The Other McCain

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

Can the Cain Campaign Stand the Strain?

Posted on | November 3, 2011 | 32 Comments

Our young friend Cody is calling for Herman Cain to fire Mark Block, which I seriously doubt is going to happen. As I said the other day, victory ultimately becomes its own argument and as long as the campaign is winning — ahead in the polls and kicking ass in fundraising — Mark Block will remain the chief conductor on the Cain Train, no matter how maddeningly disorganized and off-message the campaign may look.

Many of my friends who support Herman are grinding their teeth at the endless string of screw-ups, but it’s been that way for months. I spent most of my Fourth of July weekend talking to sources about how hapless Cain’s Iowa operation was, and his Iowa bus tour in the days leading up to the Ames Straw Poll was not exactly what you’d call a masterpiece of smooth campaign planning.

Despite it all, however, Cain has now been the front-runner for an entire month. He wouldn’t be getting hit with this sexual harassment story if he was still down in single digits. So even the scandal, which all the “expert” types believe will destroy Cain, is evidence of success.

Has the campaign handled it badly? Yes, of course, but they’ve been handling things badly all along, and it hasn’t stopped them so far. From my American Spectator column today:

Herman Cain’s presidential campaign issued a press release last night blaming the rival Republican campaign of Texas Gov. Rick Perry for a Politico article that set in motion the D.C. media’s scandal factory.
“The American people deserve better than these underhanded tactics by the Perry campaign,” Cain’s chief of staff Mark Block said in the statement. “A desperate candidate is trying to steal the Republican nomination away from Mr. Cain.” . . .

Read the whole thing. It’s kind of amazing that they keep doing everything wrong and yet they’re raising $400,000 a day. If they keep screwing up at their current pace, they’ll raise more than $10 million in November.

And now it’s time for the $999,000 Iowa money bomb!


32 Responses to “Can the Cain Campaign Stand the Strain?”

  1. Bonnie_
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 9:53 am

    So far the only thing that I’m getting mad at is the Republican establishment.  I’m happy that this “scandal” broke this early and is turning out to be nothing more than innuendo and vapor, but the greatest damage being done is by the Republicans who don’t want Herman Cain as the nominee.   They keep breathlessly reporting that the Cain campaign is over as though by repeating it they can make it so.

    I do want Cain as the nominee, and I hope the polls and fundraising continue so Cain can hire some more staff who know how to handle these kinds of attacks.  There will be more.  

  2. Zilla of the Resistance
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 9:57 am

    One of my all time favorite writers has a saying that I think is relevant to repeat, “Nothing succeeds like success”. 
    Or to quote Charlie Sheen, “WINNING”.

  3. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 9:59 am

    Serious question:  For how long can Cain continue to handle things badly and keep on winning?  Does that strategy survive past August 2012?

  4. McGehee
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 10:11 am

    I would stand back and take an inventory of just who all these people are who insist that the Cain campaign is “handling things badly.”

    Bet’cha they’re all longtime veterans of The Way Campaigns Have Always Been Run and Always Should Be Run, and You Can’t Possibly Win Any Other Way, It’s INCONCEIVABLE!

  5. Joe
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 10:19 am

    Jen Rubin is not a conservative, she is not even Republican really, she is hostile.  Her attacks on Herman Cain are so partisan motivated and so hypocritical that I do not know where to begin.  Who is worse Dowd or Rubin…Rubin.  That is how bad she is. 

    That said, I am glad Stacy and others have been trying to help the Cain campaign.  The success argument is fine, until it is not fine.  I am not shocked by the fact they are slinging mud at Cain, that was anticipated and yes his success is bringing that on.  But his campaign better get their shit together if they expect to beat Romney and later Obama. 

  6. Joe
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 10:20 am

    Do you think they hadled things well yesterday? 

  7. Joe
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 10:21 am

    That said, a good scandal does show who your true friends are and who your enemies are.  And Cain has a lot of enemies on the right. 

