The Other McCain

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

Cain HQ: ‘Crazy, Hectic, But Fine’

Posted on | October 28, 2011 | 66 Comments

“Cain’s success represents a journey into uncharted political waters, like an ancient explorer sailing off toward the part of the map where the legend reads, ‘Here Be Dragons.’ “
Robert Stacy McCain, The American Spectator, “Herman Cain Sails Into Uncharted Seas”

Admit it: If Herman Cain decided to call it quits tomorrow, what he has accomplished in the past 10 months would still be an achievement of historic proportions. A guy who began the campaign as “Herman Who?” has, against all odds and despite the active opposition of the GOP Establishment, emerged as the legitimate national front-runner, with barely nine weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses Jan. 3.

Having already accomplished what no one ever believed he could, Herman Cain must now turn this astonishing phenomenon into the kind of campaign that can actually win the Republican nomination and then go on to defeat Barack Obama next November.

Everybody who knows anything about politics keeps saying that this can’t possibly happen and yet . . .

Let’s go back to Nov. 13, 2010, a little more than a week after last year’s mid-term election. I had just gotten back from my long final campaign road-trip of that crazy year. VA-9, GA-12, FL-2 and all the way to FL-22, where I spent Election Night at the victory celebration for Allen West. When I finally got back home to the Maryland hills, I was exhausted beyond words and there was a blog-war going on between Patterico and Jeff Goldstein about the Christine O’Donnell campaign in Delaware. “No regrets,” I said on Nov. 12, and the next day, as the recriminations continued, I wrote:

People are sick and tired of that same old politics-as-usual crap. . . .
The Republican Party “brand damage” problem, a legacy of the Bush era, is not going to be repaired by nominating unprincipled career politicians . . .
Yeah: Herman Cain. Having backed a few can’t-possibly-win underdogs in the past couple of years — I went all-in for Rubio when he was 35 points down — I’m taking a long, hard look at that dark horse. . . .

This isn’t the first time I’ve reminded readers of this. Three weeks ago, I summarized the narrative arc: “From Doug Hoffman to Herman Cain: Continuing the Tea Party Momentum.” And that’s what it’s about to me — whether the conservative movement and the Republican Party are going to be controlled by Establishment insiders and influential pundits, or whether the rank-and-file grassroots can choose their own leaders without the guidance of self-appointed elites. What is at stake, really, is the “consent of the governed.”

The stakes are very high and the business of choosing a presidential nominee is very serious, because the alternative to Republican victory is the continuance of the Obama administration’s disastrous rule.

‘Don’t … Tell Me It’s Raining’

As I write this paragraph — it’s about 1:20 p.m. ET — Megyn Kelly on Fox News is transparently trying to formulate the GOP nomination contest as a fight between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, while dismissing Herman Cain’s campaign as a hopeless joke.

This has been the message telegraphed by Fox for the past five days and, to employ the title of one of Cain’s books, They Think You’re Stupid. The folks who run Fox News clearly have decided that Cain can’t be allowed to win, and they think viewers are too stupid to understand how the network’s “Fair and Balanced” coverage is being used to promote the perception of Cain as “not up to the task,” to quote Karl Rove.

Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.” IYKWIMAITYD.

There is not a conspiracy against Herman Cain, but rather a consensus of belief among the Establishment insiders that Cain isn’t their kind of guy. And when you reply to them by expressing a stubborn belief that “We, the People” have the right to decide such matters, the insiders will respond by accusing you of being un-serious.

Among their other selfish arrogations of authority, you see, the insiders have appointed themselves the arbiters of political seriousness. Thus the ascent of Herman Cain — still leading the Real Clear Politics national average, despite relentless opposition from the elites — creates a crisis of credibility for those who, like Karl Rove, claim a monopoly on political wisdom. (Wall Street Journal headline: “Weird Smoking Ad Boosts Cain’s Cash Haul.” That sound you just heard was Karl Rove’s head exploding.)

In a way that any student of Hayek should understand, Herman Cain’s success refutes the conceit of centralized planning in politics, just as the success of the free market refutes the notion of a planned economy.

When the insiders try to dictate our political choices, by anointing some candidates and dismissing others as “not up to the task,” it is directly analogous to economic planners attempting to substitute their own preferences for the free choices of consumers in the marketplace. And just as economic planning destroys the essential vitality of the free market, so too do these interventions by the political elite destroy the essential vitality of the grassroots.

