The Other McCain

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

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

Posted on | November 10, 2011 | 60 Comments

For the past several days, in conversation after conversation, I’ve listened while friends told me what’s wrong with the Herman Cain campaign. Some of these friends are enthusiastic Cain supporters, some are not. And as I told several people who criticized the campaign’s handling of the sexual harassment allegations, “You’re not telling me anything I don’t know. Any 24-year-old with a semester of Leadership Institute training could do a better job than they’ve been doing.”

Look, I’m no campaign strategist. But you don’t have to be a campaign strategist to see that, for example, is without question The World’s Suckiest Campaign Web Site.

Just in terms of doing my job I noticed this months ago, because when you click the “Newsroom” tab on the site, a reporter might expect to find an archive of press releases. What you find instead is some kind of 1996-era “frames” format with out-of-date news articles about the campaign — which doesn’t even include links to the original articles.

OK, so click the “Press Resources” link at and we find — wait for it — a form you can fill out and request information.

Fill it out. Maybe they’ll get back to you.

If I were the manager of a campaign paying good money for a Web site and somebody provided me with a useless piece of crap like, either I’d be in jail for attempted murder or else he’d be in jail under indictment for fraud and theft by deception.

There is no excuse for this. I could pick up my cell-phone this very minute and, just from the numbers in my speed-dail, give you the names of six professionals who could design a better Web site than Five months ago, Steve Foley of Citizens4Cain published an open letter to the Cain campaign telling them what a wreck their Web site is and . . . no response. 

Nobody home. Nobody cares. Crickets chirping.

When the campaign has failed to fix a blindingly obvious and basic problem like that, months after they’ve been told about the problem, it does not inspire confidence. And this kind of problem — which can be seen by anybody who cares to look — is replicated throughout the Cain campaign’s operations.

People with years of experience in the campaign business keep talking my ears off, telling me stuff the Cain campaign is doing wrong, and I don’t know what to tell them, except that they’re telling me the umpteenth version of the same story I’ve been hearing from everybody else. If I had any influence at all with the campaign, they’d have long ago re-hired Dan Tripp and given him two orders: Kick ass and take names. They’re not listening to me, they’re not listening to Steve Foley, they’re not listening to anybody, and so all I can do is to do my job — I’m a journalist, not a campaign strategist — and try not to worry about it.

The reason I wrote that 500-word rant is because today I noticed bloggers demanding that Herman Cain fire his chief of staff Mark Block:

Herman Cain’s Worst Enemy
Michelle Malkin

Dear Herman Cain
Erick Erickson

Cain campaign: We’re sticking with Mark Block
Ed Morrissey

In Erickson’s post, he writes:

Herman, you said you’d surround yourself with the best people and you’ve surrounded yourself with Class A failures. The problems you are facing are problems of campaign staffing. You’ve failed to live up to your own standard of hiring the best people. 

Which is pretty damned categorical, and which might have more credibility if Erickson’s buddies — “the best people” — weren’t the guys piloting the hopelessly doomed Rick Perry campaign.

Malkin’s complaint, basically, is that Mark Block is a lying scumbag. Having spent a good deal of time covering Republican campaigns, however, I’m willing to attest that “lying scumbag” and “GOP political operative” are pretty much synonymous. The key thing is to hire effective lying scumbags, and the “Blame Rick Perry” move was pure genius. For two or three days, everybody was screaming bloody murder about Block trying to pin the blame on Curt Anderson, which bought Team Herman enough time to come up with a better story.

Guess what? It worked.

But if you’re a conservative who wants to get quoted in the mainstream media this week, hurry up and denounce Mark Block:

Cain chief of staff under fire
Conservative pundits and former Cain staffers are calling for the resignation of Herman Cain’s chief of staff, who they say has damaged the GOP candidate’s credibility.
The calls for Mark Block to resign come as Cain’s campaign deals with sexual harassment allegations that threaten to ruin his candidacy. . . .
“Mark Block has to go,” prominent conservative blogger Ed Morrisey of Hot Air wrote Wednesday morning. “If he’s not gone by tomorrow, no one will take this campaign seriously again — nor should they.”

No expertise is required to identify and criticize the Cain campaign’s errors. Everybody with two eyes and a brain can see it. And yet . . .

Cain’s fundraising surges past $9 million
Herman Cain has raised more than $9 million since Oct. 1, his campaign announced Thursday, more than doubling his cash haul for 2012.
More than $2 million of that total was donated within the last 10 days, as Cain battled mounting allegations of sexual harassment from his time as president of the National Restaurant Association.
Cain only raised $4.7 million from May through Sept. 30, although it was not until his Sept. 24 victory in the Florida straw poll that the candidate began to rise in Republican polls. The campaign has now raised a total of $14.1 million. . . .

