The Other McCain

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VIDEO: ‘Herman Cain Reminds Me of Ronald Reagan,’ Says Iowa Farmer

Posted on | November 15, 2011 | 37 Comments

During my visit to Iowa in August, I met and interviewed former Iowa Farm Bureau chief Dean Kleckner, who is featured in Herman Cain’s Iowa ad that began airing last week:

NBC News reported:

Unlike Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who have been running TV ads on local stations in Iowa, Cain’s 60-second ad began airing on cable — FOX News Channel to be exact.
“The new television ad is a result of the strong fundraising that has occurred over the last ten days,” Steve Grubbs, Cain’s Iowa chairman, told NBC News. “Our supporters are rallying to Herman Cain’s defense and that means we will be able to take our message directly to voters.”
The ad has three Iowa farmers and one former farmer discussing how EPA regulations are hurting their business amidst scenes of farmland and other Iowa landmarks.
“Over-regulation is killing the American farmer. I think Herman Cain is the answer,” retired farmer Dean Kleckner says in the ad.
Kleckner served 10 years as president of the Iowa Farm Bureau, 14 years as president of the American Farm Bureau, and on the U.S. Trade Advisory Committee under three presidents.
“Herman Cain reminds me of Ronald Reagan and I knew Ronald Reagan. It is time to put the United back into the United States of America,” Kleckner continues in the ad.

One of my beefs about the Cain campaign — and I’ve been complaining about this to friends for weeks — is that they have not yet produced a single 30-second TV ad. Lots of online videos, but no 30-second TV spots. Which was OK, when they didn’t have enough money to buy TV time, but we’re now just seven weeks away from the Iowa caucuses, they’ve collected millions of dollars in contributions since September, and isn’t it time they produce a standard 30-second ad?

UPDATE: By the way, the new-and-improved site isn’t improved enough. For example, when I saw Cain in South Carolina, he told me he would be in Iowa today, but good luck trying to find today’s itinerary on the site. Instead, I have to get the news from Politico:

DUBUQUE, Iowa — Herman Cain is back in Iowa Tuesday for to kick off a week of early-state campaigning that will take him to New Hampshire and Florida. . . .
Cain’s in first place, with 20 percent, though Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are all just points behind according to the Bloomberg News numbers out Monday. A second survey, taken by Kellyanne Conway’s polling company, also shows Cain in first place in Iowa, with a one point lead over Gingrich.
Steve Grubbs, Cain’s Iowa chairman and a veteran of the Steve Forbes and Bob Dole campaigns, said Tuesday that Cain would speak with reporters after each of the two Iowa events . . .

I don’t want to link Politico for Herman Cain news, OK? But when I can’t get Herman Cain news in a timely manner from, I don’t have any other choice. The last time I talked to J.D. Gordon, he told me he now has a communications team of four people. What the hell are those people doing, if they’re not writing press releases and posting them on the Web site?

Is there no one in the Cain organization who understands the importance of timeliness in the news business? And don’t they understand that campaign activity is, in fact, news? The campaign’s Web site therefore could and should be a conduit for breaking news, because who knows better what the campaign is doing than the campaign’s own staff? Instead the site is posting stuff way out of date, so that by the time it’s on, it’s obsolete.

Three polls this week — from Bloomberg, the Polling Company and Insider Advantage — show Cain leading Iowa. As of 11 a.m. today, none of that good news for Cain was reported anywhere on Talk all you want about running a “non-traditional campaign,” but tolerating incompetence isn’t “non-traditional,” it’s just stupid. I can ignore gaffes, but I can’t ignore basic communications failure like this. 

A candidate’s Web site should be the first and best source for news about campaign activity. Your supporters (to say nothing of neutral objective journalists like me) shouldn’t have to go Googling around to try to figure out where the candidate will be campaigning from day to day.


37 Responses to “VIDEO: ‘Herman Cain Reminds Me of Ronald Reagan,’ Says Iowa Farmer”

  1. Joe
    November 15th, 2011 @ 11:16 am

    Unfortunately Herman is playing into the lies they told about Ronald Reagan with this sort of performance.