  8. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 10:21 am

    So do you believe that when the candidate seems confused about an issue or can’t get his story straight, that’s just new-fangled campaigning that isn’t bad?

    This isn’t to say that he can’t win, but doesn’t scoring own goals give him an extra handicap?  Is he going to be like this when he meets with, say, Putin?  How will the nutjob at the top of the pile in Iran interpret this sort of thing?  Or the herd of cats in Congress?

  9. Joe
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 10:25 am

    If these “scandals” are what Herman Cain has suggested they are, they will not hurt him.  He will do fine in the long run.  What I am far more worried about is him having the campaign to win key primary states and then take on Obama.  I still think he can do it, but if he is running at Commander In Chief, he has to maintain control of his campaign.

  10. Ladd Ehlinger Jr.
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 10:41 am

    If that’s true, then what the campaign should do is continue to handle things badly. Have TEN women come out of the closet to catch Herman Cain flat-footed during interviews, etc.  Have him look shifty, have him backtrack his story, have him say one thing on day one, then another on day two.

    Maybe then he’ll vault past POTUS and get voted king of the whole planet.

    Or, just maybe, he should put together a real campaign and put these stupid 1990’s Anita Hill wannabee stories behind him. They’re stupid and will eventually wear him down. 

    Also, having a campaign manager with financial irregularities and being banned for three years from WI politics isn’t too smart.

  11. McGehee
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 10:47 am

    Don’t give me that bullshit, you guys. People have been saying these same things about Cain’s campaign ever since he first broke out, and you’re all going to sit there pretending that narrative has only appeared in the last couple of days?

    You’re only making yourselves look stupid when you do that.

  12. McGehee
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 10:49 am

    Why don’t you make a campaign ad for him?

  13. Joe
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 10:50 am

    I expect Cain to turn into Patton and kick some campaign ass!  It is time to move forward, conceed nothing, and whip his campaign into shape for the real battle to come.

  14. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 10:54 am

    So your theory is that Cain’s campaign is immune from looking clumsy and like it doesn’t know what it’s doing.  To a certain extent, that feeds into the “not a politician” thing, and maybe does help a little.

    But you’re saying that it will never be a handicap, and that just makes you look stupid.

  15. wordygirl
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 11:24 am


    You’re a class act when it comes to reporting.  Even though Cain is your preferred candidate, you are not trying to cover for him, you are being fair and honest about his failures, while still reporting on his successes and most importantly, reminding eveyone that we STILL DON’T KNOW ANYTHING.

  16. Bob Belvedere
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 11:26 am

    N-O, no.

  17. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 11:31 am

    Obviously, the Cain team needs to get better. There is not going to be an opportunity to staff up his most senior staff until the general election.

    All reports seem to indicate that Herman Cain has been nothing but amazing in handling his public appearances.

    However, his team, in particular Block, need to steady the organization. Need to come off the Messiah complex and any idea that this campaign is going to be just about messaging.

    It will be important for them to take seriously the idea of protecting their candidate from all angles.

    Stop putting Cain in corners. Give him some room to breath on the issues. Even if Cain is steaming mad and wants and believes that a message should be sent out about Perry ties…prevent a press release going out…don’t make it something he has to talk himself out of latter….use the media to your advantage and give them info on background.

    Block has pulled off an amazing feat so far. Come close to obtaining his own redemption. But redemption is not going to come easy. Emotions must be kept in check…before he gets his candidate I’m a bind that even he can’t get out of.

    Currently Cain is doing nothing but win, bit Block must be able to take what comes with it.

  18. richard mcenroe
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 11:36 am

    Has the Cain campaign said anything THIS STUPID yet?

  19. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 11:44 am

    Oh, great.  Way to lower the bar. 😛

  20. just a conservative girl
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

    The Cain campaign has handled things badly for months now and is still up in the polls.   Is that a good thing?  

    This is a primary, what the heck will he do in a general?  I don’t think this is something to tout.  

