The Other McCain

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

‘A Real Leader Dot Com’

Posted on | October 15, 2011 | 44 Comments

“They launched some Web ads, banner ads … and they are proving effective. … As they’ve already said, they raised two million bucks in the first two weeks [of October]. You project that out over the course of the quarter and you’re talking … Romney-esque fundraising numbers. … If you’re raising a million dollars a week, times twelve weeks, you’re talking twelve million bucks. … And actually, there are thirteen weeks in the quarter, so if they continue — as they have said, they raised two million dollars in the first two weeks of the quarter — project that out. … With no debt. … The FEC reports for the second quarter already came out and they announced that they raised two-point-eight million … and Herman said in an interview yesterday that he would report having a million dollars in cash on hand. … If you look at his second-quarter report, and the numbers being talked about, you’re looking at a campaign that has a quarterly burn rate of roughly two million dollars. And while that is obviously going to increase in the fourth quarter as they add staff, et cetera, et cetera — let’s say they go from a burn rate of two million [per quarter] to three million and raise thirteen million — you’re conceivably looking at a campaign that hits January 1st with, potentially, ten million bucks cash on hand.”
— a GOP strategist, in phone interview this morning

To which my reaction was three words: “Wow. Wow. Wow.”

When I reported Herman Cain’s second-quarter fundraising numbers just after midnight, I didn’t get the full significance of what the numbers meant. People who are criticizing the Cain campaign as unserious — e.g., “Why is he in Tennessee?” — probably weren’t paying attention in July when I wrote about the long-term strategic thinking behind a campaign that was then bumping along in single digits in national polls.

So I’m not even going to bother looking that up and linking it now, because heaven knows we don’t want the clueless to get a clue now that Team Herman’s strategy is starting to pay off. (The new front-runner will be on Meet the Press on Sunday.)

You’re hearing a lot of blowback over the “9-9-9” plan right now, but all that blowback is coming from people who never expected Herman Cain to be where he is right now: Leading national poll by as much as 8 points, neck-and-neck with Romney in the RCP average, moving ahead in Iowa, raising a million dollars a week, with a million in the bank and no campaign debt. Three weeks ago, none of Cain’s critics imagined this was possible, and now that the impossible is actually happening, the critics are in denial, doing the Kübler-Ross grieving process over their lost credibility, telling everybody Cain can’t sustain his momentum, and mocking the “9-9-9” plan as if it were a joke.

Oh, yeah?

The Club for Growth just endorsed “9-9-9.” Jokes’s on you, Karl Rove.

Now, if you think Herman Cain’s tax plan is too “simplistic” and “unrealistic” as policy, let me tell you something else you won’t believe:

When I first heard that phrase, I was like, “Yeah, whatever. Catchy slogan. What’s the point?” The point is, it’s so simple you can’t forget it.

Just like “9-9-9,” the phrase sticks in your mind: Easy to say, easy to remember, and if you’ll click the link, you’ll discover that the URL re-directs to the online donation page for the Herman Cain campaign.

Now, we know that Mitt Romney is sucking up all the GOP Establishment cash, and part of the perils of Herman Cain’s success is that the grassroots small-donor types might get the idea that Cain’s doing OK now, so they can stop giving those $25, $50, $100 contributions. But if the projection my source made — the Cain campaign potentially having $10 million in the bank by Jan. 1 — is going to happen, then it’s important to keep pounding one message: Give, Give, Give.

In business management, as in communications theory, there is something known as “The KISS Principle” — Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Rather than confuse people with a bunch of complicated explanations, distill the essence of whatever it is you’re communicating to something people can understand and remember. The Herman Cain campaign appears to be applying The KISS Principle with remarkable success.

The legendary origin of supply-side economic theory is that Art Laffer (who has also praised 9-9-9 lately) drew the now-famous “Laffer Curve” on a cocktail napkin, and thereby created the theoretical basis for what became the Reagan Revolution. Maybe that’s just a legend, but the point is that Laffer’s insight, like so many other breakthroughs in human history, had the kind of genius of simplicity that made people say, “Wow, why didn’t I think of that before?”

