Despite the fact that Cain is the one with the major scandal that broke last week (and a sex scandal at that!), most of the political fire in the GOP nomination race has continued to aim at former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney. In fact, in as far as Cain is concerned, he's raised more money and has garnered more support in light of the accusations.
The reason for the growing support is that people naturally don't believe that the charges are remotely true and, what's more, the believe that it's a lie orchestrated by political opponents both conservative and liberal. Cain's campaign response has been to compare the accusation to the Anita Hill scandal with the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.
John Dickerson of Slate wrote a good article last week, wherein he compares the two events. The key thing to note is that the Anita Hill accusation was made in the middle of the confirmation hearings and Thomas (who was and is not a politician) had to defend himself. Cain, on the other hand, had the allegations handled years ago and probably had forgotten all about it.
The hypocrisy of the Cain campaign is that he is a black man who says that racism isn't the problem that blacks and liberals think that it is and that he himself never experienced racism in his rise to fame and fortune. However, when he himself is criticized and allegations (false or otherwise) are laid against him, he's the first to say that it's a conspiracy of liberals that don't want a black conservative to run against Barack Obama.
I say all this and even though Cain himself is capable of bringing himself down to epic proportions, the focus for the nomination has not been on Cain, but on Romney. Jon Huntsman has turned around started singing the same old song about Romney's flipping and flopping (regarding gun control and abortions). It's clear that the real vulnerable candidate would be Cain, but the attacks persist on Romney. Why?
As this blog has often pointed out, despite the rising tides of new candidates (Bachmann, Perry, Cain), Mitt Romney has always remained consistent in the top three. That shows strength and longevity. Even the Obama campaign has targeted Romney specifically because they feel that he could well be the front-runner and eventually be Obama's opponent.
So if one of the Flavor of the Week candidates (as Palin put it) gets hit with a scandal (or non-scandal), why waste the ammo? Why not go after a guy that has a pretty squeaky-clean record?
Pictured here, Cain trying to explain why the 999 tax is a great idea.
While others have come and gone, Romney has remained. And a new poll shows that out of all the candidates, Romney is seen as the one most likely to be capable of winning. A weird attribute if you ask me, but it's one worth talking about.
But if such is the case, why hasn't broken out as the solid leader of the pack and held that position? Maybe it's a perception issue. Maybe Romney has been the clear front-runner this entire time and, like a child with a new toy, when GOP voters see a new candidate (ooh! A woman! oh, wait, this one's black), they latch onto it.
But, after a while, they actually get to know the candidate. And they don't like them. There's some flaw (however large or tiny it may be) and they have to let it go.
If you don't believe me, ask Bachmann, Perry or perhaps even Cain in about two months.
The most important thing that GOP voters should bear in mind is that this whole race is reminiscent of the 2004 Democratic Primaries and 2004 General Election. The Democrats believed, by and large, that if they just put someone up against George W. Bush, they would win. And, admittedly there are some people who voted for Kerry based soley on the fact that he wasn't Bush. But not Bush was not enough in the end. The point being that the GOP has to think more carefully about what candidates the put up and how they treat those candidates in the long run.
If Romney gets the nomination, I'm sure most in the party would rally around him. However, there's going to be a lingering bitter resentment from his supporters to those that continued to tear him down through the nomination campaign.
He looks exactly the same... is Romney an Immortal???
There is something to be said about third party candidates. In the US, they typically arise when an issue is being ignored by both parties. When there's a new groundswell of support on the issue, one of the political parties absorbs it and it's supporters.
However, there's a new third party issue that's on the rise that would fly in the face of that logic. The group Americans Elect would like to put someone on the ballot for 2012, however, the running mate would have to be from a different political party and be willing to work in the administration with no problems.
And if you think that it's a little flash in the pan, think again; they have more money than Mitt Romney.
I like the idea behind this party because I like to think that regardless of partisan affiliations we would be able to come a resolution about our problems and issues. I will cite that Obama had more than a few Republicans serve in his administration (Huntsman was an ambassador to China, Ray LaHood became Transportation Secretary and Sen. Judd Gregg turned down a position in the cabinet). I think that the move was more or less successful on his part.
The one thing that I do disagree with is "Vote for a President, Not a Party". It comes across as too close to demagoguery. The reason why we have political parties is to organize the ideas and concepts behind the role of government. Granted that partisan politics often get in the way of the process of government, they are not in of themselves evil. The people that operate them might not have the best of intentions. The idea of rallying behind a single person instead of an group of ideas seems counterproductive and just as distasteful.
That having been said, I am always happy to hear that there are more options on the table than Democrat or Republican and hope that this party gets more traction and play in the media and in society.
We shall see.
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