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Cain Withdrawal Offers Hope for a Better GOP Field

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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.

Ron Paul stands out for having the strongest combination of integrity and proven ability to pull votes. Paul is polling in the top three in almost every poll and has a powerful base of support which could easily push him over the top. Herman Cain supporters are already flocking to Paul, realizing that he’s the genuine version of what Cain was peddling in a watered down form.. Paul offers real reform, real fiscal conservatism and a record which suggests an absolute unwillingness to compromise with the leaders of both parties who have led us so far astray.

Jon Huntsman has a proven track record as a governor, an appealing personal charisma and a combination of fiscal conservatism and moderation on social issues which would win key independents and crossover Democrats in droves. He also has more personal money to throw into the campaign than most of the other candidates. Huntsman has some libertarian ideas and some original ideas and a streak of integrity a mile wide. His absolute refusal to pander to the religious right is endearing. He won’t go on Huckabee, he won’t have anything to do with events sponsored by the religious fringe and he won’t even campaign in Iowa with the compromises that seems to entail. And much to everyone’s surprise, before Cain had even bowed out, he hit 11% in the latest poll in New Hampsire, suggesting that he’s a real contender.

Of course, the best of the neglected candidates waiting in the wings is former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. He has an outstanding record in office and some of the best ideas, including being the only advocate for the FairTax. He’s also been the whipping boy for the media and the party establishment. He’s been overlooked and excluded from debates and press coverage and left out of the polls, and he’s sufficiently disgruntled he’s even considered jumping ship to the Libertarian party. But despite all that he’s still in the race and if Cain’s departure opens a spot in the primary field then Johnson is the one who ought to be brought in to fill it. There’s no one more deserving and no one who could do more with another opportunity.

While the partisan press continues to prattle on about Romney and Gingrich, two candidates who no one really wants, one a replay of 2008 and the other a replay of 1994, there’s a real field of candidates out there that Republicans could truly be proud of. After all the disappointments and missteps of party leaders, a primary field led by Paul, Huntsman and Johnson might restore confidence in a party which is on the brink of failure and has broken faith with its own base too many times.

My Republican Party isn’t represented by the Newts and Mitts of the world. It’s not a party of tired old hacks and used care salesman smiles. It’s a party of smart ideas and responsible government and refreshing honesty. It’s a party which can celebrate candidates like Paul, Huntsman and Johnson, embrace them and let them show us what a real election with serious candidates can be like. They are the tonic for the disease which grips the party. They are the serious contenders to counter the damage done by flirtation with faux candidates like Cain.

Abraham Lincoln won the Republican Party its first national victory with a “team of rivals” bringing the best his party had to offer to Washington. Paul, Huntsman and Johnson could be that winning team for a new era of Republican politics if we can discard the baggage of our old mistakes and believe in the brighter future which they represent.

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About Dave Nalle

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    As I’ve said before, the one and only candidate that Obama need fear is Huntsman…because he could draw enough independents and disgruntled Democrats that he might win…

    …and that was a side benefit (other than his command of Mandarin) of his being picked as an ambassador to China, the hope that he would be rejected by Republicans in the future because he worked for the Obama administration.

    Fortunately for us Democrats, it looks more likely that it will be Romney or Gingrich.

  • Jeff

    Anyone is better than Obama. Point-set-match.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Glenn, you can rarely go wrong betting ont he stupidity of the GOP party leadership.

    Dave

  • jamminsue

    As a liberal, I find people like Gingrich, Bachman and Cain execrable. I am less than pleased with Obama; he needs to go back to being a professor. However, I would like to see a chance for a push for renewable energy, and cease using coal/oil for most energy needs. Alt energy programs need to be area-specific, such as hot water where there are hot springs, wind and sun when appropriate. One thing needed to make it all work is battery technology, which I imagine will be a big thing if ever we get the political will to do this. Another thing is the fear the county is moving closer to an oligarchy, which has never been a good form of government, with a permanent underclass with NO CHANCE of advancement, as higher education becomes increasingly expensive. I have not found a Republican who would adopt these ideas, so am stuck with Obama, who hopefully won’t do some of the stupid things he proposed, like nuclear power plants. And, we should leave our oil reserves where they are, in the ground. Europe already has a burgeoning alternate energy industry, are we going to lose out?

  • Cannonshop

    Shame about Cain-he was always going to lose, but he was, at least, interesting to watch.

  • Clavos

    I am less than pleased with Obama; he needs to go back to being a professor.

    I agree, jamminsue. A small (but important) point of fact here: Obama was never a Professor at the University of Chicago’s School of Law, he was a Senior Lecturer, which is a lesser rank than Professor.

    He did, however, refer to himself as a Professor more than once during his campaign and afterwards.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Clav, re #6 — Methinks he may have resorted to hyperbole at least a few more times than that.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    If the hyperbole he resorted to had to do with the teaching method, I wouldn’t hold it against him. But somehow, I think his use of it was far more extensive than that — your meaning!

