A blog by the magazine's editors and contributors


Is Cain able? (II)

As Herman Cain prepares for tonight's eleventy-seventh GOP debate, he's doubtless relishing the news that, according to a new poll,he's become Iowa Republicans' favorite candidate. Yet, with the Hermanator's surge comes increased scrutiny. Take, for example,this piece, which digsinto his work at Godfather's Pizza. To those who question whether Cain deserves much credit for his company's dramatic turnaround, he says,Theres more between these ears than pepperoni and pizza sauce. People who say I was just going out and giving the speeches and smiling, they have no idea how I manage and lead."Certainly true. But for those of us who have read This Is Herman Cain! by Herman Cain, there can be no doubt about the abiding power of those speeches.

And what I say [on the campaign trail] must be striking a chord, because I invariably get a standing ovation. In fact, if I don't get one, I'm sure I didn't give a good speech. Actually, there was one time that I didn't get a standing ovation and I thought, "It's because I didn't give a good speech." Well, I had--I was told it was a great speech--but the reason I didn't receive a standing ovation was that I was speaking at an accountants' convention. They're trained to be unemotional, so they sat there and just applauded. [This Is Herman Cain! by Herman Cain, p. 152, italics his]

About the Author

Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



Commenting Guidelines

  • All

"Theres more between these ears than pepperoni and pizza sauce."I think this is entirely possible.

The full title of the book is deliciously egomaniacal: This is Herman Cain: My Journey to the White House.And, of course, the final lines of this immortal work:

Well, Im just about at the elevator up to the family quarters. But bear with me for just a minute more as I confirm who I am. Its obvious; Im the president of the United States of America! his mind, apparently.

Thanks for ruining the last post of my series, Brian.

Maybe Romney can 'evolve'/flip flop into a Deist like the founding fathers?

What ever happened to all those Republicans I used to see around (OK, I'm thinking way back)? They were almost never egomaniacs, or religious firebrands or, God help us, fans of Ayn Rand! They sometimes owned a business, and almost all seemed well to do. When it came to religion, they were Episcopalians, with a handful of Lutherans thrown in. A few wore bow ties, but other than that you'd never mistake one for Herman Cain (egomaniac), or Ron Paul (Rand fan), or Rick Perry (religious firebrand), much less Michelle Bachmann or Sarah Palin (religious firebrands who happen to be women, something else Republicans hardly ever were). Only Mitt Romney fits the old mold. And he's a Mormon, for crying out loud (!). Again I ask you: Whatever happened to all those Republicans I used to see around? Did these guys take them out back somewhere, knock them all out and steal their party cards? There, I said it. I'd bet a lot of other people my age (old) are wondering the same.

Cain in first place????, NH and Iowa talking about moving their primary to Dec and one then would go Nov. ... Thanksgiving anyone? And Cain in first place!!!!! what would the Supreme Court have to say if the GOP just forfeited the election? Is a forfeit legal? Is there towel that the GOP has, and where would they throw it.. Potomac?

@Beverly Bailey (10/12, 5/35 pm) Ronald Reagan used to tell a story about a couple who started dating when they were young and would cuddle next to each other, holding hands, when driving in the car.Time went on. They got married, had kids, got a bigger car (to have room for the kids and their gear), and got into the habit of sitting each by their own window.Time went on. The kids grew up and moved out of the house. Now that they didn't need as much space, they got a smaller care, but remained in their seats by their respective windows.One day, the woman said to her husband, "Remember when we were first dating, how we used to go driving and cuddle together and hold hands? Why don't we do that anymore?He replied, "I'm still sitting right here where I've always been."Reagan went on to tell the "lesson of the story"---that he, and that woman, and a lot of people were still "sitting right there where they'd always been", but it was the Democratic Party that had changed, and had left *them*.I suspect "all those Republicans (you) used to see around" feel that way about today's Republican Party. Some of them have migrated to the Democratic Party or consider themselves political independents. Some remain Republicans, in more-or-less uneasy alliance with the Randians and religious firebrands (and (ex?)-segregationists and nativists) who now run the party.

@ed gleason (10/12, 10:11 pm) Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, it's worth it to take a look back at, say, October 2007. That's when Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton had a commanding lead, as Barack Obama, John Edwards and the other challengers struggled to gain traction. Meanwhile on the Republican side, front-runner Rudy Giuliani, though still well ahead in the polls, was facing a serious challenge from Fred Thompson.Regardless of who the Republicans nominate---and I think it's highly likely at this point that they'll nominate Perry or Romney---that candidate faces an excellent change of winning the election, if for no other reason than the economy.

Luke -- What an odd story for Reagan to tell. He started out as a Democrat.

@Jim Jenkins (10/13, 12:15 pm) I agree Herman Cain won't (as far as I can imagine) be the Republican nominee---for a whole bunch of reasons.I don't think Rick Perry is 'toast' just yet. First, he's got $15 million in the bank, plus his own Super PAC. So he can afford to run a real campaign (staff, offices, research, ads, etc.).Second, there seems to be a ceiling on Romney's support in the polls. If most of the non/anti-Romney voters can coalesce around one candidate, that candidate can win the nomination. And Perry is still, I think, the candidate best positioned to fill that role.Third, "harboring undisguised racism" and being a "strangely incoherent public speaker" are not, I would submit, disqualifying characteristics for a candidate for the presidential nomination in today's Republican Party.That doesn't mean I think Perry will be the nominee; just that I think it's too soon to write him off.

Luke, I agree with the essentials of your analysis, but I would add that these televised Republican debates have been a terrific primer for Republican primaries, and there is no getting around that Romney is just head and shoulders above the other candidates in *seeming* presidential. He looks and feels like a president.Perry is failing the primary test before the primaries get under way. It's surprising and disconcerting that apparently he doesn't know how to prepare for a high-stakes campaign debate. It seems to be a window into some sort of character flaw. He hasn't looked like presidential timber so far.

P. S. He was a liberal. anti-isolationist Republican, which perhaps shows which way the rank and file Republicans will go when the Republican establishment fails them. Subsequently, during WW II, he got along with Roosevelt. Them were the days.

Anybody besides me remember Wendell Wilkie? He was the dark horse Republican candidate in the 1940 election. He lost to Roosevelt. The Republican convention was split between three strong candidates, Taft, Dewey and Vandenberg. Wilkie, a former Democrat, seemed to come out out of nowhere and got the nomination.Would that some rational Republican candidate would emerge now. The Republicans need him/her, and they've surprised us before.

I have been watching Herman Cain with interest. His position as frontrunner (which I think will be short-lived) seems to indicate the degree to which Republicans are in anybody-but-Mitt mode. I was initially attracted to the 9-9-9 plan as a way to simplify the tax code, but that 9 percent sales tax is a killer, especially as states and some municipalities add sales taxes. Some pundits say that even though the plan would be disastrous for the middle class, it is easy to explain and that makes it more attractive than plans that are fairer but more complicated. Meantime, I still think the rent is too damn high.

Add new comment

You may login with your assigned e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.

Or log in with...

Add new comment