So if you want to see Herman Cain sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, if you want his campaign to arrive on the eve of the Iowa caucuses with $10 million cash on hand, this is your cocktail napkin:

During the 11 months that I’ve been covering the Cain campaign — as a strictly neutral objective journalist, just like all those MSM reporters — I’ve often been asked by people, “Stacy, what can I do to help? I love Herman, but when I tried to get in touch with the campaign, I didn’t get a call back.” Yeah, well, a low “burn rate” means they’re always understaffed and overworked at Team Herman HQ, and it’s a miracle anybody gets a call back from them now that everybody wants to be part of the team. But like I said during the now-legendary Doug Hoffman campaign: “Stop asking what you can do, and start doing what you can.”

If you’re sitting around waiting for somebody at headquarters to tell you what to do, you’re doing the wrong thing. Become a Campaign of One. Do everything you can think of to help the Cain campaign. Grab some stuff off the Internet and print up your own flyers to give to your Republican friends and — most of all — include that cocktail-napkin URL so they’ll know where to go to give money:

Of course, I am not one of these Famous Genius Pundits who’s always telling people what to think. I don’t even get invited to BlogCon, because I don’t know nothing about nothing worth knowing. All I know is how to rock and roll all night, and party every day. IYKWIMAITYD.


UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! And you may enjoy an update about my future career as U.S. Ambassador to Vanuatu.

UPDATE II: Linked by The Lonely Conservativethanks!
UPDATE III: Linked by Nice Debthanks!


44 Responses to “‘A Real Leader Dot Com’”

  1. Joe
    October 15th, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

    First of all when did the blogosphere turn into a bunch of high school cliques?  Strangly enough, this seems more a GOP thing than a Democratic thing (the Democrats welcome anyone who is against the GOP).  But Republicans Elites seems like they are disgusted by the unwashed masses of Christians, conservatives, and libertarians that they have to rely on to win elections. 

    But why the dis on the blog level?  You do decent traffic.   You break interesting stories.  You are willing to travel for stories and do (gasp) actual journalism (I do not recall may other conservative bloggers who actually investigate a story on the ground). 

  2. Joe
    October 15th, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

    Herman can do this.  I want him to do it.  I hope he can beat Romney (and it is going to be tough because beyond the insider stuff, Romney has built an organization since before he lost to McCain in 2008).  But I am pulling for him. 

    9-9-9 is a plan.  It is actually a pretty good plan to start discussing even if it is unlikely to pass anytime soon.  I do not recall any Romney plan (other than Romenycare). 

  3. More Reasons to Like Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Tax Plan | The Lonely Conservative
    October 15th, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

    […] won’t avoid paying their “fair share” for very long.Also be sure to check out Stacy’s latest post on the Cain campaign. He’s been following it since Day 1 and knows the ins and outs better than I do. Tweetvaso […]

  4. Dick
    October 15th, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

    Cain seems like a good conservative, but he some serious math issues.

  5. Anonymous
    October 15th, 2011 @ 4:35 pm

    He is a mathematician

  6. Shawn Gillogly
    October 15th, 2011 @ 4:49 pm

    The math also has been said to work by people who have crunched these numbers longer and harder than Romney and Bachmann have.

    Like Art Laffer, Paul Ryan, and the Club for Growth. I’d think they’d have a better idea if the numbers can work than someone with a distinct stake in saying they can’t.

  7. Janet C
    October 15th, 2011 @ 4:49 pm

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Eff you, Karl Rove.

  8. Anonymous
    October 15th, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

    I have a new “meme” for you folks.  It comes from arguin’ nothin’ important, with the worthy Adjoran.

    “Rove, The Night O’Donnel Won”  –Darmok

  9. Anonymous
    October 15th, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

    Well, taxation policy is a serious math issue, so I’d guess you’re right.

