Herman Cain decides: He suspends his campaign

Herman Cain finally did the right thing and stepped down, ending the circus he called a campaign Photo: Associated Press

EASTON, Md., December 3, 2011 ­— Herman Cain is about to be history and he is trying not to let the door bang him on his way out. Finally, he is doing the right thing for his family and his party, not to mention the country. However, it probably is not the right thing for him because his out-sized ego thrives on the adulation of crowds. Now he’s merely a former CEO and a former candidate, already a footnote in history, not a pretty place to be when you’ve felt the hot lights of presidential politics.

No doubt about it, the GOP leaders are off-stage breathing a sigh of relief. Who needs Herman Cain and his woman problem plaguing the campaign? Not only was Cain a distraction, he was dragging down the Republican brand. Again. Now the GOP voters can concentrate on Mitt and Newt, a juicy fight if there ever was one.

But Cain should have headed for the door weeks ago. With his past, he should never have run for president in the first place. In truth, he was probably never running so much as selling books and saw this as a glorified book tour.

Mr. and Mrs. Cain. During his announcement, Gloria Cain stood beside her man. (Image: Associated Press)


When he should have been in Iowa or New Hampshire, pumping hands and haranguing crowds he was down in Alabama and Tennessee hawking his book, “This Is Herman Cain: My Journey to the White House” for – you guessed it – 9-9-9 or $9.99. It’s even being touted as a collector’s item.

What Cain should have done was what real candidates do, vet himself. That means hiring a political consultant to act like the political opposition and see what kind of dirt can be dug up on him. Real politicians do it all the time. And with the baggage Cain was lugging onto the Cain Train, a political op would have soon found that Cain’s baggage was over the limit.

However, as happens to so many of people running for president, hubris set in. They call themselves the man (or woman) of the people but actually see themselves far above the people, the little people. They don’t believe in being held to the standards of mere voters. Just think John Edwards.

Even Newt Gingrich who is surging as fast as Cain has been sinking is not immune to soaring above the hoi polloi in his hot air balloon, fueled by his own gasbag. He has two wives too many, too many dollars from Big Pharma and Freddie Mac, and too many enemies from Congress when he was Speaker. But he is a legend in his own mind, the man history has beckoned.

However, Newt is another story for another time.

Back to Cain who has cheapened the Presidential race with his alleged womanizing (too many women accusers to be dismissed out of hand), too many stories concocted to cover the last story he tried out, too much finger pointing of blame: first Perry, then the Democrats, then the media, then some unseen force out there ready to nix him. What’s next? Aliens seeding our minds with doubts?

That said, some of us will miss the sideshow that Cain provided. Whether it was his dubious 9-9-9 that Congresswoman Michelle Bachman turned on its head as 6-6-6 or his snappy way of dismissing knowledge of other countries with “When they [the media] ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan I’m going to say, you know, I don’t know,” he brought levity to an otherwise often dull process.

As Cain fades from memory, here are some other reminisces about the Man Who Thought He Was the Almost President:

“Let Herman be Herman,” Cain said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” when he was quizzed about his campaign’s ad showing his chief of staff smoking. Cain insisted it was a humorous ad and “not intended to offend.”

Cain said something similar in October after being questioned about his plan to build an electrified fence that could electrocute illegals trying to sneak into the U.S. “It was a joke, and yeah, I haven’t learned how to be politically correct yet,” Cain told CNN.

“I misspoke,” Cain has said a few times. First was during an interview with Wolf Blitzer who asked him if he would do what the Israelis did and to save one American soldier would transfer several hundred prisoners from Guantanamo in exchange. He answered yes, only to backtrack later on CNN, saying “I misspoke,” Cain said. “It was moving so fast, I misspoke. I would not do that, I simply would not do that.”

Then in November he told PBS’ Judy Woodruff that China has “indicated that they’re trying to develop nuclear capability and they want to develop more aircraft carriers like we have.” China has had nuclear weapons since 1964. “Maybe I misspoke. What I meant was China does not have the size of the nuclear capability that we have. They do have a nuclear capability. I was talking about their total nuclear capability.” Hmmm, right, Herman.

“We need a leader, not a reader.” That statement alone speaks volumes. Maybe so much misspeaking comes from not reading about other countries and their rulers, unless it’s from the one page briefing on foreign affairs he is handed every day. Sort of the politician’s crib sheet. Maybe Cain should have tried reading the front page of the New York Times, the Washington Times, or the Wall Street Journal. Ah, but we forget: he’s a leader, not a reader.

I don’t have facts to back this up.” But it never stopped Cain from popping off, such as blaming President Obama for “orchestrating” the Occupy Wall Street protests. As it happens, he eschews facts as well as opinions, such as the time when he couldn’t tell the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel his opinion of Obama’s handling of Libya.

“If you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself!” This beaut came from the former CEO of Godfather Pizza in his analysis of the Wall Street Protestors. Tell that to the 13.3 million unemployed, Herman.

Perhaps there will soon be a book that gathers the “Wit and Wisdom of Herman Cain” into one slim volume that Herman can peddle to Cain junkies who can’t bear to let him fade from memory.

A collector’s item, anyone?

To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib in the Communities at the Washington Times. She can also be heard on the Democrats for America’s Future.




Herman Cain: Going, going, … suspended?

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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform women's prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims. 

Long active in Democratic politics, she served as the presidentof the Talbot Democrats in Maryland for six years and fought to getthe Health Care Reform bill passed.

Catherine has been published in a diverse range of newspapers and magazines, including Newsday, Star Democrat, Rocky Mountain News, Yellowstone News, and the Massachusetts Review.

If Catherine has learned anything over the years it is that progressive change does not come easily, but in baby steps. 

Contact Catherine Poe


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