GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain is having the best week ever. Last week he won the over hyped Florida straw poll with 37.5% of the vote, nearly doubling the percentage of votes won by the second place candidate Governor Rick Perry. So it sounds like Herman is kicking ass and taking names right?
What if I told you the Florida straw poll consists of 2,657 people? Still think Cain is kicking ass?
While it’s true that Mr. Cain is even leading some polls in the crowded and volatile GOP primary field, it’s possible that by next week he could implode like Michelle Bachmann did after winning the Iowa straw poll. Even Donald Trump had a couple of weeks where he polled strongly in this very weak GOP field.
Cain is polling strong now, but with gaffes like a critique of Occupy Wall Street where he premised criticism with the line, “I don’t have facts to back this up,” it doesn’t seem like this surge is destined to last very long.
So is Cain a serious contender for the GOP nomination and beyond?
No. And here’s why. As much as they would like to think they’ve evolved to the point where they will nominate a black guy for their presidential ticket, I just don’t see the GOP letting that happen. Sure, the black guy can be on the stage of candidates and he can promote his “9-9-9″ tax plan to thunderous applause, but he’s not going to get the nomination when push comes to shove.
Honestly, I think Herman Cain’s presence in the GOP field serves the purpose of deflecting accusations of racism from its Tea Party base. In response to the claim that the Tea Party is racist and all white, they will point to Mr. Cain and say “Look! See! Herb Cain (as Sarah Palin likes to call him) is here so we’re all good!” Herman Cain is the GOP’s black friend.
On the other hand his plain speak and his business acumen, not to mention his extremely conservative credentials, make him attractive to a very far right primary electorate. Cain is likable to the crowd of voters he is courting.
Race aside, beyond the primary Cain’s lack of policy chops become more evident. His talking points are catchy, but when he’s asked to explain he often can’t, or he starts to sound a little like a conspiracy theorist (See: Sharia law invading the U.S.). It is my view that Cain, with the microscope of the mainstream media focused like a laser on him now that he is polling well, will slip up. He’ll commit a gaffe or two like he did in the past 24 hours when he said, “If you don’t have a job… blame yourself!“, or have to answer for past views which may not play well on the national stage.
So kudos to Mr. Cain for getting our attention and good luck, because the way this GOP primary fight is shaping up this doesn’t seem like it’s going to last.