Boys and girls, now that Herman Cain has bowed out, it’s probably a safe time to quickly review the lessons learned in his shotgun candidacy and meteoric rise to political fame.
If it was all an elaborate ploy to sell more books as conservative commentator George Will said on ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour” then there are instructions there, too.
If you’re going to play that level of game, do your homework, bury your skeletons and never let ’em see you sweat.
Had Cain seriously thought about all of the campaign’s rigors and the extraneous vetting he would undergo from the media, he may have prepared better or sat all of this out – take your pick. As Will and others have eluded, Cain had scant staff, resources and money and did little to hire ground staff in the key early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and Florida. While peddling books and charming America, he may not have had a clue that his bold 9-9-9 plan, out-of-the box, outside-the-Beltway thinking and business success would’ve catapulted him to the top of the GOP polls.
A man who seriously sought to win may have engaged a PR and marketing staff before announcing his campaign, and one which would – eh hem – have “settled” all his outstanding, um, “issues” and skeletons that may have been hidden in the closet. His political success clearly blindsided him and he may have gotten caught up in his own celebrity status and hype, leaving no time for pesky things as catching up on foreign policy knowledge.
Georgia single mom Ginger White, who alleged having a 13-year affair with Cain, came out with even more sordid details about their relationship. Despite efforts to discredit her based on her past financial troubles, the intimate particulars she has revealed during press interviews make it hard to not think something was truly up with these two … and I mean that in the most PG-13 way possible.
Could our conservative family values party stand yet another betrayal?
Cain said on a talk show recently that his wife would not tell him to bow out of the race but he would consider her feelings and preferences if she wanted him to end it. Of course, he wanted us all to think he was still the man and in control. You know, in conservative families, the man is still the head of the household and all.
No doubt, Gloria Cain felt blindsided. While Cain’s staunchest supporters were willing to believe that White was just the latest in a series of media or Democratic machine planted charlatans, the fact that Cain withdrew or rather “suspended” his campaign means there may have been something about White’s allegations that gave Mrs. Cain some doubt. Surely, if we know anything about sister-friends and sister-relatives, they don’t always hold back and bite their tongue. There’s a sneaky suspicion that Gloria’s friends and family pulled her aside and gave her that “come to Jesus” meeting and told her what they thought. Few women would accept their spouse giving money and gifts to a woman while exchanging text messages they knew nothing about. If it walks like a duck and quack likes a duck, it’s an affair.
When Cain told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer last week that he had no clue whether there will be more allegations, viewers had the option to believe there will be more lying women coming out, egged on by the establishment or some amorphous and unknown entity out to get him.
Or they could suspect that Cain was more like Tiger Woods than we thought. Perhaps there were other mistresses in other towns. It could only get ugly from here.
To minimize and mitigate the hurt and pain, bowing out was, obviously, the correct action.
But, he still has all those loyal believers out there and political capital that he has accumulated. With the other candidates and the media anxiously waiting for his endorsement pick, he may be consoled by the amount of power and branding he achieved in less than a year.
Other would-be candidates or booksellers, if smart, will learn a critical lesson from all this. Clean out your closets before launching such a costly PR stunt – if that’s what it was in the first place.