The Other McCain

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

Herman Cain: He’s In It To Win It

Posted on | July 27, 2011 | 8 Comments

Late Tuesday night, I had about 45 minutes of frustrated confusion when California writer Jim Henson sent a couple of Twitter messages to Shane Vander Hart and me:

My reaction to that — knowing that such a rumor could have no basis in fact — was something like, “WTF?” To which Henson replied:

Well, you can’t just say stuff like that without any backup, so I asked Henson to send me a link to the article he was talking about. Meanwhile, I started furiously Googling and failed to turn up any such thing. Finally, Henson found the article — an unsourced item by “Race 4 2012” blogger Matt Coulter:

So my prediction? Herman Cain will stay in until the day after the Ames Straw Poll, then drop out and endorse Mitt Romney. . . .

What Coulter was reacting to was (a) the fact that Cain canceled a planned appearance this week on “The Colbert Report”; and (b) a report that Cain had canceled a scheduled Aug. 6 event in Iowa. As to (a) there was a scheduling conflict and as to (b) it ain’t exactly so.

This morning I called Cain spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael, who explained that the “canceled” Iowa event had never been on the schedule at campaign headquarters. One of Cain’s local supporters had wanted to have the candidate at that event, but Cain had already made plans to be somewhere else on Aug. 6, and so it was reported as “canceled” even though it had never been officially scheduled.

Ellen Carmichael was kind of miffed that Matt Coulter (or anyone else) would write something like that without calling her first. She is super-easy to reach — (678) 601-2772 or e-mail [email protected] — if any reporter or blogger has questions about the campaign.

So before anybody else goes writing something nutty like that again, please call Ellen first.

Here’s something else Matt Coulter wrote:

I have to be honest: when Cain first announced he was running for President, I never, ever thought he would do as well as he has. I severely underestimated him. He played a great role in the beginning of this primary season. His inexperience ultimately did him in and allowed the opening that Michele Bachmann filled.

Which is . . . well, I don’t want to say it’s “batshit crazy,” but it is at least a misperception. Bachmann surged in June because she did well in the New Hampshire debate, where CNN’s John King quite nearly ignored Herman Cain except to hector him about Muslims. So Cain, who had done so well in the May 5 South Carolina debate, was perceived to have committed a “gaffe,” while Bachmann was the Hot New Awesomeness.

OK, that’s the way it went, but to say Cain’s “inexperience ultimately did him in” assumes that it’s all over, when it’s still only July 2011.

Even if you think Herman Cain has been screwing the pooch lately — and quite honestly, some of his biggest fans have been grumbling — it’s still more than six months until the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 6, 2012.

And the Cain campaign is planning far beyond Iowa.

Maybe some of y’all weren’t reading too closely on my exclusive report of Cain’s July 17 event in Bethesda, Maryland:

Maryland’s 2012 GOP primary is April 3, and Cain’s visit to the state could be seen as evidence that his campaign is planning a long-term nationwide strategy toward winning the Republican nomination. New party rules for 2012 have ended “winner take all” delegate apportionment in most states, which means that the GOP presidential primary campaign will likely continue well beyond the first round of early voting in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Having been sworn to secrecy by both the candidate and his staff as to the campaign’s strategy, I was not however prohibited from reporting facts, from which informed observers might draw their own conclusions.

For example, why did Herman Cain speak July 16 in Alabama — the first GOP presidential candidate to visit the state? (Alabama primary: March 13.) Why is Cain making a big deal about a mosque in Murfreesboro? (Tennessee primary: March 6.) Why did Cain give a speech Friday in Miami? (Florida primary . . . uh, early.) And why was one of the staffers accompanying Cain in Maryland his Nevada state director? (Nevada caucuses: Feb. 18.)

And you know something? Other people are starting to notice the same pattern by the Cain campaign:

One look at the Tea Party favorite’s calendar shows that [Cain is] attempting an unorthodox campaign, one that transplants the Obama campaign’s 2008 “50-state strategy” to the GOP primary. Right now, many Republican contenders are consolidating their forces in early states. Tim Pawlenty is spending so much time in Iowa he might as well live there; Rick Santorum has done him one better and actually moved his family there. Jon Huntsman has effectively opted out of the Iowa caucuses, reasoning he can’t win, but he’s flooding the Granite Statewith 21 staffers who are preparing for New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary.
Cain, though? His publicly posted schedule for July has only three days of events listed in the Hawkeye State, and another three in New Hampshire. South Carolina isn’t even on the July itinerary, although Cain was there June 29. But he has four scheduled trips to Nevada, which shares a primary date with South Carolina but lacks its influence, along with trips to a dozen other less important states, from Colorado to Tennessee and Maryland to Missouri. . . .