  21. Cain Camp Disarray is Business as Usual and Business is Good | REPUBLICAN REDEFINED
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

    […] the most passionate Cain-supporter on the Internet – RS McCain – thinks so; and I’m fairly certain he’s not ready to abandon ship just yet. […]

  22. Ladd Ehlinger Jr.
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

    I’d be more than happy to. Suggest it to the Cain campaign.

  23. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

    Well, there are some fairly timeless considerations here.

    These allegations stem from the late 1990s, and have obvious “scandal potential.”

    Herman Cain ran for President in 2000.

    Herman Cain ran for US Senate in 2004.

    Herman Cain is running for president in 2012.

    You’d think that over the course of two campaigns and change, at some point the candidate would have said to himself “I’d better be prepared to deal with this if it comes up as an issue.”

    Instead, Cain and his campaign acted like it was lightning coming out of the blue at them. Their story has changed every few hours for several days now, and at the moment the best they’ve been able to come up with is to point a finger at Perry and whine “you TOLD ON ME, you butthole!”

    So at some point you have to ask yourself if, in June of 2013 the White House staff wakes up President Herman Cain and White House Chief of Staff Mark Block to let them know there are ICBMs in the air, are these two whistledicks going to look at each other and in unison scream “we never thought THAT might happen! What do we dooooooooooooooo?”

  24. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

    Where does McGehee remark that mismanagement of an issue “will never be a handicap”? I read McGehee as implying that people on our side are criticizing Cain for not running the type of campaign that would include a big, well-oiled damage control operation, which is what it would have taken to respond “competently” to this episode; but that such machines have usually  gone hand-in-hand with progressive psuedo-conservatism.   

    Team Romney would have handled this flare-up more competently, no doubt. They’re built to deal with stuff like this, or at least they sure as hell better be if or when Mittens captures the GOP nomination.

    SCOAMF would never have to deal with this in the first place. But, in an alternate universe, on what basis would we expect SCOAMF to respond much better than the Cain campaign?

    And given that absurd double-standard, must Republicans forever settle for whichever blow-dried “conservative” is wearing the heaviest coat of Teflon and/or contrives the craftiest new sales pitch (thousand points of light, compassionate conservatism, etc.)?

  25. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

    Is there anything in McGehee’s comments that say that befuddled responses to bad news are or could be a problem for Cain?

    How about not being totally clueless about stuff that you know could be a problem?  In a previous campaign he considered the possibility that this could become a problem.

    Sorry, but the retarded responses from the Cain camp are not simply failed damage control.  I expect crap like this from my 10 year old, not from my President.

    Double standard or not, how often is the cover up a bigger problem than the issue being covered?

  26. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

    [deleted, supposed to be response to knappster above]

  27. Christy Waters
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

    Herman Cain’s campaign has been operating with a shoestring staff. I’m hoping that with the recent boost in fundraising, they’ll be able to get a few more hands on deck.

  28. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

    [this is supposed to be a response to knappster, sorry]

    Occam’s Razor, then. What’s more likely . . .
    The Cain campaign anticipated that these allegations would surface and be considered a big deal, but instead of planning a damage-control strategy, they decided to ignore what they understood to be a potential major problem, stick their heads in the sand, etc.

    Or, it never occured to them to worry about, or construct a damage-control plan in response to, something that they were unaware could ever conceivably be considered a PR problem? If the problem itself is a phony crisis, from their persectives, in order for the Cain campaign to have prepared a “competent” response, they would have had to prepare a 1,000 different such plans – like the time that Herman beat up a kid in 11th grade, and the time Herman got free candy from the vending machine . . .

  29. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 12:53 pm


  30. Dan Collins
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

    No, no! I am the King of the Planet! (and I will brook no rivals)

  31. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

    RSM: “If they keep screwing up at their current pace…”

    Screwing up or upwards? Can’t say I’d mind having some of his misfortune right now.

  32. andycanuck
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 10:54 pm

    Deace reveals Cain’s vicious mind rape comments to female staffer(s?):