The Other McCain

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

Ace Don’t Love Him No Herman Cain

Posted on | October 29, 2011 | 96 Comments

Everybody knows I love Ace, so much so that I laugh even when he’s viciously mocking my candidate:

[H]e talks like a f–king dumbass much of the time, and when he’s not talking like a f–king dumbass, he’s doing an empty folksy pander which is all very nice for those who are receptive to it but says nothing about policy or ideas or competency for office. . . .
Cain could very well win the nomination, if people just want an angry old dude spouting dumbass crap as their nominee. Which is what I think the people actually want, and I’m sick of instructing them that maybe they should rest their Emotion Muscles a little bit and work out their Thinking Muscles some more.

One way or another, you gotta admit that’s funny.

If you don’t like Herman Cain, you think it’s funny that Ace is calling him “an angry old dude spounting dumbass crap” because you agree.

On the other hand, if you do like Herman Cain, you think it’s funny that Cain’s improbable success has driven Ace to the point of helpless exasperation where he’s writing this kind of stuff.

Obviously, I’m in the latter category.

And I know Ace’s basic problem: He was in the room when Rick Perry announced at the Red State Gathering. Ace was lured to South Carolina and told he was buying a one-way ticket to glory on the Smilin’ Texan Express. (“Howdy. Thank you, Erick.”)

Alas, there was a detour on the road to glory: Three September debates in which the Smilin’ Texas was first kinda OK (Sept. 7 at the Reagan Library), then kinda bad (Sept. 12 in Tampa) and then Holy Creeping Jeebus Did He Ever Stink the Place Up (Sept. 22 in Orlando), followed by his embarrassing wipeout in the Sept. 24 Florida GOP straw poll.

Has any dream ever died such a hard death so quickly? It took just six weeks — a mere 42 days from his Aug. 13 announcement to the Sept. 24 straw poll — for the Perry bandwagon to crash and burn. And rather than blaming their humiliation on the geniuses who convinced them the Smilin’ Texan was all that and a stack of pancakes, instead the disappointed bandwagon-jumpers blame . . . Herman Cain.

Look, it’s not just Ace. I’ve witnessed the same reaction from other people who jumped on the Perry bandwagon and who, to this day, will tell you that Rick Perry is the only viable alternative to Mitt Romney so that to be for Herman Cain (or any other Republican candidate except Perry) is to be de facto pro-Romney, as they see it.

The rage of the Perrybots toward Cain especially is boundless, cosmic, infinite. Remember that when the first rumbles of a Perry candidacy were heard in June, Cain had seemingly already shot his bolt. He got a bump from the May 5 debate in Greenville, but couldn’t capitalize on it, and then Michelle Bachmann stole the show in the June 12 New Hampshire debate. By mid-summer, all the pundits figured Herman was through, and his disappointing fifth-place finish in the Ames Straw Poll seemed to confirm that judgment.

Nobody (and I do mean, nobody, including me) predicted Cain would have such a magic moment in Orlando, getting more votes in the Florida straw poll than Perry and Romney combined. Perry supporters probably dismissed it as dumb luck, but remember what I wrote:

As late as Friday afternoon, none of the pundits expected the Atlanta businessman to win the Florida GOP’s “Presidency 5” straw poll. But if what it took to win was a dynamic speaker who could bring a roomful of grassroots Republicans to their feet, Cain’s victory was in some sense inevitable. . . .
As the old saying goes, luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity, and Cain was perhaps uniquely prepared to take advantage of the opportunity Perry’s stumble presented.

It may be tempting to dismiss as mere show business Cain’s ability to light up a GOP crowd, but it’s a skill he has obviously worked hard to develop. And the dismissive attitude toward that aspect of Cain’s candidacy — he is far and away the most inspiring speaker in the field.

And while Ace calls him “an angry old dude,” Cain is actually a cheerful, optimistic, humorous kind of guy. He is eminently likeable, and being likeable was the edge that George W. Bush always had over sourpusses like Al Gore and John Kerry.