    The NST is a very, very bad idea.  However, having Cain win is looking like the best thing we can hope for.

    He needs a conservative VP. DeMint, Perry, Bachmann, or Palin

  10. ThePaganTemple
    October 15th, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

    DeMint or Bachmann would be good. I doubt Perry would accept, and I know Palin wouldn’t. What we need for VP is somebody that doesn’t give a shit about running a “positive campaign” but will tell it like it is and stick to those guns, even to the extent of calling Obama a liar and possible traitor if those shoes seem to fit (and they do).

  11. Joe
    October 15th, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

    I am not a fan of a NST without a repeal of the income tax.  You sure as hell cannot have both unless there is a way to keep them fixed (be it an amendment, etc.).  I do not see that coming anytime soon. 

    But the only way government can function is with controlled spending.  A socialistic state may work if you are Japan and have virtually no immigration, but with our open borders…not a chance.  And Japan’s system does not work. 

  12. steve benton
    October 15th, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

    I can only get behind Cain if i’m promised a new pony, and given a card that proclaims “I’m not a racist ’cause i voted for the black guy”. Surely, if you truly care about the future of your country, you cannot vote for a candidate when asked about the most basic question on Israel, is so clueless he “hasn’t developed his foreign policy”so he has no idea whatsoever. So, to show you don’t hate an ignorant black man because of his skin color(Obama), you want to vote for another ignorant black man(Cain).

  13. Anonymous
    October 15th, 2011 @ 5:50 pm

    I would want an amendment that forbids income taxation by the feds, except in wartime, and absolutely “sunsetted.” It would set the NST at 2% and not allow it to change without another amendment.

    That’s the only way we could ever trust the b*stards with an NST.

  14. Anonymous
    October 15th, 2011 @ 6:09 pm

    Calling Cain ignorant says more about you than it does about Cain.

  15. Anonymous
    October 15th, 2011 @ 6:09 pm

    As in, you can’t follow the math?

  16. More Reasons to Like Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Tax Plan | Herman Cain PAC
    October 15th, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

    […] be sure to check out Stacy’s latest post on the Cain campaign. He’s been following it since Day 1 and knows the ins and outs better than I […]

  17. Jeanna
    October 15th, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

    This stale rhetoric is dead, Steve.   Sounds like you might feel more at home with the Occupy Wall Streeters…they’re looking for a bunch of free stuff, too.

  18. The American Spectator : The Spectacle Blog : Can Herman Cain Raise 'Romney-esque' Money?
    October 15th, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

    […] low "burn rate" and the fact that Cain has insisted on running a debt-free campaign, prompted a Republican strategist's comment to me today in an interview: "You project that out over the course of the quarter and you're talking … Romney-esque […]

  19. Instapundit » Blog Archive » STACY MCCAIN: ‘A Real Leader Dot Com.’…
    October 15th, 2011 @ 10:48 pm

    […] STACY MCCAIN: ‘A Real Leader Dot Com.’ […]

  20. Jim Richardson
    October 15th, 2011 @ 11:04 pm

    No on the federal sales tax unless the federal income tax is repealed first.  

  21. ThePaganTemple
    October 15th, 2011 @ 11:08 pm

    Steve, you need to open you a lemonade stand. If you work hard and play by the rules, you too can one day own your very own pony. You can even show you don’t hate an ignorant black man by hiring one.

  22. Anonymous
    October 15th, 2011 @ 11:20 pm

    steve, I asked you before . . . if Cain wins the GOP nomination, will you support him?

    I’ll keep asking you this question every time you make one of your bitter comments until I get an answer. And if I don’t get an answer, well, that’ll be an answer of sorts, too.  

  23. Anonymous
    October 15th, 2011 @ 11:23 pm

    Excellent suggestion, as steve has a competitive advantage: he won’t have to purchase lemons. steve + sugar + ice = sourade.  

