And then there were…. well there’s still a bunch, but one less than a bunch. Herman Cain has “suspended” his campaign for President. His camp made an announcement last night that there would be an announcement today. Yeah, efficiency is not their strong suit, more on that later. It was an odd scene in Atlanta, where Cain made the announcement. The backdrop of the stage was a huge black curtain obviously concealing something. The suspense was mildly irritating. One early clue that the long awaited announcement to drop out might have been premature was the bus. Cain rolled in on his campaign bus but it had a new paint scheme. Gone was the I am an American and in it’s place was a big “Road to Redemption” slogan complete with a big road and a 999 road sign. Another strange issue, the place where Cain was making the announcement was in front of a new campaign office. He was supposed to unveil his new Atlanta campaign HQ. So this had all the makings of a “bite me, I’m still running” speech.
Turns out he was quitting after all. His body language and past tense verbiage made that clear as the speech went on, and on, and on. He cited the toll on his family the stories about the numerous issues he’s had with women have caused. I don’t imagine for a second it had anything to do with the actual issues, just the stories about the issues. The bus and the mysterious backdrop covering a picture of a web site were all about a new web site, thecainsolutions.com, that he was starting. Of course, or should I say par for the course, the web site was not working at the time of this writing. It will be his vehicle to get the 999 plan in front of congress. Not kidding on that. As Cain said, “they can run me out of the race but they can’t silence me. I will still have a voice.” Well as Keith Olberman said, “suspension is temporary, irrelevance is forever.” Not a big Olberman fan anymore but I think he nailed this one. We might get one round of Sunday morning shows of Cain’s goodbye tour and then you won’t see him much. Cain sealed that fate when he went on a little 15 minute diatribe against the media, who he faults for his campaign suspension. That damn media. They have the most amazing powers. They can leap a half governors intellect in a single question, elevate a black man to the presidency due to a lack of questions, and they can suspend another black man’s presidential run with, wait for it, more questions. So I don’t foresee too many media outlets lining up to get Cain on the record after this week is out. Now let’s talk about the real reason Herman Cain is no longer running for president.
Mark Block. That’s it. That’s the only name you need to know. He is/was Cain’s campaign manager and quite possibly the dumbest man at the top of a front running national campaign in the history of front running national campaigns. How can you fail to prepare your candidate for these questions about harassment allegations, when the candidate told you about the issues when he ran for the senate years earlier? Second, how can you leave your candidate so unprepared on the issues of national security and foreign policy? The line that Cain used early on in the campaign, “I don’t have to know all the info, I’ll have brilliant people to help me with that, I’ll make decisions on that information,” was great. No need to be an expert, but when you’re 6 months into the campaign and you’re the front runner you have to have a better answer than, “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.” That was a horrible moment for him, of course it was the media’s fault so no problem really. His debate performance on these issues never improved. He either stayed silent or waited for others to answer then jumped in with some inane piggyback answer amounting to nothing.
Then when the allegations came about the women, instead of admitting that there had been monetary settlements to 2 women for sexual harassment, Block let Cain go out there and act like he never heard of any of this before. Yet 2 women received an entire year’s salary, agreed to a gag order, and left the organization Cain was running all as part of a settlement for sexual harassment claims. The next day Cain admits to “his memory coming back” and how some things might have been “misconstrued.” Brilliant and by that I meant amazingly stupid. There was still time to put out the fire, but Block kept pouring gas on it. Block then blamed the Perry camp for leaking these stories. Well Mark, if it’s all made up how could Perry have leaked it? Why are you worrying about who leaked it, the stories are out bro time for damage control. It was not the time for the “if I close my eyes the issues aren’t there” strategy.
Block then discovers a reporter who worked at Politico, the news outlet breaking the story, had the same last name as one of the women in the settlement. Does Block investigate the possible tie between the woman and the reporter? Nope. Block instead goes on Hannity’s Fox program and says “well the reporter is the son of one of the accusers so of course the story is fake.” Hannity has a lucid moment of journalism and says “you confirmed this?” Block says, “Oh yeah, all confirmed.” If by “Oh yeah, all confirmed ” he meant “no not one bit” then Block was telling the truth. As it happens, with one google search anyone, I repeat ANYONE, would have found that the reporter in question has not worked for Politico in over a year, was not the reporter who wrote the story, and while he has the same last name as woman accuser #1, he is in no way related to her. No response from Block about any of this.
The coup de gras was the woman who came forward alleging the 13 year affair. Immediate denial by Cain, just a friendship he says. I text a lot of people all the time, I call a lot of people all the time, he says. Then Cain goes on TV the day after he says all this to admit he had been giving this women money without his wife’s knowledge for how long? Oh don’t tell me, no, no, no, wait I’ll get it. I’ll guess, “What is 13 years” Alex? Correct, tell him what he’s won Johnny. Well Alex, Herman Cain has just won the home version of Who’s the dumbest campaign manager in the history of modern American politics and a life time supply of Mark Block mouthwash for those days when you just can’t get the stupid out of your mouth. Awesome, I was running low on that. That damn media, you guys are just so media-ish.
Lets be clear, the allegations drove Cain out of the race but they were ultimately survivable. Newt is the strong front runner and he had his first wife sign divorce papers from her hospice bed where she was DYING FROM CANCER. Of course by the grace of God she survived. One person’s grace is another Newt’s bad break. But had Block prepared Cain on the national security issues, the foreign policy issues, and had Herm go out there and say “yes these allegations happened, it was 20yrs ago this is what the settlement was,” he might still be the front runner. The woman alleging the 13 year affair said she came forward because the Cain camp treated the other women, 5 in all, like the perpetrators not the victims.
Had he been penitent on the harassment issues and knew who the hell the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan was, (Islam Karimov, since 1990 by the way) he might still be fighting it out with Mitt for the nomination. So unless the media hired Mark Block to be embarrassingly bad at his job, I’m having a hard time pinning the blame on them.
Good Bye Herm, we hardly knew ye.
Oh yeah, Fox held a candidate forum tonight. Each candidate on stage one at a time for the same amount of time. They were not allowed to mention the other candidates by name when they answered. I was going to blog about it but the first questions I heard went to Rick Santorum and went something like this. Moderator: “well senator you are so awesome, tell us what does it feel like to be so awesome.” Santorum: “Well moderator that is a great question.” No Rick, no it’s not a great question. That about summed it up.
Here are a few links from conservative blogger Erick Erickson that speak to the Cain issues.