His oratorical skills and his basic likeability would be enough to make Cain a formidable candidate, but he’s also got a great personal narrative: Born to humble circumstances, rose to become a successful businessman, stood up to Bill Clinton over HillaryCare, survived cancer — he’s the embodiment of the American Dream, at a time when the American Dream is under siege.

OK, so he’s not an expert at foreign policy and prefers catchy slogans to wonkish details. He’s shown a knack for getting himself tangled up in controversy while improvising answers to questions about issues where most Republicans have well-thought-out positions. Also, his campaign suffers from organizational issues and seems to lack a plausible “ground game” strategy for the early states.

Admit all those caveats about Cain and his campaign and yet — and yet — his strengths are greater than his weaknesses. Herman Cain has enormous potential as a candidate and despite all his flaws and failures he is, after all, winning. As I said the other day, victory tends to become its own argument.

So we have Ace’s exasperation, we have Karl Rove’s whiteboard, and we have Ben Smith’s sneers: “[T]he Republican Party isn’t going to nominate the short-staffed former pizza executive and motivational speaker presently touring Alabama.”

The experts are probably right. The odds favor Mitt Romney, as they have all along. But sometimes unprecedented things happen, and if I were the only one who was getting an eerie feeling about this, you might do well to dismiss it: “Well, it’s just that crazy blogger talking.” But Nate Silver is also beginning to be intrigued:

In short, while I think the conventional wisdom is probably right about Mr. Cain, it is irresponsible not to account for the distinct and practical possibility (not the mere one-in-a-thousand or one-in-a-million chance) that it might be wrong. The data we have on presidential primaries is not very rich, but there is abundant evidence from other fields on the limitations of expert judgment.

We must wait on events. People sometimes forget that about politics: Events matter.

You can’t formulate a statistical probability and then expect the most probable outcome to occur automatically. Stuff happens — including world events over which no American has any real influence — and it changes the whole landscape. We’re 66 days away from the Iowa caucuses, and 73 days from the New Hampshire primary. We don’t know what will happen between now and then, but 74 days from now (Jan. 11, the day after New Hampshire), we’ll be able to say whether the Herman Cain phenomenon is serious or not.

Let Ace mock Herman Cain to his heart’s content. I hope he’s still laughing when I become Ambassador to Vanuatu.

Update (Smitty): Inside Charm City reports:

Earlier this afternoon, it was announced that Herman Cain won the straw poll at the Maryland Conservative Action Network’s Turning the Tides conference in Annapolis “by a wide margin.”


96 Responses to “Ace Don’t Love Him No Herman Cain”

  1. Zilla of the Resistance
    October 30th, 2011 @ 9:27 am

    Then you haven’t been paying attention. I did MY research.

  2. Anonymous
    October 30th, 2011 @ 9:50 am

    Working for candidates wont change the party particularly when many of the good candidates are co-opted by the party leaders after they get in office. The “party” can only be changed by taking over at the precinct level and working up through the ascending levels of the party organs. This could take decades.

    You will never reach most people who think that because the rich can afford more they should pay more to benefit people who have less. That’s why the concept of a “progressive” tax system is so detrimental to our cultural values. Once it became acceptable to use tax policy to enact social policy and redistribute wealth we were doomed.

    If you watched any of the videos of Peter Schiff talking to the nitwits occupying Wall Street their ideas of what is fair not to mention how they think capitalism works or even is supposed to work tells the whole sordid tale. You just can’t educate or even reason with someone who believes unequal levels of success are unfair and must be the result of some sort of theft.

  3. McGehee
    October 30th, 2011 @ 10:01 am

    Sorry, but if enough “regular folks” had made the decision you believe they have, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

    A great many people aren’t having this conversation.