  24. Anonymous
    October 15th, 2011 @ 11:24 pm

    Yes. And I have just the thing for a lack of answer, too. Haven’t blacklisted anyone this weekend yet, and it’s almost Sunday.

  25. HRguru
    October 15th, 2011 @ 11:30 pm

    I have seen this critique in numerous places, and I think it’s really strange. What’s to prevent an increase in income tax rates now equivalent to what a sales tax would cost you?  

  26. Anonymous
    October 16th, 2011 @ 12:57 am

    I like that Cain at least recognizes that business as usual isn’t gonna cut it anymore. We have been heading in the wrong direction for too long for small changes to get the job done. Something radical (oops) is needed and I think he offers the possibility of that sort of thinking.

    I would, though, like to hear a lot more about how he is going to reduce spending rather than how he’s going to rearrange revenues.

  27. Audio: The Hermanator Sings “The Impossible Dream” + The Latest From The Cain Train « Nice Deb
    October 16th, 2011 @ 1:58 am

    […] Other McCain: ‘A Real Leader Dot Com’: You’re hearing a lot of blowback over the “9-9-9? plan right now, but all that blowback is […]

  28. Paul Lewis
    October 16th, 2011 @ 2:06 am

    You know,  what seem like weeks ago (it was) I would not have given Herman the time of day as I was a Perry Supporter. Now, I am asking Herman what time it is. The answer is of course ” it is time for a real leader”  

    All I can say is it is sure the heck is about time.

  29. Adjoran
    October 16th, 2011 @ 2:13 am

    I like Cain as well as any of the candidates, but all are flawed.  There aren’t and won’t be any perfect candidates.  We’re a country of 300 million and the GOP represents roughly a third of them (most of whom can’t and/or don’t vote) enough that they consider themselves “Republicans.”  With that many people, everyone’s ideal candidate is going to be somewhat different.  It’s always settling, always a compromise, and always will be.

    The problem is conservatives have been frustrated for so long some of us, in different smaller factions, have just had enough – “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”  I feel that way most of the time, especially when reading or viewing reports of what Obama’s been up to.

    But I also understand that the GOP has only nominated “pure” conservatives from an open process twice in the last century:  Harding and Goldwater.  Harding won and his fiscal policies were excellent; he fell prey to corruption scandals after putting his friends in high positions.  Goldwater was swamped.

    I don’t count Coolidge, possibly the best President of all, because he was already the incumbent, having succeeded Harding.  And Reagan, who raised taxes and spending in California as Governor, could not meet today’s standard of purity by any stretch of imagination.

    Also, since Reagan the GOP, in an open primary process where most delegates are chosen by the rank and file, has never nominated a candidate who was noticeably to the right of the party “establishment.” GHWB, Dole, W, McCain – they all were pretty close to the establishment mainstream when they won.

  30. Adjoran
    October 16th, 2011 @ 2:31 am

    I do have questions, though.  Like why is this “Republican strategist” given anonymity?  He divulges no confidential information, and doesn’t even say anything controversial.  But his math is laughable, which is why I wonder who would say such a thing.

    He notes Cain’s “burn rate” for staff was around $2 mil per quarter earlier, and projects it will be – $3 million for the next.  Well, Cain has had 30 paid staffers.  50% increase makes 45.  That isn’t going to win anything.  You can pretend all you want to, but if he only hires 15 more staff and ends the quarter with $10 million on hand, he might as well be Christine O’Donnell keeping money in the bank. 

    There are no prizes for not spending the money people gave you TO SPEND.  So I’m confident Herman Cain is a lot smarter than this shadowy “Republican strategist” and will spend it and build a staff as quickly as possible. 

    It takes staff to win.  Volunteers are needed too of course, and enthusiasm makes up for a lot.  But not that much.  Volunteers don’t work at it full time and it’s hard to depend on them sometimes – they have jobs, and families to tend to.  Paid political staff tend to devote that period of their lives to electing the candidate. 

