The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Cousins for Cain?

Posted on | December 29, 2010 | 5 Comments

Who is that muscular giant with tattooed arms shaking hands with Herman Cain?

That’s my cousin Brian Buchanan, who lives near Atlanta and — last time I talked to him — was working as a nightclub bouncer. He sent me that photo by Facebook and told me that he took our cousin Pepper Ellis-Hagebak to hear Herman speak on the square in LaGrange, Ga., in May. (I’d imagine Pepper’s head exploded. She’s kind of a liberal.) If Herman ever needs personal security, I’m sure Brian would be available.

Meanwhile, a friend e-mailed to call my attention to Herman Cain’s October 2008 column defending Bush’s Wall Street bailout (i.e., TARP) in which he criticized TARP opponents as “free market purists” — a category that would include Michelle Malkin and, uh, me.

My friend says that’s a “deal-breaker” for her. I’m sure a lot of Tea Party activists will likely say, to borrow a phrase from Ricky Ricardo, that Herman’s got some ‘splainin’ to do. But if having supported the TARP bailout is a “deal-breaker,” which candidate in the 2012 field is acceptable?

Elections are about choices and, with as many as a dozen candidates in the 2012 GOP primary contest, you’ve got to think in terms of what happens if your first-choice candidate is eliminated before Super Tuesday — and what happens if one of your least-favorite choices emerges as a front-runner.

We’re still more than a year away from the Iowa caucuses. How many conservatives might shift toward Herman Cain if he is one of three or four candidates still in the game after Iowa? Suppose, after Iowa, the four remaining candidates were Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain: Which would you choose? Of those four candidates, which is the least acceptable to you?

In the 2008 campaign, the one candidate I was not going to vote for, under any circumstance, was John McCain. The problem was that, after the Fred Thompson candidacy fizzled, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney effectively split the “Anybody But McCain” vote in the early primaries.

Suppose you’re in “Anybody But [Fill-In-The-Blank]” mode for 2012. So long as Jeb Bush stays out of it — please, God, no more Bushes! — I’d fill in that blank with Huckabee’s name. You may fill in that blank however you wish, but keep in mind that your favorite candidate may not be the final alternative to your “Anybody But” candidate.

So be careful what you choose as your “deal-breaker” issues. Mitt Romney was and is far from ideal, but in 2008, all that mattered to me was that he wasn’t John McCain.

Duane Lester offers “10 Reasons Herman Cain Will Win the GOP Nomination in 2012.”


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