  4. Anonymous
    October 30th, 2011 @ 10:01 am

    Even if your assertion is correct doesn’t mean that Bush’s administration with the Caligula phase of the Republican Congress didn’t almost destroy the Republican Party. Given what happened in 06&08 the assertion that the party was almost destroyed is indisputable. When a Social Democrat runs for office they run as a centrist and then immediately try to govern as a liberal, more often than not they succeed if they don’t push it too far or unless they are stopped by opposition majorities. I see no reason why a conservative shouldn’t run as a centrist then govern as a conservative. The problem with Bush was he ran as a conservative then governed as a big government centrist.

  5. ThePaganTemple
    October 30th, 2011 @ 10:19 am

    Put those dukes down Zilla, its not your poor monitor saying it lol

  6. Tennwriter
    October 30th, 2011 @ 11:24 am


    Consider this…if Bush had ran as more conservative, he would have won bigger.

    Winning=Get Base Enthused –>This Gets Middle Enthused and Provides Air Cover in Media War–>Landslide Victory like Reagan.

    Happy Warrior Across the Board Conservatives win.

    Fiscons don’t have enough to enthuse the Base.  Squishes revolt the  Base.

    Or…what did Bush Sr., Dole, and McCain have in common?
    1. They were all white men.
    2. Experienced pols.
    3. War heroes.
    4. RINOS.

    So what unifying factor caused them to lose….War heroes right?!?  🙂

  7. Garym
    October 30th, 2011 @ 11:52 am

    Perry waits while the master debates.

  8. Anonymous
    October 30th, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

    All I know is that as governor, Perry has made Texas an excellent place to live and work because he knows to get government the f*ck out of the way. He’s actually sent extra personnel to secure the TX border (something Arizona HASN’T). 

    As for “Islamophiliac”: unless you are prepared to ethnically cleanse Muslims from America, you’re going to have to live with them.

  9. Anonymous
    October 30th, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

    Was that before or after he defended it as being good for Massachusetts? “They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning” and for damn good reason.

  10. Anonymous
    October 30th, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

    The big problem is those damn flying monkeys.

  11. ThomasD
    October 30th, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

    “But somehow they both get the same treatment.”

    Only when they are uttered by someone other than his chosen favorite.

  12. ThomasD
    October 30th, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

    One could also, quite honestly, describe the situation as ‘Cain is gaining, while Romney has peaked.

    The only way Romney gains any more support is by poaching whatever supporters are left if their chosen candidate drops out.

  13. ThomasD
    October 30th, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

    Gingrich was on Kudlow’s radio show yesterday and he eviscerated 999.  Basically, it will never play in states with no sales tax, or states with already high sales tax. 

    So it could make Cain weak in a state like Montana, where he shouldn’t otherwise have to worry, and give him serious troubles in a state like Florida (especially with all the retirees on fixed incomes) – which he simply cannot afford to lose.

  14. dad29
    October 30th, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

    Nope.  That’s what his ‘campaign adviser’ (whoever THAT may be) said.  No “clarification” from Cain as of today, so you tell me what’s going on……..please!

  15. ThePaganTemple
    October 30th, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

    Nobody’s trying to explain it. You don’t have to convince everybody, just enough people to win. But you at least have to make the effort. And by the way, you’re not going to make that many changes at the precinct level because the people at the precinct levels are probably already closer to the average GOP voter than the people at the top, with some exceptions. The problem is at the state and national levels. That’s where most of the corruption is, because that’s where the power is and where the most stands to be gained or lost. You’re talking multimillion dollar, sometimes billion dollar contracts and people who will stop at nothing to game the system. And bureaucrats, no matter how well intentioned they might be in the beginning, are only human.

  16. Cantremembermynic
    October 30th, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

    Ace is digging a hole here.  He may turn out to be right, but if he’s not, will his ego allow him to “flip-flop” on Cain, or is he already too entrenched?   

  17. Anonymous
    October 30th, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

    The “party” can only be changed by taking over at the precinct level and
    working up through the ascending levels of the party organs. This could
    take decades.

    Ultimately, I think that is true. If the public has the classical patience we know is the norm in American politics, a sustainable migration is possible. However, an alternate pathway is real, too. Let’s say the “party” keeps hijacking newcomers as is also the norm and coopts movements only to see them smothered by vested interests. What then?