Once in a Lifetime

The central-planning model of politics — which dominated the GOP when Karl Rove was at the White House and Ken Mehlman ran the RNC — is deeply implicated in the Republican “brand damage” problem that led to landslide victories for Democrats in 2006-08. It was only with the rise of the Tea Party in 2009-10 that the conservative movement recaptured the momentum it lost during the Bush/Rove/Mehlman era.

And now, with Herman Cain riding high in the polls, conservatives are presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to repudiate the GOP insiders’ attempt to resuscitate their central-planning model of party control, which would result inevitably in the nomination of the Establishment favorite Mitt Romney.

People who dismiss the Cain campaign as “un-serious” are making the assumption that Herman Cain and his staff are unaware of how high the stakes really are. I, on the other hand, take them at their word when they say they have a strategy, and are doing all in their power to turn their momentum into a decisive victory. It was nearly nine o’clock last night when I placed a call to Cain HQ:

Meanwhile, the atmosphere at Cain’s Atlanta headquarters is “crazy, hectic, but fine,” campaign spokesman J.D. Gordon said in a telephone interview last night. “We’re doing well. We’re raising a million dollars a week and we’re expanding staff rapidly. We’re happy with the direction we’re going in.” The increase in staff includes an expansion of Cain’s much-criticized operations in Iowa, where the campaign recently hired former state GOP chairman Steve Grubbs to lead its effort in the Hawkeye State. Gordon said that Cain, who just returned from a two-day trip to Iowa, will be soon spending more time in the state that holds its first-in-the-nation caucus Jan. 3, now barely nine weeks away. . . .

Read the whole thing. The fact that someone as senior on the staff as Gordon was answering his phone at Cain HQ at 9 p.m. is, to my mind, evidence that they are taking this very seriously indeed. As crazy and chaotic as the Cain campaign may seem, they know they’ve got a serious chance to win, and Karl Rove be damned.

* * * * *

What You Can Do
If you agree with the logic of the foregoing argument, why don’t you copy it in an e-mail and send it to your Republican representative, senator, governor or state GOP chairman? You can also e-mail it to your favorite local or national talk radio host. Also, by using the “share” button at the bottom of the post, you can share it via Twitter or post it to Facebook. Thanks in advance for your help in spreading the word.



66 Responses to “Cain HQ: ‘Crazy, Hectic, But Fine’”

  1. Adjoran
    October 29th, 2011 @ 4:40 am

    Or else insist on going live.  That’s what GHWB did to give Dan Rather an exclusive interview in 1988, and he made Dan look stupid.  If it had been on tape, all Bush’s good lines would have been edited out.

    How much better served would Sarah Palin have been to grant only live interviews to Couric and Gibson instead of giving them hours of material to edit?

  2. Adjoran
    October 29th, 2011 @ 4:55 am

    Which of the “Romney surrogates” wasn’t already a regular commentator on the network before the campaign?  What reports are actually biased?  Be specific, please.

    Just because people like Rove and Krauthammer believe Romney is a prohibitive frontrunner doesn’t make them “surrogates.”  Hell, everybody in politics believes Romney is a strong frontrunner, that no one has yet been able to put together a serious challenge to his status yet.  Because it is TRUE, isn’t it?  He’s been the leader or second in all the polls, especially of early voting states, he has the most money, the network which can raise the most more money, and the biggest and most established organizations state by state. 

    Just because they report that as the state of the race doesn’t mean they are “surrogates” for Romney.  Weren’t they all about Perry when he entered and took the lead?

    There are two main reasons none of the experienced observers think Cain will win.  First of all, he is starting very far behind, hasn’t done the ground work in any of the early states others have and really only has a tangible and visible organization in Iowa and Nevada so far.  Second, he maintains a very light schedule for a serious candidate, yet his people blame his errors on him being tired.  

    That’s not bias against him.  These are real obstacles to his success.

  3. Adjoran
    October 29th, 2011 @ 4:56 am

    If you don’t like Fox News, maybe you could try Alex Jones?  I hear he gets lots of scoops . . .

  4. Adjoran
    October 29th, 2011 @ 4:57 am

    You are known, sir.  You’ve been doing that good, hard, and often thankless work for a long time now, too – thanks and keep up the good work!

