acknowledged that his tax plan would increase taxes on some Americans and said he is “not familiar with the neoconservative movement.”
A candidate who lacks the support of the moneyed conservative establishment can certainly make a splash in a GOP primary fight – just look at Mike Huckabee, who was able to win the Iowa caucuses in 2008. But lacking the money necessary to compete with flusher rivals like Romney and John McCain, Huckabee eventually faded away despite considerable personal magnetism and the support of many social conservatives. Cain chief political strategist and campaign manager Mark Block told Roll Call earlier this month that the Cain campaign is “not running a two-state strategy,” opting instead to embrace “this whole new paradigm out there of this grass-roots movement.” But from a practical perspective, it’s not clear how the campaign can transcend the traditional rules that have made for successful campaigns in the past.
He should already know those Republican white folks ain’t trying to break him off with any donations, SMH.
In case you were wondering about Herman “iHeart Pizza” Cain’s wife…here’s a little more info:
Herman Cain’s the man of the moment in the presidential campaign, but his wife is still nowhere to be seen. In the five months since Cain’s campaign launch — the last event that she attended — she hasn’t organized volunteers in Iowa, made direct fundraising appeals to supporters or even appeared by her husband’s side on stage following a GOP primary debate. But Gloria Cain has remained at her family’s Atlanta home, far removed from the harried pace of a presidential campaign.
The absence goes beyond just keeping politics at arms-length. She is a total unknown quantity, almost never mentioned by her husband, even as he often speaks about his family as chief among the reasons he chose to run for president. Those close to the Cain family — friends from their North Atlanta church where the presidential contender is an associate minister or from Morris Brown College, where she graduated — are fiercely protective of her.
“She is a very private person,” said an Antioch Baptist Church spokesman who would not give his name . Asked how active Gloria Cain is in the church as her husband keeps up a frenzied campaign schedule far from their Atlanta home, the spokesman said: “Very. And he stays as active as he can.” An alumni affairs representative of Morris Brown College where Gloria Cain graduated months before she married Herman Cain called her “supportive of the college over the years,” but declined to name specific events Gloria Cain had attended or if she had been a financial donor.
That representative said that the Cain operation was actively campaigning to shield Gloria from media contact, asking the college to refer all inquiries back to the campaign. Even a search of Cain’s own website turns up little on his wife of 43 years. Cain and his future wife, then Gloria Etchison, had their first date when he was a sophomore at Morehouse College and she a freshman at Morris Brown. After that, he writes in his book, they lost touch for a year, and began dating again after they reconnected.
“It was magic from that moment on and so I didn’t go out with anyone else. Neither did Gloria. And we dated and dated and dated,” he wrote. he two married in June 1968 and have two children, Vincent and Melanie. Gloria Cain has spent most of her life as a homemaker, a role Cain defends.”
“Some people have certain expectations concerning the traditional politician’s wife, though, and I’m often asked: ‘Where is your wife? Why isn’t she campaigning with you?”
“‘She is at home,’ I answer,” he wrote. “And Gloria will tell them she’s not running but she supports me 100 percent. That’s all I need.”
Awwwww, as long as she has his back, that is all that matters!!! Right??