    This is going to hurt him.  He has to stop it.  If this is the real Herman Cain, he should not be president.  Sorry, but this gives me pause and I like Herman a lot. 

    Everyone has a bad moment.  But Herman Cain has to get it together. 

  2. Joe
    November 15th, 2011 @ 11:21 am

    I do want to be too critical.  I think Allah, Riehl and Ace have been generally unfair to Cain.   Cain has certainly gone through a very bad two weeks of lies and vicious attacks.  I do believe Cain is an intelligent man, a good executive, and would be a good president.  But unfortunately, being President requires having the type of leadership of a top NFL Quarterback.  You have to be able to improvise, think quickly and not get flustered. 

    This sort of performance is inexcusable.  Complaining of lack of sleep after you fumble the ball is not going to work. 

  3. Joe
    November 15th, 2011 @ 11:28 am
  4. Joe
    November 15th, 2011 @ 11:44 am

    I have heard Stacy complain about a lot of campaigns…but he is old school enough to say the buck stops with the candidate.  If the campaign is not running right, it is the candidate’s job to fix it (and if that means firing, hiring and shifting people, those decisions get made fast). 

    So let’s not blame Mark Block or the rest of the campaign.  Maybe it is time for Herman Cain to have that moment of introspection, that dark period of every campaign, where he has digs deep and do what is necessary to be a winning candidate.  And if he can’t do that, well then he can’t do it. 

    Am I over stating this?  I do not think so.  Stacy has to pull his punches so as not to burn his bridges to the campaign.  But I suspect he thinks similarly. 

  5. Joe
    November 15th, 2011 @ 11:56 am
  6. Anonymous
    November 15th, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

    “unfortunately, being President requires having the type of leadership of a top NFL Quarterback.  You have to be able to improvise, think quickly and not get flustered.”

    True — but a damn shame.

    The real qualities of a good chief executive used to be prudence, a plodding attention to detail, and the exercise of great care in the execution of office.

    Some changes in the surrounding world — namely the introduction of ships which could cross the ocean in days instead of weeks, airplanes that could attack the mainland from those ships, and missiles that only allow for a few minutes of decision time — changed that.

    But even more so radio, TV and the Internet made it impossible to get elected without being a snap-answers kind of guy.

    All in all (if I still held with the institution at all) I’d like to be able to count on a president to make a sound decision vis a vis “there are missiles in the air, we have X minutes to act,” but for the whole election thing not to be a buzzer-timer quiz show. That kind of campaign requirement doesn’t bring the cream of the crop to the top.

  7. Joe
    November 15th, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

    The real qualities of a good chief executive used to be prudence, a plodding attention to detail, and the exercise of great care in the execution of office.

    How does  a great quarterback or athlete get to the top levels of performance?  Tens of thousand of hours of practice, drill and repetition.   By exercising all the qualities you just listed above.   And I am not saying Cain doesn’t do that.  He does in part.  But he is weak on foreign policy.  Has he not thought about these issues over the years. 

  8. Anonymous
    November 15th, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

    No need for mind-reading, Joe. I’m not calling for a major organizational shake-up, and people who think Herman is going to jettison Mark Block are deluded. That’s simply not going to happen.

    My complaints are very specific, and involve those aspects of campaign operations with which I am most familiar and which most affect my ability to do my job.

    Back in the spring, Jimmie Bise talked to Cain’s then-spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael about getting involved with the campaign, perhaps running a campaign news blog. The response was, in essence: “We’ll get back to you.” Here we are, more than six months later, and their Web site still fails to provide basic information in a timely manner. This, in a campaign that claims it will use online media as part of an innovative strategy.

    This situation with their Web site, about which Steve Foley complained almost the moment was officially rolled out, did not begin to be corrected until last week, and while the design of the site has been improved, it is still woefully inadequate in terms of timely content. If I can’t go to your Web site on the day of your candidate’s long-awaited return to Iowa and get basic facts about the trip … FAIL.

  9. ThePaganTemple
    November 15th, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

    Herman’s Christmas looks like its about to get stolen by The Gingrich.

