There was something opportunistic about the Herman Cain presidential campaign from the get-go. No state campaign organizations, lots of emphasis on selling his recently released book, and issue positions which seemed to be made-up on the spot to entertain an audience. It worked for a while. It took him to the top of the polls in a number of states about a month ago in a surge generated by strong debate performances, but it couldn’t last and maybe it was never intended to.
Most of us who were waiting for a crash to follow his surge expected it to be on the basis of the illogic of his 9-9-9 plan which would have raised taxes on 80% of the population and subjected many in the middle class to forms of taxation from which they had previously been exempt. Once the novelty wore off it was clear that it was a recipe for disaster if it faced any serious examination.
Most probably didn’t anticipate the flurry of “bimbo erruptions” which filled the past month, a bulging handful of shaky accusations of sexual harassment and finally a full-fledged mistress with phone records and bank deposits which were hard to dismiss. It all raised the question once again of the seriousness of Cain’s campaign, because he is clearly no fool and has to have gone into this endeavor knowing that there was a strict time limit on his viability and a certainty that his rise to prominence would drag the skeletons of his past to the surface.
As he suspends his campaign we end with a sad commentary on the Republican Party which is so eager for someone to dislodge the mendacious mediocrities of the party establishment like Romney and Gingrich that they will turn to any charlatan with a good patter and the right brand of snake-oil in his hand.
With Cain proving to be just as corrupt in his own way as Perry and Gingrich and Romney, perhaps it’s time for the GOP constituency to try something different – a candidate with integrity. At the rate things are going they may be forced to this appealing last resort because the field of grifters and yes-men is narrowing and that leaves room for candidates with some integrity.
I’m not talking about Bachmann or Santorum here. I’ll grant they have a certain sort of fanatical integrity, but crazy trumps integrity every time and explains why they’re stuck in single digits and are never going to get out of them.
What the grassroots members who make up the backbone of the Republican Party are desperate for is a candidate with qualities which make them exceptional. Not exceptionally good at pandering and exceptionally good looking, but exceptional in the quality of their ideas and their character.
The irony of the race thus far is that they have had candidates of exceptional quality available to them all along and they have let the media minimize them and the party leadership marginalize them and they’ve gone for the flashier but far less substantial candidates who have let them down time and again as Perry and Cain have and as Gingrich and Romney are sure to do.
The three candidates who stand out as truly worthy of the support which Republican voters are Ron Paul, John Huntsman and Gary Johnson. They represent the highest ideals of the Republican Party, have histories of personal integrity and they have actual ideas which might solve the nations problems and put us back on the path to prosperity. They’re also far more likely to beat Obama in November than most of the other candidates if they’re given that chance.