  5. ThePaganTemple
    October 29th, 2011 @ 7:43 am

    Adjoran, please, listen to yourself. Romney, a strong front-runner? No one has yet made a serious challenge to his status? Really? Come on, the man has been stuck in the mid-twenties through the entire process so far. Even the establishment Republicans don’t really like him, they’ve been going nuts trying to find somebody to run against him that in their delusion believe will be a more acceptable candidate to them and to the base. What do you think all this insane press for Chris Christie was about. Hell, the same people that were pressuring Christie even tried to convince Paul Ryan to run. Oh yeah, and Mitch Daniels. Face it, when even your core supporters see you as a second choice, at best, you’ve got a problem. I wonder how long its going to be before they trot out the old Jeb Bush trial balloon one more time.

  6. ThePaganTemple
    October 29th, 2011 @ 7:46 am

    I wouldn’t put Fox on the same level as Alex Jones. They’re complete opposites. Alex is an incendiary flame thrower. Fox just wants to be loved and accepted.

  7. just a conservative girl
    October 29th, 2011 @ 9:36 am

    I don’t doubt that Herman can possibly get the nomination.  The grassroots has changed politics as usual in this cycle.  My question becomes, is he really qualified for the position?  

    I think many more doubts will be raised once they have the foreign policy debate.   I was a huge fan of his early on, but I fear that he just doesn’t have the proper knowledge to do the job well.  

    More than anything right now we need competent.  The last three years have proven what a mistake it is to elect someone who isn’t.  

  8. Anonymous
    October 29th, 2011 @ 10:10 am

    Perry having a Dos Equis on the podium during the debate would be bad, and having a Tecate or Negra Modelo would be worse. The only right choices would be Lone Star or Shiner Bock.

  9. Anonymous
    October 29th, 2011 @ 10:12 am

    Lack of knowledge can be fixed. Temperament and a good heart, not so much.

  10. The Spot-On Quote Of The Day… « The Camp Of The Saints
    October 29th, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

    […] awarded to Stacy McCain for this succinct indictment of the GOP Establishment: The central-planning model of politics — which dominated the GOP when Karl Rove was at the White […]

  11. richard mcenroe
    October 29th, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

    That’s not fair.  They report, WE decide whether to listen.  They ain’t MSNBC and we ain’t Democrats.

  12. Shawn Gillogly
    October 29th, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

    Nope. I just prefer to go digging for the news on my own as opposed to be force-fed memes from ANY TV network. But yes, they had Rove as a commentator before. Why? Because Fox has always been in love with the GOP Establishment. After all, it was started by Ailes. What more do you need to know?

  13. Shawn Gillogly
    October 29th, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

    The ‘lack of sophistication’ is an elitist canard. The Founders specifically did NOT want a Ruling Political Class made up of those “in the know.” And it didn’t help to have Establishment life-long political figures in Bush 1 & 2 or Clinton, none of whom addressed the foundational issues of our Establishment crisis or provided a proper framework to deal with the global terror network.

    So, IOW, this is something the chattering class tells itself to convince themselves of their own importance. I might add, it’s also ANTITHETICAL to traditional conservative beliefs.

  14. BradMarston
    October 29th, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

    Thank you! Today was trudging around the Ward making sure all my committee members were signed up for the primary ballot. At least I got it done before the snow started. 🙂

  15. Zilla of the Resistance
    October 30th, 2011 @ 12:12 am

    That would be great! I’d also like to see those motivational posters, like the one that says “America – FUCK YEAH!” made up for Herman Cain, like maybe a bunch of smoking no helmet wearing bikers carrying guns  and having a fatty meat barbecue which says, “Herman Cain – FUCK YEAH!” Cuz Herman, as charming as he is, is also pretty badass when you think about it, you’d have to be to keep that sunny disposition no matter what life has thrown at you including big evil cancer! I bet he could stomp some mudholes if provoked. And smile as he did it.

  16. Herman Cain Newsfeed – Monday, 10/31/2011 « Herman Cain News
    October 31st, 2011 @ 11:54 am

    […] Cain HQ: ‘Crazy, Hectic, But Fine’ (Robert Stacy McCain & Blog Sidekick Smitty) With Herman Cain riding high in the polls, conservatives are presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to repudiate the GOP insiders’ attempt to resuscitate their central-planning model of party control, which would result inevitably in the nomination of the Establishment favorite Mitt Romney… […]