  10. Anonymous
    November 15th, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

    Oh, I don’t disagree with you about Cain.  I’m just lamenting the fact that a Grover Cleveland or Calvin Coolidge would get laughed out of a modern presidential campaign.

  11. Joe
    November 15th, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

    I am not saying you are calling for a major shake up of the campaign (nor am I).  I agree Mark Block is not the problem here.   I did not see Mark Block in that video, I saw Herman Cain.    While a well designed campaign web site is absolutely necessary (and they would have been wise to take on Jimmie) what I have been seeing lately with Herman is far more troubling and problematic.  I am calling for Herman Cain to dig deep and show he is up for being President of the United States. 

  12. Joe
    November 15th, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

    Cleveland and Coolidge were from a different era.   Yes the information era has changed things, both good and bad.  But that is something we all have to deal with. 

  13. ThePaganTemple
    November 15th, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

    RSM here is just one reason I don’t believe Cain was really that serious about running for President. You’re a professional journalist. How many people of your caliber does Cain have working for him? Has he reached out to you? Mark Block at least knows your level of support, so why don’t they offer you a position? Have they even asked you to do volunteer work? I just don’t see this. Maybe he’s taking it more seriously since he rode so highly in the polls lately, but if so its probably a recent thing. You could help them with press releases, arranging interviews, etc. But so far, nothing except one little interview with Mark Block.

  14. Anonymous
    November 15th, 2011 @ 1:09 pm

    I remember George W. Bush’s campaign.

    Cain sounds a LOT more on-the-ball than “W” ever did.

    I like your comments, but I think you are over-selling this stuff.  Also, Stacy is right to complain, but not so often, and not in such a windmilling and “stomping about” way (is that over the top?).  I’ve been working at the computer systems/programming/web-dev game for a lot of years, and I can tell you this stuff just doesn’t happen as fast as everyone wants to believe.

    I love Stacy’s insight, but he’s reminding me of the typical,  “guy who was promoted last year, who suddenly thinks he used to program in two days what it takes everyone else two weeks to do, and is giving his team bad reviews because of it.” Everyone forgets the day-to-day BS they had to put up with while doing the basic job.  (Either that, or they are spoiled by TV shows where the geek fat-fingers in about ten keystrokes, and has suddenly reprogrammed the crusty, old ICBM missle guidance system to make it hunt, track, and kill the Alien Mothership in deep space.)

    Sure, crack the whip.  Hell, yeah! It’s the playoffs, baby!  Dive into the stands for loose balls!

    But have some perspective, too.  It’s a marathon, not just the second half of one game.

    Having wrote all that, Cain does need to get on top of all these “moments.” Newt does need to stop sounding like an across-the-aisle squish. Perry has to get his head in the damn game.

    (Add your own sports metaphor here, so we can totally abuse it)

  15. Anonymous
    November 15th, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

    Let’s not forget that Romney has had “Top. People.” available for years to do this sort of stuff.  Cain has had to grow it from scratch, like a damned, dirty “entrepreneur” /Heston-mode

  16. Adjoran
    November 15th, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

    Libya isn’t “Beki-beki-beki-bekistan” and public employee unionizing isn’t some fine point of law.  Those questions, along with “What is your position on abortion, exactly?” are NOT “gotcha” questions by journalists.  Libya was front page news for several months and he can’t remember what Obama’s policy is?  He missed the whole argument in Wisconsin and Ohio on public employee unions and how they are bankrupting states?

    He’s been opposed to abortion his whole life, but can’t explain his position without ending up sounding pro-choice?

    The clunky website isn’t the problem.  It’s a symptom.

  17. Joe
    November 15th, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

    I hope you are right.  I do not consider myself an expert on political campaigns.  But I do consider myself a reasonably informed voter.  And I am troubled by what I have been hearing lately from Candidate Herman Cain (and saying he is not as bad as George Bush is not exactly a ringing endorsement).  This is a job interview.  And if he says enough bad things to give me pause, I will probably not give him the job. 

    Remember, I have been supporting Herman Cain.  So I am not a skeptic like Allah, Ace and Riehl. 

