Campaign: ORIGIN early 17th cent. (denoting a tract of open country): from French campagne ‘open country,’ via Italian from late Latin campania, from campus ‘level ground’ (see camp 1 ). The change in sense arose from an army’s practice of “taking the field” (i.e., moving from a fortress or town to open country) at the onset of summer. ( New Oxford American Dictionary)
CHICAGO, November 29, 2011―Herman Cain failed at the art of war.
The word “campaign” evolved from the terminology of warfare. Over the past few decades, political campaigns have been all-out warfare, including major intelligence and counter intelligence operations. There are elements of unconventional and asymmetrical warfare. Even terrorism (the rhetorical type) is employed.
Warfare is not romantic, until it is over and the stories are written. Warfare is ugly, violent, and catastrophic. There is no fair or equal. There are only winners and losers.
Good political campaigns are planned. Successful candidates and staff work their plans. They are flexible and quickly adapt their plans to changes on the field of battle.
Winning hearts and minds is not enough. You must destroy the competition before it destroys you. You must not only defend against attacks, but do everything possible to prevent them. Combat experts do everything to avoid and counter ambushes. They also plan ahead for the defense of onslaughts.
Herman Cain should have hired someone, a real opposition research professional, to conduct hard research into his past before he decided to run. Instead, he hired an attorney, Lin Wood, to defend him against himself. When it was already too late. Actually, Herman Cain should have hired hard core campaign professionals early on.
Cain rose too far too fast. He had all the makings of a great candidate: personality, appeal, charisma, a compelling life story, real life experience as an executive, and something none of the others in the GOP field had, an economic plan. Whether 9-9-9 was realistic or not, it was a concrete plan.
He did not anticipate that the faster he rose and the harder he ran, his enemies, in the political world and the media, would be out to destroy him. Politico started the process. The rest of the media jumped on their train.
Herman Cain forgot two important factors in this critical election cycle. There will be one, and only one, person of color on the ballot. That candidate is President Obama. Other Blacks or minorities need not apply. Cain did nothing to cancel that out.
His other error was underestimating party politics. Parties do not like outsiders or newcomers. They practice primogeniture; a form of right to succession. It is a self destructive seniority practice which, at times, gives them lackluster candidates like Bob Dole, Michael Dukakis, and John McCain.
Political parties only want people who have been around a while and paid their dues to run for high public office. Herman Cain’s campaign was killed by the GOP, the Democrats, team Obama, and himself. It was suicide assisted by the allies and the opposition.
Cain is most to blame for his destruction though. He did not anticipate fierce backlash, especially from his GOP rivals.
Barack Obama did not make history just because he became the first Black president. He made political history because he defied his own party, built his own base, and created a buzz that could not be ignored. Barack Obama was professionally positioned. His team created a brand. He was the Coca Cola to the Nehi and Dr. Pepper.
As much as the Democratic leadership may have wanted Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, or John Kerry - Democrats who paid their dues - team Obama made sure he could not be ignored or thrown by the wayside. He became a Democratic household name.
Barack Obama defied the Democratic Party’s own primogeniture. No matter how much others complained about his short timer new guy status, he would not be ignored. He ran a smart, effective, and quietly vicious campaign.
Obama was also smart enough to hide, seal, and lock down his past. He also closed off all questions about it. He convinced the media to ignore and defend the practice. Team Obama created the narrative for the media to follow. Follow they did.
That is something Herman Cain should have done long ago.
Herman Cain, the successful businessman, ignored one of the tenets of business. You model success, not failure. He should have studied the Obama, Clinton, Reagan, and George W. Bush campaigns. He should have modeled them.
He should have found his Lee Atwater, James Carville, Karl Rove, or David Axelrod. He needed warriors to create a war room mentality.
Herman Cain should have realized early on that popularity and charisma are not enough. Great speaking skills and appealing to the aspirations and anxieties of the electorate are not enough. Outshining your competition is not enough. The Tea Party is not enough.
Preparation is everything. Herman Cain did not expect the unexpected. He was not prepared. He and his campaign staff should have known there would be a public lynching of Herman Cain. They dropped the ball.
The Herman Cain campaign should be a lesson to anyone outside the political establishment who wants to run for public office. A lesson in all the things you should never do.
Herman Cain relied too much on Herman Cain and not enough on campaign professionals, who could have mitigated his negatives earlier or advised him this was not going to be his time.
Every candidate for public office has negatives, skeletons in their closet, or secrets that could be perceived as negatives. How they handle them determines their viability. Cain handled his poorly. His viability is barely on life support.
Cain’s early negatives were his race and his outsider status. He overcame those. He overcame the criticisms of his GOP competition. But his fast rise scared the guys who paid their dues and Team Obama. Once Politico started measuring the rope and making the noose, Herman Cain was doomed. The gallows were being built in an expeditious manner.
We may not ever find out who dished the dirt on Cain. We may never find out the why of the timing, when he was at the pinnacle of his popularity. At this point it is all irrelevant.
Politics ain’t bean bag. It’s combat. Mortal combat. When you go into battle you should assess your weaknesses as well as your strengths. Herman Cain and his people kept pushing his strengths. They shoved his weaknesses under the table.
Some say Herman Cain had no real chance to win the Republican primary. We may never know. One thing we do know. Herman Cain ran the least intelligent campaign out of all his competition. It was unplanned, unprofessional, and ill prepared.
Peter Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance writer, freelance photographer, and consultant. He is a passionate cook and eater. He likes to be the sharp stick that pokes, annoys, and provokes. His opinions are his and his alone.
Some of the Communities Coverage of Herman Cain:
Herman Cain comes to Alabama
Herman Cain on Letterman: Cain simply can’t cut it (Video)
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.