    When the populace sees futility in the process no matter what attempts are made (and consequently corrupted), then different attempts are inevitable. That is to say “revolutionary” attempts. The party that continues to obstruct the desires of masses in several successions such that there is no generational memory loss will fail. Patience is finite.

    Probably there will be a reinvigoration of the “conservative” wing of governance that will take generations if reinvigoration is going to happen. But perhaps more likely now, Statism will have brought us to such a perilous edge (if not outright national death) that a conservative wing that assumes the status quo is sustainable will be destroyed. It may be already beyond reform as a reflection of the new American soul, but with hundreds of millions of people and with the death spiral we’ve begun, this new “hope and change” will yield a lot of angry people who will rethink what America was.

    The “party” can save itself by working faster to reflect classical Liberalism, or it can die an untimely death from a more painful disease. The People will have a say on the matter. Maybe a tempered say for now but it will get much louder.

    The Party is just the vehicle. It can be crashed and the drivers replaced.

  18. Jorge Emilio Emrys Landivar
    October 30th, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

    The purpose for the huge number of conservative candidates is to make Romney win a plurality.  Romney loses head to head against each of them, but is likely to win, because he’s managed to con so many into joining the game.

  19. Dave C
    October 30th, 2011 @ 7:31 pm

    I’m thinking a new term for them is called for.


  20. Dave C
    October 30th, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

    A new name should be used for Perry fans..


  21. Dave C
    October 30th, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

    [ edited from earlier]

  22. Dave C
    October 30th, 2011 @ 7:45 pm


    Dunno where you got “Islamophiliac” from what I said earlier..

    I was speaking more from Perry’s actions of calling people “Heartless”  for objecting to his policy of letting Illegal Aliens publicly funded tuition and his initial actions with the Guardicil vaccine.  

    (not against vaccines in general but there’s a world of difference between whopping cough and HPV.  One you get from someone if you’re in the same room, the other you get by accidentally falling on a penis.  The difference is subtle but it’s there) 

    Don’t give me the ‘opt out’ BS either.   The government of Texas was telling parents how to raise their children.  That’s the bigger picture and what gives people pause about Perry.  

    That’s the “Compassionate Conservative”  that will be the final nail in the Republican party.

  23. Anonymous
    October 30th, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

    Given that Romney’s level of support never goes up or down for that matter as the other’s support goes up and then down I don’t see that happening until they’re all gone.

  24. Anonymous
    October 30th, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

    First you’d be surprised how many positions at precinct level are unfilled. The precincts are the farm teams for the higher levels of the party apparatus just as the state legislatures are the farm teams for congress. If the district organization is filled with genuine conservatives they can choose to look for primary opponents to congress members who have failed to adhere to the principals they espoused before they went to congress. Without pressure from below the state Republican committees will resist local efforts to primary sitting elected representatives and senators.

  25. Anonymous
    October 30th, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

    They don’t have to be expelled they only need to be made uncomfortable enough to leave. Just stopping the influx of newcomers would make a big difference. For one the newcomers are more increasingly exposed to radicalization in their countries of origin. The larger they’re communities become and the more cultural centers they build which gives them greater insulation from larger society the less pressured they’ll feel to assimilate.

  26. Doc Clear
    October 30th, 2011 @ 10:56 pm

    I always realized that Ace AND Hot Air were lukewarm RINO Republicans, but it’s seriously over the top now.  There’s no place for me there anymore.  It’s sad really because I always hit HotAir first and then followed the link to AOS.  First it was Palin and then Christine O.  Now Cain.  It’s not like I expect cheerleading, but their nitpicking and seriously just making crap up is unacceptable.  In the end if Cain does get the nomination I bet you that they pull a Rove and go full frontal on him.  In fact, I bet O’Donnell will end up being glad they didn’t go that far with her.  Then after all the pink on red violence they’ll sit back and tell us how awful our candidate was because they didn’t win.  Well duh senior idiot, it’s hard to stand when the people who are supposed to be behind you are shooting into your back. 

