Analysis: Herman Cain's popularity might last

Monday, Oct. 17, 2011 7:46 AM
Last updated 7:55 AM
  • Follow Government

ATLANTA -- The wheel of fortune has landed on Herman Cain’s number, putting him at the top of the Republican primary race, prompting pundits and political junkies to question whether it will keep spinning around to another candidate.

In a contest that has seen the wheel favor Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin, it’s understandable to expect Cain to lose favor as easily as he gained it. However, some factors may encourage the wheel to stop on his number, at least for a while.

Georgia Republicans who remember Cain’s 2004 primary campaign for the U.S. Senate seat that Johnny Isakson ultimately won, recognize the public-speaking skills and personal charm he exhibited then. They also see the growth in a candidate who is both better organized and better informed on the issues.

He has already participated in more nationally televised debates than most presidential nominees of the 20th Century and has yet to suffer the kinds of gaffs in them that deflated Perry’s support. Instead, Cain has been the darling of several debates, helping him to gain recognition and break from the pack.

This steady stream of debates is one of the factors going for him. Where past campaigns have required huge sums for paid media to establish name identification and positioning, not to mention message delivery, this year’s endless cable-television debates are doing it for free.

That confounds the evaluation most pundits use in determining the viability of candidates, organizational strength and fundraising potential. That computation makes Mitt Romney, last cycle’s runner-up, the most viable Republican this year in the eyes of those prognosticators.

The unusual number of debates -- at which Cain excels -- makes money slightly less important this cycle.

Organizationally, Cain has assets that don’t show up in the typical campaign ledgers. His early support from the tea party movement gives him grassroots muscle that’s less evident to political observers as does his four years in Iowa in the food business in a region where the pizza chain he ran is popular. Every ad for Godfather’s Pizza is an ad for him he doesn’t have to pay for.

Plus, this year’s chaotic primary schedule where states are still jockeying dates could nullify the organizational firepower of any candidate who guesses wrong about the order in which the voting eventually falls.

Beyond campaign tactics, consider Cain’s positioning when paired with Romney. One is the son of a CEO turned governor; the other a maid and a chauffeur. One became a rich financier who bought and sold companies; the other worked his way up to the head of a pizza chain, the quintessential blue-collar meal. One has a jobs plan with so many points -- 59 -- that no voter can recall them all; the other has a 9-9-9 strategy that fits on a bumper sticker.

Pair him with Barack Obama.

One is the incumbent in an anti-incumbent year; the other has never held any elective office. When jobs remain the No. 1 issue, one yielded marginal success spending taxpayer money on “stimulus”; the other had a career as an private employer.

“Politicians put together things that will pass. Businessmen put together plans that solve the problems,” Cain said.

To continue the comparison with Obama, one comes across as always cool yet dependent on a teleprompter; the other is a passionate orator who’ll often break into song as quickly as he flings one-liners.

And both are black.

Plenty of Republicans said privately in 2008 that they were eager to break the color barrier at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. but only for the right candidate. Many urged Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice to be it. Now, Cain could give them their chance.

A black nominee gives the GOP an avenue to attract conservative blacks who were torn four years earlier between loyalty to their race and adherence to their political philosophy. It could help the party shed its whites-only image with other minorities, too, especially since Cain is strongest in the states of the former Confederacy.

The more the national media include phrases like, “no one expects him to be the eventual nominee,” the more he garners attention from frustrated voters in other parts of the country. The same frustration that’s fueling the tea party and Occupy Wall Street is simmering with voters everywhere, even if they don’t subscribe to the philosophies of those two groups. As they search for an outsider to shake up the status quo, such media appellations as “long shot” actually work to Cain’s benefit by positioning him as more of an outsider than any other Republican running.

Obviously, Cain can falter as easily as the other candidates have who were also once atop the wheel of fortune. The other candidates could also do something to boost their own luck, such as Perry’s jobs plan to be unveiled soon.

But Cain, who may have entered the race on a lark after so many callers to his radio talk show urged him to, has enough going for him that he could have more staying power than the average flavor of the month.

Comments (13) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
yaqov777
26
Points
yaqov777 10/17/11 - 08:51 am
0
0
Yeah, forget about the issues

Yeah, forget about the issues facing the country and whether or not he's the right man for the job. Let's nominate him because he's black to prove Repubs aren't racists. Brilliant!

hounddog
0
Points
hounddog 10/17/11 - 09:07 am
0
0
‘Let's nominate him because
Unpublished

‘Let's nominate him because he's black to prove Repubs aren't racists. Brilliant! ‘
That is what the giverment party did with Odumba.