    That’s the way big time politics works.  There is a lot to do to run a national campaign, and it takes money to do it.  This is no big secret.  Pretending your dream candidate can just sweep in and win is delusional.  And Cain is hurt by the move to earlier voting because it cuts his fundraising and organizational time (that doesn’t mean that was the intent of the morons in Florida, though).

    People tend to get testy when I point out difficulties and flaws in our candidates.  I don’t mean to ruffle anyone’s feathers, but OTOH it won’t keep me awake if I do.  This is what primary contests are supposed to do: test the candidates’ mettle, poise, endurance, and weaknesses.

  31. Anonymous
    October 16th, 2011 @ 3:08 am

    “GHWB, Dole, W, McCain – they all were pretty close to the establishment mainstream when they won. ”

     That is what must change if the GOP wants the energy, support and loyalty of the conservative base. If their actions are going make us as mad as the SDs do why should we help them. If we are doomed to stay mad, we might just as well go away mad.

  32. ThePaganTemple
    October 16th, 2011 @ 7:57 am

    When you’re right, you’re dead on. They’ll find out the hard way, when Cain barely shows up as a blip on the radar screen in the Iowa caucuses, and comes in third or fourth (at best) in New Hampshire. Matter of fact, if he doesn’t change course, I predict he’ll get less percent of the vote than Huntsman in NH.

  33. Boyd
    October 16th, 2011 @ 8:51 am

    The site is a mess.  Couldn’t donate if i wanted to.  And I wanted to.

  34. Patrick Rich
    October 16th, 2011 @ 9:05 am

    So 9-9-9 as a simple, understandable first step toward a sane fiscal policy is just awful compared to….what? Obama’s brilliant proposals? The Democrats’ perennial tax-and-spend-us-into-oblivion philosophy? “Cuts” that slightly reduce the deficit rate and don’t touch the suicidal debt or massive Washington bureaucracy? Thought so.

  35. Cain Raking in Romneyesque Money? | Herman Cain PAC
    October 16th, 2011 @ 10:57 am

    […] quarter, Cain won the Florida straw poll and came on strong to top his Q2 fundraising. Stacy McCain reports Cain may be on our far more prodigious fundraising pace for the 4th Quarter. McCain qutoes a […]

  36. Anonymous
    October 16th, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

    Really? Just checked the site and it seems to be working all right. I’ve passed along complaints to Team Cain.

    Anyone else experiencing problems donating?

  37. BradMarston
    October 16th, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

    Stacy et al,

    The video promoting the TN Common Sense Solutions bus tour was what was causing the page to show as not secure. It has been removed and the page now displays a nice bright green lock!

  38. BradMarston
    October 16th, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

    I actually read the statement differently. I don’t think he said the burn rate was just for staff and looking at the FEC reports it clearly wasn’t. 

    Let’s assume the Cain campaign hired staff at an average of $52,000 a year (just to keep the math simple) or $1000 per week. Let’s also assume they hire throughout the quarter for an average start date of 11/15 or six weeks of employment.

    $1,000,000/$6500 = 153 people.

  39. Tex45
    October 16th, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

    Sounds like your totally in the tank for Cain.

  40. TomT
    October 16th, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

    Interesting note about Cain’s support 

  41. ThePaganTemple
    October 16th, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

    Yeah I have, though not on the site. I keep trying to get in touch with the people in charge of his ground game in Iowa but damn, I can’t find them anywhere hahahaha

  42. Boxers R Awesome
    October 17th, 2011 @ 1:12 am

    am supporting Herman Cain. voting for Herman Cain.Proud to do so. if you have some issue with Cain don’t waste my time with it. you vote the same old,you get the same old.

  43. Bentley
    October 17th, 2011 @ 1:14 am

    I find it hillarious when people say things like “He [has] some serious math issues.” The guy has a degree in mathematics, was a mathematician, and did calculations for Navy ballistics. The guy knows his math.

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    October 23rd, 2011 @ 8:53 am

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