  18. Laddy
    November 15th, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

    RSM, I don’t know how you can support Cain given what comes out of his mouth. If he had true conservative principles, he would know what to say at all times. He tries to pander. He reminds me of Obama who started out campaigning as a lark, but due to confluence of events got elected. We all see what that got us. We currently have no good candidate which is a crying shame. Given the problems confronting us I can understand why none of the potential good ones wants to run for the job.

  19. Joe
    November 15th, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

    Gingrich is dead to me. 
    Hell, he is even dead over at Ace’s. 

    He promoted the return of the Fairness Doctrine.* He was for a federal individual health-care mandate, the lynchpin of ObamaCare.* He was practically spooning Nancy Pelosi in commercials about the need for government action on global warming.* He supports green energy projects [Solyndras] and farm-subsidies.* Even as late as this year he was pitching for more government intervention in the health-care system at the progressive Brookings Institution.

    And he has to answer for what he did to Doug Hoffman. 

  20. Joe
    November 15th, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

    It is a symptom.  If it continues without treatment what ever Herman has will prove fatal to his campaign. 

  21. Anonymous
    November 15th, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

    I seriously doubt we can put an end to public sector unions.  What we can do, if we work at it, is make it a federal crime, equal to say, wire-fraud or counterfeiting, to use union money in any way to benefit a candidate, party, or political advocacy group.

    Other than that major flaw with the PSU’s, “bargaining” isn’t such a terrible thing to put up with.  Naturally some jobs will not tolerate any form of slowdown, strike, or in some cases, a grievance/committee man to intrevene in firings.  That’s just the way the job ought to be.

    Cain has made clear statements about unions before, so I don’t think this crappy interview is the total of his position on Unions.

    He and Perry need to step it up, though. What a bad stretch for the team!

  22. Bob Belvedere
    November 15th, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

    He reminds me of Obama who started out campaigning as a lark, but due to confluence of events got elected.

    Huh?!?  Obama’s road to The White House had been in the planning stages for at least ten to fifteen years before he announced.

  23. Ladd Ehlinger Jr.
    November 15th, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

    Lying to “vendors” is definitely a habit they need to break. Smoking, I don’t mind.

  24. Joe
    November 15th, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

    Definitely.  And unlike Cain he had a lot of senior Dem party leaders working quietly (and not that quietly) for it. 

  25. Anonymous
    November 15th, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

    I think we’re close to the same position here.  I’m just a bit less concerned.

    But regarding “W”:  So far, none of the candidates have sounded as consistently clumsy as “W”, ALGORE, John Kerry (who by the way served in Vietnam), or Huck.  So I think all the carping by Ace, Allah, and now Riehl is all in aid of some idealized version of a slate of candidates that has never even come close to existing.

    Before the Web, a candidate like Christine O’Donnel could have possibly won, despite being a non-Ivy Leaguer, and gone on to merely be another Murkowski-ish member of Congress.  Not great, but  someone on the team.  Hey, we’ve got tons of them.  They had to come from somewhere.

    But now these hyper critics want us to believe that none of the candidates measure up.  It’s like they are trying to reinvent the past and tell us today is crap city, baby.  “not like it used to be!”

    I’ve been voting since 1974, and I know for a fact this is the best group of candidates ever to assemble on the Republican side since then.  So the bloggers’ whining and snark are unhelpful, at best.

    Cain needs to step it up.  Fine.  But I’m beyond tired of the snark-factory on the right, and their constant “own goals” in this primary season.

    Damn. Another sports metaphor. Sorry.

  26. Bob Belvedere
    November 15th, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

    And, most importantly, Socialists within various radical Leftist organizations.

    See: Stanley Kurtz, *Radical-In-Chief*

  27. Anonymous
    November 15th, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

    Yep.  The notion that any candidate has been “unserious” was past it’s shelf life months ago.  Anyone who remembers Al Sharpton’s run for president can see the difference between serious and “a lark.”

  28. DaveO
    November 15th, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

    For several years now, going back to Drudge’s breaking the Lewinsky scandal, New Media’s has been second only to election day radio news in successful campaigns’ GOTV.