senseguy
2
Points
senseguy 10/17/11 - 09:31 am
0
0
So...we should forget that he

So...we should forget that he was a CEO for Godfather's Pizza...a company he drove into bankruptcy. We should forget that he wants all the poor to go off and die somewhere. What kind of society are we living in where people who spout such hate filled speech have any chance at being elected to anything. It doesn't matter if someone is black or white or pink or purple, damn why will people not look at actually issues, instead of a guy who wants to turn back the clock to the 1950's. Well you know what live was hard and horrible in the 1950's, and we all know the Beav's dad beat his mom all the time...I don't want to live like that.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 10/17/11 - 09:40 am
0
0
The lefty attacks on Cain

The lefty attacks on Cain tell me one thing. He's the man for the job.

mtxbass1
0
Points
mtxbass1 10/17/11 - 10:02 am
0
0
Yes Chillen, because the left

Yes Chillen, because the left didn't attack Santorum, Perry, Bachman, Paul, or any of the other flavors of the week before now, right? Are they no longer the right people for the job because the left isn't attacking them?

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 10/17/11 - 10:12 am
0
0
My point is this. Look at

My point is this. Look at who they attack the most. That is the person they are scared of. The person who is likely the best candidate.

They will attack them all (its what the left lives for). They attack some more than others. Those are the best ones for America.

allhans
23557
Points
allhans 10/17/11 - 10:20 am
0
0
It's true that the left jumps

It's true that the left jumps on whoever is leading. You would have thought he was some kind of creature from the dark lagoon if you had listened to MSNBC this morning. They couldn't stop repeating the back-tracking Cain was doing on meet the press.

What a divided country we are. Obama wanted this and that's what he got.
A woman called C-Span this morning asking why the Republicans wouldn't pass Obama's so called "jobs bill". She said that "it is paid for, the president keeps telling them it is paid for and they still won't vote for it"
I would laugh it was funny.

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 10/17/11 - 10:43 am
0
0
Senseguy: “So...we should

Senseguy: “So...we should forget that he was a CEO for Godfather's Pizza...a company he drove into bankruptcy.”

This is factually incorrect; where did you get this information?

According to Wikipedia:

“In 1986, Pillsbury named Herman Cain, who had turned around the fortunes of the Philadelphia locations of their struggling Burger King chain of restaurants, CEO and President of the brand. Cain in turn led a group to purchase the Godfather's brand from Pillsbury, which they did by the beginning of 1990. Cain stepped down from his position as CEO and President in 2002. According to the company's official website, as of June 14, 2011, the chain has 622 locations in 39 U.S. states.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godfather%27s_Pizza

According to PolitiFact:

[Q.] “Did Herman Cain turn around Godfather's Pizza?”

[A.] “Mostly true”

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/jun/10/herman-ca...

You don’t need to Swiftboat Cain to criticize his policy positions; try using facts instead.

TheOneJustice
52
Points
TheOneJustice 10/17/11 - 01:33 pm
0
0
This shouldnt be avout race,
Unpublished

This shouldnt be avout race, this should be about if he is qualified or not. I think he is more than qualified and America is a business and should be ran by a sucessful business man like himself. Cain !

55 F-100
1
Points
55 F-100 10/17/11 - 03:58 pm
0
0
Herman Cain is the real deal!

Herman Cain is the real deal!

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 10/17/11 - 08:58 pm
0
0
senseguy is funny. Thank you

senseguy is funny.

Thank you for selling me on Cain.

KSL
126963
Points
KSL 10/17/11 - 09:32 pm
0
0
Yeah, man, "live was

Yeah, man, "live was horrible."

KSL
126963
Points
KSL 10/17/11 - 09:37 pm
0
0
Thanks, BJ. I was too

Thanks, BJ.
I was too annoyed by senseguy's comment and the complete untruth that it was.

KSL
126963
Points
KSL 10/17/11 - 09:41 pm
0
0
For the record, I don't like

For the record, I don't like his 999 plan.But I do like the fact that he is offering a plan. If he gets elected, we work with him and try to influence him. There is no working with Obama and company. He totally ignores the wishes of the people.

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 10/18/11 - 06:44 am
0
0
First we adored little Sarah.
Unpublished

First we adored little Sarah. Then we were mesmerised by the Donald. Then along came a governor who we couldn't help but love , until we found out he had a health care problem. Then we had a governor who is about as qualified as a blade of grass. And now the Donald is rearing his head again. This sequence of candidates have been paraded out to us over the past few months as the best things since sliced bread. This all leaves us with the question, just who or what is doing the vetting of republican candidates? And the ultimately question is which of these candidates have sworn an oath with the tea party?

harley_52
23010
Points
harley_52 10/18/11 - 10:08 am
0
0
I still adore "little Sarah"

I still adore "little Sarah" and I'm quite confident any of the other Republican candidates would make a fine President. Unlike Obama, they'll all be vetted by the Press who will do their best to destroy them and embarrass their families. It's the way of politics if you're a Republican.

Back to Top

Top headlines

UGA jumps up in 2 polls

The University of Georgia made the second-biggest jump of all the teams in the two national ranking polls, both of which were released Tuesday.
Search Augusta jobs