    The best thing that will come of this is the complete and total destruction of the Republican party.  You realize that once the country clubbers pull their stunt then us middle Americans are going to be done with them.  We’ve been done with them and it was only because their last dying breath was we’re sorry that they’re back and even given a chance.  I think a lot of us are done with the whole 2 sides fighting each other and then winking and slipping out back to celebrate together how much of our freedoms they’ve flushed down the toilet today while everyone was distracted on their little side show.  I’m only voting principles now.

  27. Anonymous
    October 30th, 2011 @ 10:57 pm

    Perry has always been a terrible debater.

    He never had a tough race until the last one.  He would have been beaten by the Tea Party candidate had she not have seemed to have an open mind to Truthers.

  28. Anonymous
    October 30th, 2011 @ 11:42 pm

    Sure, but what did Perry and Bachmann have in common?

    Neither one did well in these stupid, pretend “debates.”

    Rudy, like Perry on “borders”, just couldn’t articulate a firm position on several issues. Fred always looked and sounded like he would rather be getting root canal than be at the podium heading a campaign.

    Cain hasn’t done either of those things. Folks like to call his positions “unclear” because of odd statements in interviews, but he always comes back with a clear, unequivocal position. Rudy NEVER did, Perry hasn’t (borders), and Romney refuses (Ronmeycare).

  29. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 12:00 am

    You comment would be the perfect reply to a guy wanting to vote for Bo Gritz over George H.W. Bush in 1992.

    But a Dole, Bush, and McCain later, a LOT of people have had enough of this crap.

    And screw the stupid “purity” meme. People are sick of this “electable Republican” BS that always ends up with some guy who makes John F. Kennedy look like a Goldwater Conservative by comparison. Who the hell needs purity? Howbout just a regular Conservative? We have three running with Cain, Santorum, and Bachmann.

    None of them are “pure.” But at least they represent a choice instead of another round of “wait till next time.”

    Reagan proved where this country’s heart is. Yet “The Republicans” refuse to believe it, or act on it. Speaking as an independent, we owe the Republicans nothing. If they manage to screw this up again, it’s their fault if Obama gets re-elected, not ours.

  30. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 12:06 am

    Mark Block said it’s allowable to kill children for the sins of their fathers?


  31. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 12:18 am

    “Higher” is fine.  Apparently though, “impossible” is what pays the bills in the pundit/blogger game.

  32. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 12:21 am

    I think you may have that backwards.  The most irritating thing about Newt’s delivery at the podium is his constantly telling folks to go to his website.

  33. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 12:30 am

    None of the gigantic, budget-busting, massive government bills passed since at least Teddy Roosevelt’s day were passed on the initiative of congress.

    They all exist because of some President getting it pushed through.

    So expecting congress to do something as major as repeal without a President pushing squarely for it is fruitless.  It’s hard work to provide cover for these wimps to repeal.  It’s seductive to act like you want repeal, and settle for something less.

    So Romney, who refuses to repudiate Romneycare is already acting like a guy who will gladly settle for less than full repeal.

  34. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 12:46 am

    Bush was not attracting Conservative votes.  He attracted “Republicans” and indies who thought that in the battle of half-wits, Gore was the less “gifted.”

    Clearly they have been proven correct.

    But Bush wiped out the Conservatives in the primaries thanks to the same kind of crap the beltway types and eastern elites are trying now, with Romney.  Unlike today, where we have Romney Perry and Huntsman representing the statists, back then we had McCain and Bush duking it out, with a whole roster of nobodies, including Herman Cain, watching them hog the spotlight.

    The conservatives that were doing the best back then were Buchanan (who doesn’t like Israel),  Steve Forbes, and Orrin Hatch.  None of those folks were as good a candidate as Bachmann, Cain, and Santorum are today, for a host of reasons.

    So the squish won in the primaries then, because the only conservatives running couldn’t break through like Herman Cain has, today.