Read that story by David Graham of the Daily Beast, who was smart enough to call Ellen Carmichael. Now, if Ellen’s willing to talk to the Daily Beast — and to TPM and to HuffPo and every other left-wing outfit on the ‘Net — why should any conservative blogger repeat a crazy-ass rumor without calling Ellen first?

The Cain campaign recently announced they have hired Jamie Brazil as their national field operations director. And here’s something you might not have noticed in my American Specator report about Cain’s upcoming Iowa bus tour:

The Aug. 13 Ames straw poll will be a crucial test of Cain’s “ground game” organization in Iowa. The state’s Republican Party recently announced that the Ames ballot will omit Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Some observers saw that move as benefitting Minnessota Rep. Michele Bachman — who got a boost after a highly praised performance in last month’s New Hampshire debate — and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty , whose campaign has so far failed to match early expectations. “If Pawlenty is not in the top two [in the Ames straw poll], he’ll need to drop out,” Iowa GOP activist Doug Gross told Politico‘s Dan Hirschhorn last week.
Whether or not that assessment is accurate, if Pawlenty does place in the lower tier of candidates at Ames, it may well be because of a stronger-than-expected showing by Cain, who has been a popular speaker at Tea Party rallies since 2009.

While any blogger can throw out “predictions,” I prefer to express my own electoral forecasts as wagers. (I still owe John Fund a beer for last year’s Delaware senate election. But how was I to know they’d hire Fred Davis to do ads? “I’m You?” Hell, Christine: You cost me a beer!)

So I’ve got $20 that says Herman Cain finishes ahead of Pawlenty in the Ames Straw Poll, and I double-dog dare Matt Coulter to take that bet. If Matt wants to collect his $20, however, he’ll have to be in Ames on Aug. 13 — because that’s where I plan to be.

Hit the freaking tip jar, y’all — this is gonna be fun!


8 Responses to “Herman Cain: He’s In It To Win It”

  1. ThePaganTemple
    July 27th, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

    Okay I see his game plan. He looks like he’s wearing a white glove. He’s going to moonwalk, right? That would knock ’em dead at the convention.

  2. LC Aggie Sith
    July 27th, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

    Amazing that a conservative bloggger, one who constatly monitors for media lies, forgot the cardinal rule: trust, but verify.

    Would it have hurt to call Ms. Carmichael? Or was he out of rollover minutes??

  3. Christine Lewis
    July 27th, 2011 @ 6:22 pm


  4. Joe
    July 27th, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

    So where in the hell did the journalist come up the allegation of Herman Cain endorsing Mitt Romney?  I think Cain may have endorsed Romney over McCain in 2008, but that is not the same as endorsing him now.  Or did the “journalist” just make that up too? 

  5. Joe
    July 27th, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

    Excuse me “blogger.” 

  6. Adjoran
    July 27th, 2011 @ 7:23 pm

    Ames is the best argument for rotating primary dates.  It is nothing but a fundraiser for the Iowa GOP.  It has no effect at all on the caucuses. 

    The only thing it sometimes does is elevate some als0-ran into contention, like Huckabee in the last cycle.  Without the Ames boost he got by finishing second, his target market of evangelicals began to believe he could win, resulting in the rest of us having to put up with him for the rest of the campaign, and also giving Mav McCain the nomination.

    Of course, now for some candidates the choice is Hobson’s.  Bachmann has to be there and do well to keep her momentum in the state.  Pawlenty is all in for Iowa, so he’s stuck, too.  Cain and Santorum need something for a boost.

    Others don’t have to waste their time and money.  Romney found out last time throwing money at Ames doesn’t help in February.  Gingrich won’t go because there aren’t five star hotels, and he’s going to get his tiny slice of support whether he campaigns or just spends all his money on jewelry for Cruella or whatever her name is.  Huntsman, Johnson, and Roemer wouldn’t even vote for themselves, they must be planning speaking tours or writing books or something.  Perry can always say, “Sorry, but you know I got in late.”

    And of course, Palin can always say, “I so would have kicked all your asses if I had run!”

  7. VIDEO: Dick Morris Interview With Herman Cain: ‘What an Impressive Guy!’ : The Other McCain
    July 27th, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

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  8. ThePaganTemple
    July 28th, 2011 @ 12:29 am

    My prediction-unless Palin and possibly Perry gets in, it’s going to be between Romney and Bachmann until about halfway through the primary season, then Romney pulls ahead and wins it all. Thanks Tea Party.