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9:40pm December 3, 2011

The Herman Cain Show Series Finale

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The rise of Herman Cain, both political anomaly and unconventional candidate, could have turned into another great post-civil rights legend plot ready for an HBO series.  That a Black Republican candidate, no doubt, managed an unseen, who-would’ve-thunk-that and meteoric rise to election year glory is enough to promise several biographies and speculative political thrillers.

But, in the end, today’s announcement that he was “suspending” his campaign (a trite euphemism candidates use to engineer “graceful” exits) proved how undignified a show this had become in the first place.

And, before you go further – no.  Not because Cain is a Black Republican conservative.  That is to some degree irrelevant from the point here.

It’s the sheer silliness and tap-dance way in which he rose to the top.  Unconventional, yeah, is cool. But, unconventional without a vision or any clear sense of next step is exactly what one Republican strategist called it: a “sitcom.”  And, why did it have to be the Black man, the Black Republican that made it look more like an improbable scene out of Good Times?  It wasn’t so much the sexual harassment charges or the allegations of an affair.  It was after so many gimmick-ridden mentions of 9-9-9, or how he found comfort in a somewhat celebrated ignorance of foreign policy.

For a man that so much derided “brainwashed” Black people for hanging out on a “Democrat plantation,” he sure had fit in to a plantation of his own creation, a festive wonderland of ready-made stereotypes.  The bumbling, testy and hardheaded Black man easy to both scorn and use as cultural play dolls.  Minus a battered Celie in The Color Purple, Cain was becoming Mr.

And he did it in a Republican presidential primary – pretty much the last place we’d want him to do it.

Even the ending of the show was … well … a show.  He couldn’t simply say “I’m done” and bow out, or just spare us the insipid madness of more TMZ gossip. Still, Cain actually managed the ending better than he managed the entire crisis – the dysfunction and disarray since speculation began that he might quit seemed oddly coordinated.

He had to be predictably defiant about it, crowd-testing the audience outside the fresh new Atlanta campaign headquarters that he’ll have to shut down.  Poking around in his speech for call-and-response so he could figure out where his future will end up without Ginger White lurking around in it.  He could’ve written a book about it.  He could’ve been a political sensation worth studying.  Now, he’s just blog fodder.  And, he’s lucky if 20 years from now his name will even matter.



About the Author

Charles Ellison
Charles D. Ellison, Managing Editor for Politic365.com, Washington Correspondent for The Philadelphia Tribune and a weekly political analyst providing insight on WDAS-FM (Philadelphia), WVON-AM (Chicago) and KSRO-AM (Sonoma County, CA). He is author of the critically-acclaimed urban political thriller TANTRUM. More information can be found at http://www.cdellison.com




 
 

 
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4 Comments


  1. [...] The Herman Cain Show Series FinalePolitic365The rise of Herman Cain, both political anomaly and unconventional candidate, could have turned into another great post-civil rights legend plot ready for an HBO series. That a Black Republican candidate, no doubt, managed an unseen, … [...]


  2. Amen! Amen and Amen! I just replied to the antithesis to this piece, an insidious characterization of Cain's exit as conspiracy! Read if you have time: http://www.mikecornelison.com/the-cheerleaders-fo…. Had I waited just a moment longer I would have been able to avoid wasting my time responding. Excellent analysis Charles; I applaud you for this!


  3. [...] The Herman Cain Show Series FinalePolitic365The rise of Herman Cain, both political anomaly and unconventional candidate, could have turned into another great post-civil rights legend plot ready for an HBO series. That a Black Republican candidate, no doubt, managed an unseen, …Intrigue-mongering is the real scandalSpikedRace: The Ultimate Weapon of the LeftAmerican ThinkerMore From this AuthorNew Republic (blog)all 9,058 news articles » [...]


  4. On what lost Herman Cain's front-runner status:

    It was not the stories of infidelity and harassment that lost his front runner status. It was the exposure of his ineptitude as a candidate and his inability to honestly answer ANYTHING – from harassment allegations, to what the hell 9-9-9 really meant – that lost it for him. He buckled under the pressure he brought upon himself, that he yet did not anticipate coming his way. It's bizarre that we live in a society where people can be so lacking in self awareness, but be so ego maniacal that such a counter intuitive turn of events could even take place. He never wanted to be front-runner, but his ego, and our society's inclination to find comfort in celebrating mediocrity and simplicity of intellect (i.e. "elite" is somehow a pejorative term) made it a very unreal reality. Meh!



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