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Saturday, October 22, 2016

When former pizza magnate and motivational speaker Herman Cain exited the Republican presidential race Saturday, he validated a criticism that has dogged him from the start: more performance art than political campaign, his ‘candidacy’ was fundamentally about elevating his public persona and setting the stage for earning millions from lucrative speaking engagements and lobbying and consulting gigs, and far less about becoming the 45th president of the United States.

Cain came to the stage in Atlanta, Georgia to the tune of the now-familiar indie/new-wave Evangelical Tea Party pop song that accompanied his unbelievable campaign ads, which did a lot to create buzz and energy in the media and among bemused liberal activists and far less to convince broad segments of the public (or the conservative movement) that he had the knowledge or personal qualities requisite for a commander-in-chief. He smiled and cheered his supporters, said that “with a lot of prayer and soul-searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign,” and blamed out-of-touch reporters, a bankrupt political class, and lies and rumors for his demise.

“These false and unproved allegations continue to be spinned in the media and in the court of public opinion so as to create a cloud of doubt over me and this campaign and my family,” Cain said of reports he sexually harassed several women and carried on a 13-year sexual affair.

Lest we get too discouraged, the man who made his name as an inspiring, relentlessly-positive public speaker promised he wasn’t going anywhere.

“I am not going to be silenced, and I am not going away,” Cain roared as his aides literally unveiled a ‘Plan B’ that will feature a new website and a no-doubt-bizarre endorsement of one of his former rivals for the Republican presidential nomination. Reports Sunday and early Monday suggested the lucky guy would be former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

Cain also quoted the “Pokemon” movie (he seemed to think it was a legitimate source for ideas about life) as he consoled the fervent throngs of supporters.

“I believe these words came from the Pokemon movie,” Cain said. “Life can be a challenge. Life can seem impossible. It’s never easy when there’s so much on the line. But you and I can make a difference. There’s a mission just for you and me.”

In sharp contrast to former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s wife Silda Wall looking on, face ashen with grief, as he admitted carrying on affairs with prostitutes, or former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey’s wife Dina Matos struggling to maintain her composure as he called himself a “gay American,” Cain’s wife Gloria smiled and clapped as her husband quit the most public undertaking on Earth because he probably cheat on her or at the very least treated his female employees like subordinate play-things.

The calm, almost triumphant expression on Cain’s face as he announced his campaign’s end suggested someone who knew this coming, his past behavior making it inevitable. He seemed glad to have done well for himself while he had the the spotlight.

But the biggest problem of all with Herman, as a close friend put it, is simple: There is no better poster child for anarchism. The man’s outrageous approach to politics and democracy could only make supporters feel powerless and alienated and the rest of us confused and silly. He serves as a reminder that even if some skills of the corporate world — like organizational and managerial acumen — could theoretically be useful in government, motivational speakers can’t make leaders. Herman Cain’s campaign shakes the very foundations of political philosophy, and skewers the glory (whatever remains of it) of American democracy.

And to the extent that he is a product of corporate America, Cain’s collapse is a fresh indictment of American capitalism. What works in the free market doesn’t necessarily work for human beings — or informed citizens.


Follow Political Correspondent Matt Taylor on Twitter @matthewt_ny

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Copyright 2011 The National Memo
  • adlerman

    I agree that business skills don’t seem to be the skills needed to run the government. McNamara was the first to prove it. His low bidder way of running Defense really set us back. Now if only Americans can see that Romney, another businessman,makes money by destroying businesses- not building them.

  • BobVietVet

    It makes complete sense that Herman would back Newt, they have the same life style. Both are womanizers and treat women as objects. Still, more republicans seems to accept their filandering than Mitt Romney’s religion. I don’t understand Mitt staying in a party that denies Mormans a place. Republicans are a very exclusionary group and Democrats are the party of inclusion. Come on over Mitt!

  • Mother

    Herman Cain had nothing to lose but the fact that he made his wife look and sound like so many other spouses do when they find out through a third-party, that the spouse they knew so well, their character and what a God-fearing man they are, while cheating and allegedly harassing as many females that need some of his offered kind/type of advice, employment help or cash support, for friends the wives have no idea the spouse has in his priate life.

    Adios, Muchacho! The Celebrity Apprentice is waiting for your call. Or did you already sign the contract with the Ducky?

  • Dixie

    I am wondering why Mr Cain’s alleged lover of 13 years decided to come forward at this time. Did he tell her he was breaking off the relationship? Or did one of the tabloid offer her $$$ to tell her story?

  • awegweiser

    Probably one of the best things Cain could do to help Obama is to endorse Gingrich. Newt might even want him to be his VP.
    Here is a pair of real sweethearts – just what the GOP needs.

  • Dennis W

    Whoa! Hold on there partner! Cain just suspended his candidacy, he did not end it. Well, yes. Election funding makes suspension the right move, but I still think he might jump right back.

    An endorsement from Herman Cain is like a stone around a seagull’s kneck. It might carry some weight, but then it is seen everywhere it goes. Herman Cain endorsing Newt Gingrich. That’s like Snidely Whiplash saying vote for my friend The Grinch.

  • wl.edwards

    Cain is an old fashioned rich black man, believing he can lie cheat and steal with no fear of punishment. He is one of the worst kind of bigots. Newt Gingrich is a well known abuser, womanizer, and criminal. Why doesn’t anyone ask what happened to him the last time he was in congress? He makes that convicted felon Tom Delay seem like an angel. Mitt Romney is a corporate raider of the first order… taking over companies using other peoples’ money, firing all the workers and selling off the assets, keeping the profits for himself. Why doesn’t the news media tell the truth about these people…Oh yeah.. George Herbert Walker Bush made an illegal exception to Australian Rupert Murdoch granting a right to buy up and monopolize the news media and Murdoch is a hard core plutocratic fascist who’s only desire is to take over the world. The Republican party is nothing but a gang of lying murderous thieves with Karl Rove as the worst of them all.

  • JayMagoo

    The Herman Cain fiasco, and it was a fiasco in the true sense, a complete and ignominious failure, was to be expected, considering how he got into politics. He was gathered up by the Koch brothers, the single-minded billionaires from Kansas who inherited most of their money from their father, a John Birch Society leader, and their only goals seems to be to avoid paying their fair share in taxes and to gain unlimited ability to pollute the environment with their petroleum products. They groomed Cain from the start, and along with sponsoring the Tea Party movement, they contributed millions to other nefarious right wing causes designed to reverse all of the social programs since the last great depression of the 1930s. Cain was “a brother with a different mother” to the Koch brothers, which got admiring laughs from a lot of right wing-nuts. Cain is the level of dignity and intellectual achievement we can expect when such as the Koch brothers picks our candidates for high office.