    New media is Ron Paul’s ONLY mechanism for success. Cain will doom himself.

    As for lack of sleep and brain-wobblies: Cain needs to get on the damned treadmill/stair-stepper and start preparing his body to handle the stress that comes with the presidency. No reason for his to be wobbly any day, as the Primaries are the Little Leagues compared to holding the Resolute Desk.

  29. Finrod Felagund
    November 15th, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

    If he had true conservative principles, he would know what to say at all times.

    I don’t see how this follows.  Knowing what to say at all times is a communicator thing, not a conservative thing.  You can’t tell me that you’ve never been in a position where you understood something but couldn’t figure out a good way to explain it.

    We currently have no good candidate which is a crying shame.

    As far as conservatism goes, we’re way ahead of where we were four years ago.  Looking at the top 5 from then (Mitt, Fred, Rudy, John, and Mike), Mitt Romney was arguably the second-MOST conservative in that list (behind Fred Thompson), but now between Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney, Mitt is IMHO the LEAST conservative of those.

  30. ThePaganTemple
    November 15th, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

    Could be its not the  fault of the Gingrich at all.

    It could just be that his heart is two sizes too small.

  31. Joe
    November 15th, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

    Your a mean one, Mr.Gingrich
    You really are a heel
    You cuddled up to Dede
    Your as charming as an eel, Mr.Gingrich

    Your a bad banana with a greasy black peel

    Your a monster, Mr.Gingrich
    Your hearts an empty hole
    Your brain is full of compromise
    You’re a RINO in your soul, Mr. Gingrich
    I wouldn’t touch with a 39 and a half foot pole

    Your a foul one, Mr.Gingrich
    You have termites in your smile
    You have all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile
    Mr.Gingrich, Mr. Gingrich
    Given the choice between the two of you,
    I’d choose the seasick crocodile

    Your a rotter Mr.Gingrich
    Your the king of sinful sots
    Your hearts a dead tomato
    Splotched with moldy purple spots, Mr. Gingrich
    Your a three decker sour crout toad stool sandwich
    With arsenic sauce

    Your sole is a appalling dump heap
    Overflowing with the most disgraceful
    Assortment of deplorable rubbish
    Imaginable, mangled up in tangled up knots

    You’re a foul one Mr Gingrich
    You’re a nasty wasty skunk
    Your heart is full of unwashed socks
    Your sole is full of gunk
    Mr Gingrich

    The 3 best words that best describe you, are as follows, and I quote

  32. Laddy
    November 15th, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

    I don’t think O had any idea when he started for the 2008 campaign, he would be elected. He was looking further down the road. My idiot cousin was on his Illinois team and she had been saying before he entered the race it was to be used to gain experience for 2012 or later. Yes, he was looking to be President, but not in 2008. That’s why I said it was a lark as it started out not being a serious attempt on his part.

  33. Anonymous
    November 15th, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

    We can and must do away with public sector unions. Allowing them any negotiating privileges is the same as forming a coalition government with the cartels. The privileges they have attained are not supported by the constitution or judicial ruling, those privileges are a gift (see bribe) from the local, state and federal legislatures and can be abrogated by those legislatures for cause or giggles.

  34. Edward
    November 15th, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

    The Pain with Cain falls mainly in the Brainnnnnnnn!

    Thank you.  I’ll be here all week.  Try the fish!

  35. Red
    November 15th, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

    So why hasn’t the Cain campaign made you an offer yet Stace? He’s got an excellent resource right in front of him in a journalist such as yourself.

  36. Anonymous
    November 15th, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

    I don’t see us getting that one back in the bottle. But I can see us limiting their ability to form a Union/Party nexus like they have now.

    Absent the ability to be politically active, such a union would be seeking panderers, as you describe, and could certainly find some. But no more cash cow for one party, and no more voter organization for one party.

    For that kind of activity, they should face a minimum of five years in a Federal, Pound-me-in-the-a$$ Prison.

  37. Anonymous
    November 15th, 2011 @ 9:51 pm

    If we can’t put that one back in the bottle then we need to break the bottle and use the pieces to cut the Bolshevik Front organizations into itty bitty pieces.