Cain, the pizza man, should be toast
One of the great mysteries of the Republican presidential contest is the continued popularity of former pizza chain CEO Herman Cain.
I would have thought that his handling of the sexual harassment scandal that broke last weekend would have dented his soaring approval ratings and raised questions about his fitness to be president. First he denied any knowledge of the two cases dating back to when he was head of the National Restaurant Association from 1993-1996. Then he played down the amounts paid to his accusers. As reports surfaced of a third woman, he played the race card and accused one of his rivals, Texas Governor Rick Perry, of being behind the leaks. Finally, he lost his cool and his minders used force to push curious journalists out of his way.
Even Jennifer Rubin, the right-wing blogger on the Washington Post, thinks that the man is a disgrace to his party.
So it came as some surprise to see that the first opinion polls taken since the scandal broke show that Cain is still holding up against the Republican front-runner in the race to succeed Barack Obama as president, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. The Washington Post-ABC poll puts the two neck and neck, with Romney at 24 percent nationally among Republicans and Cain at 23 percent. Even more amazingly in this country of political correctness, 7 out of 10 Republicans surveyed said that the sexual harassment accusations did not matter when it came to pick a presidential candidate.
But Cain’s campaign is anything but politically correct. His campaign manager was depicted last week drawing lengthilyon a cigarette in a campaign ad – an act of social defiance that is either politically savvy or an inhale too far.
I still think that Cain’s chances of making it onto the Republican ticket remain remote. His 9-9-9 tax plan has been universally derided, and his ignorance of foreign policy will undoubtedly come back to haunt him. But people like his down to earth manner. He seems to have struck a chord with the country where Republican voter sentiment is notably to the right of Romney, the stiff businessman who is struggling to connect with ordinary people. So until the party bows to the inevitable, right now the Cain phenomenon is a sign that “anyone but Romney” retains a powerful attraction.Tagged in: barack obama, Herman Cain, Republican party, sexual harassment
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