For the past 40 days, while the Cain campaign has broken every single maxim of Political Communications 101, they’ve been raising money at the pace of $225,000 a day. If that’s failure, it’s the kind of failure many campaign operatives would kill to have.

Despite everything, Herman Cain is No. 1 in the polls

And next time I see Mark Block, I expect him to buy me a beer for calling him an “effective lying scumbag.”

Obviously, it was intended as a compliment.

UPDATE: Someone sent me this:

Free “Beat Obama With A Cain” Ringtone
From your phone:
1. Dial 90210
2. In the text box type in beat Obama.
3. Click Send
4. You’ll need a smart phone and will be sent a link to which they click on and a screen will appear with a choice to download an mp4 or an mp3.

Don’t have a “smart phone,” so I haven’t had a chance to try this. Let me know how it works.

UPDATE II: The proverbial “sources close to the campaign” tell me they’re preparing to roll out a new campaign Web site. Let’s hope it has an archive of press releases, with permalinks.


60 Responses to “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”

  1. Reporter Doesn’t Get Cain Joke, and Nobody Gets Why He’s Still at the Top of the Polls | Herman Cain PAC
    November 11th, 2011 @ 1:57 am

    […] States of America. If he gets the job, he’ll be confronted with much more serious problems. But none of this (and more) seems to have hurt him in the least. For the past 40 days, while the Cain campaign has broken every single maxim of Political […]

  2. Adjoran
    November 11th, 2011 @ 2:10 am

    My theory is he ran in the first place as a “message” candidate – of course you have to say you are “in it to win it” but that’s why he didn’t rearrange the book tour schedule.  He has a solid conservative message and did well in early debates, but was stuck in mid-single digits and not making much noise.

    Then he hit the trifecta:  after the huge hype before Perry got in, conservatives had their hopes up but he disappointed in debates.  Palin made it official she was not going to run.  And then, to the Florida convention after another good debate for him and another weak Perry performance, he showed up which none of the others did, and gave a speech that brought down the house and led to his shocking win of the Straw Poll. 

    All the disappointed conservatives suddenly had someone speaking our language, better at debating than Perry, acceptable to most of the Palin fan base. 

    If the organization is shaky, a big part of the reason is the campaign went from the lower tier of also-rans to the top contender level almost overnight.

  3. Adjoran
    November 11th, 2011 @ 2:12 am

    He already had a book deal.  It’s not like political books make any money since the rule against bulk purchases.

  4. Adjoran
    November 11th, 2011 @ 2:14 am

    Sure, you say that now – but when the crescent rolls and cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, I bet you’re there helping ice them. And giving Karl a cute poke in the tummy.

    Nothing says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven.

  5. Anonymous
    November 11th, 2011 @ 2:20 am

    I don’t play the Intrade markets. I make my bets individually with other people — and I’ve made no bets yet in this election cycle.

  6. Republicanmother
    November 11th, 2011 @ 8:03 am

    Tell the same freaking thing to your grand-kids too, when Mitt, Gingrich, Cain etc. continues the agenda toward statism that has progressed steadily for decades. (You know what I mean: fake Fed money to buy off everyone, Federal land grabs-lookin’ at you Cain, Mitt’s Romneycare, etc ad nauseum infititum)
    They ain’t going to do jack to undo what’s been done. You know that right? Or do you still believe in the Repeal fairy? I don’t want to shatter anyone’s dreams, but the rest of the GOP pack have connections with eliminating our sovereignty and pumping up the entitlements.

  7. ThePaganTemple
    November 11th, 2011 @ 8:31 am

    That makes a lot of sense. So if true, the question becomes, can he adapt? More importantly, does he really want to? Even if he wins, that brings up a whole bunch of other questions. Like, can he be an effective president, since he really didn’t start out with the intentions of becoming president to begin with. To put it bluntly-does he really even want the damn job?

  8. Republicanmother
    November 11th, 2011 @ 9:08 am

    should have said -lookin’ at you Gingrich. Cain is the guy to keep the Keynesian model running.

    Larry McDonald was right, RIP.

  9. ‘Just Win, Baby’ : The Other McCain
    November 11th, 2011 @ 12:43 pm

    […] Perry’s campaign for the Politico story about sexual harassment allegations against Cain – was “pure genius” as strategy. Mark Block told me that he still sincerely believes that the Perry campaign was […]

  10. Datechguy's Blog » Blog Archive » A few things you might be missing if you are at Blogcon… » Datechguy's Blog
    November 11th, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

    […] also has the line of the day for those who don’t like Block: Malkin’s complaint, basically, is that Mark Block is a lying scumbag. Having spent a good deal […]