  35. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 12:50 am

    Principles?  That only leads to  responsibility.

  36. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 3:14 am

    I know we need to rebuild from the bottom up. The problem there is it takes a leader to get it done.

    We need some leaders who push for reform in the schools on a regular basis. Someone with the visibility of Cain or Palin on the populist radar, but with some actual office. Otherwise you’ve just got another talk-radio personality.

    When Reagan won election, we saw the rise of the Heritage Foundation, and they made an impact on a lot of areas. We saw changes related to federal funding of abortion, and other areas that do affect the local community. After about six years of Reagan, though, that impulse died down, and the big money folks on the left started reorganizing. They came into stature during Clinton’s terms in office, and they still hold sway, because “W” ignored his leadership of the party, and of the heart of the country.

    He did a great job getting the military invested in the war against the jihadis, but he let us down as a national leader.

    That’s actually an important consideration people keep ignoring in this primary season. What’s the point of getting a nominee that might do the same thing to us that “W” did? Of the candidates running, I only see Cain, Bachmann, Santorum, and maybe Perry doing anything like leading a return to greatness. And frankly, I think Santorum isn’t going to be there, so it’s Cain, Bachmann, and maybe Perry.

    Newt has some fantastic ideas. Some are fantastic conservative ideas, and some, unfortunately are fantastic junk science, big-government ideas. I don’t trust him to totally push for repeal of Obamacare. I don’t see him as leading a reform in the schools and local town councils, like say, a Sarah Palin would.

  37. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 3:28 am

    Sadly, that last line is true.  It’s like we have to go Cloward-Piven on the Republicans for their own good.

    Reminds me of a great line from Caddyshack: “You’ll get nothing and like it!”

  38. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 3:29 am

    Did you just say “Secretary Of State Project?”

    Yes, I think you did.

  39. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 3:35 am

    The Perry interview with Chris Wallace is a very good one.  Go watch it at TheRightScoop.   None of the candidates we have are “dumb.”  Not one.

    Perry handled Wallace’s grilling very, very well.

    If he can be “that guy” during the debates, he’ll get back up in the polls.  Remember, with Cain leading at 20-something percent, that means 70-something percent of those polled don’t have clear preference yet.

  40. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 3:36 am

    Ughh.  Reminds me. That was a bad moment for the Tea Party.

  41. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 3:38 am

    I don’t recall anyone lauding his debate skills.  I do recall many pointing out he was great in several interviews, and a few speeches.

    I think his interviews are what got people excited about $imploring$ him to run.

  42. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 3:40 am

    And we all know where they come from, now.

  43. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 3:42 am

    You’ll have to buy him dinner and drinks, first.

  44. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 3:48 am

    That’s arithmetically challenged of Newt, and again makes me worry about the man. He’s great with history and “Civics,” but he’s terrible at science, and evidently, math.

    If you see your overall taxes go down, you won’t care where they are sucking the money from.  Especially since costs of products would also go down, despite the sales tax.

    I am totally against the NST part of 999, but whether or not states have zero, low, medium, or high sales tax doesn’t impact the acceptability of it one bit.

  45. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 3:59 am

    I forgot the other thing: The millstone is that at EVERY debate, Obama will thank Mitt, probably several times, for coming up with the structure used in Obamacare.

    Mitt absolutely cannot defend against that, I don’t care if he somehow downloaded every ounce of GK Chesterton, Lord Monckton, Mark Levin, Augustine, Aquinas, and Locke directly into his brain.  It’s a free hit for Obama, for ten points, every time he uses it.

    Because of that millstone, Mitt is as unelectable as Lyndon LaRouche.

    There, I said it! /Levin-mode

  46. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 4:13 am

    I ‘m afraid we all get like that from time to time.

    Stupid happens.  There’s so damn much of it, that it finds a way to fit into even the smartest of people’s lives.  Let’s try it like this:

       Stupid has a way of making space in your calendar,
       even when you’re fully booked.