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Roger, re #8 — Far be it from me to offer the slightest hint that even a fleeting notion at any time considered the remote possibility of suggesting to me that President Obama ever uttered a mendacious word, let alone phrase. My absolut confidence in his total candor is far beyond belief.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That’s what I thought you meant, although Stolichnaya is my vodka of choice, the part Ukrainian in me.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    (sigh)

    Dan (Miller) – Yeah, I’ve defended Obama many, many times on this blog…but I’ve also written at least two full articles about where I think he screwed up. Please stop confusing defense for worship.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Worship runs contrary to human nature. We’re either too flawed or too proud.

    In any case, even if I made it to heaven, I doubt if my relationship to God would be one of worship. Appreciation, no doubt, but worship … That seems to reduce a human to an animal, a thoughtless slave.

    We’re supposed to have been made in His image, a replica.

    I can’t help but sense a contradiction in this theology.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Clav (@ #6):

    Although Obama was never a tenured faculty member at the University of Chicago Law School, it was and is school custom to refer to senior lecturers as “Professor”. It’s an honorific.

    So although I would agree that he has resorted to hyperbole on numerous occasions (a key presidenting skill), this isn’t one of them.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Worship runs contrary to human nature.

    Considering the entirety of human history, Roger, that’s an extraordinary claim to make.

  • Clavos

    Doc,

    If others of the faculty chose to follow custom and bestow upon him an “honorific,” that’s their prerogative.

    When he referred to himself as a professor, he knew it to be untrue; that it was only an honorific.

    It was a lie.

    But not unusual in a narcissist.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Clav,

    So if a guy volunteers to help out in little league, and over the years starts contributing more and more, like helping the kids out with their skills and techniques, washing the uniforms, oiling the bats, organizing refreshments, keeping score, cheering from the sidelines, acting as a mentor etc, and the kids, parents and everyone else start calling him “Coach” even though he’s not an official member of the coaching staff, does that make him a liar if, years later, he tells people he used to coach little league?

    Maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t. At worst, it’s an exaggeration, which is a natural human tendency and not a psychosis. It’s a highly petty basis on which to attack someone’s character.

  • http://oneamericansrant.blogspot.com/ One American’s Rant

    I don’t think that Johnson has much of a chance, but I have to root for him a little, since I live in New Mexico – I think it’s a state law.

  • Clavos

    Doc,

    I don’t buy your analogy. A little league coach lives and operates in a significantly more limited world than POTUS. What the coach says and does rarely has any effect whatever on anyone outside his personal circle of contacts, and let’s face it, he’s not held to the same standard as POTUS is.

    Nor should he be.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Clav,

    Explain how Obama calling himself a professor (especially when that’s what everyone else called him) has any effect whatever on anything.

  • Igor

    I remember some Obama supporters referring to him as a professor of constitutional studies, but I don’t remember Obama referring to himself as anything other than a teacher of the constitution.

    Can someone refresh my memory with a citation? The context may be important.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @14

    Only if superstition be said to comprise the entirety of human history.

  • Clavos

    Doc, the judgment on whether or not calling himself a professor is deceitful is just a matter of opinion; I accept that you don’t consider it deceitful.

    Politifact indicates that thus far, he’s made 41 statements that are “mostly false” (their words), 51 that were “false,” and 4 “pants on fire” lies. Not exceptional for a politician, but clearly he’s been known to,be deceitful fairly regularly. I count “professor” in the false group.

    I’m old enough to remember back to Truman; I’ve never seen a president I thought was slimier than this creep; not even GWB, and he left a trail like a slug’s everywhere he went.

  • Clavos

    Here, Igor, from Factcheck:

    Sen. Obama, who has taught courses in constitutional law at the University of Chicago, has regularly referred to himself as “a constitutional law professor,” most famously at a March 30, 2007, fundraiser when he said, “I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike the current president I actually respect the Constitution.”

  • REMF(MCH)

    @ 22;
    I agree, a far worse claim than Gingrich’s $1.6 million gig as Fannie Mae’s “historian”…

  • REMF(MCH)

    “What the coach says and does rarely has any effect whatever on anyone outside his personal circle of contacts…”

    Tell that to Jerry Sandusky…

  • Clavos

    Jerry who?

  • Igor

    Thanks for the citation, Clavos. I read it with some interest, but it doesn’t clear up the ambiguity, for me.

    For example, they say:


    Q: Was Barack Obama really a constitutional law professor?

    A: His formal title was “senior lecturer,” but the University of Chicago Law School says he “served as a professor” and was “regarded as” a professor.

    ———
    And this from U. Chicago Law School:

    Due to numerous press inquiries on the matter, the school released a carefully worded statement saying that for his 12 years there he was considered to be “a professor.”

    UC Law School statement: The Law School has received many media requests about Barack Obama, especially about his status as “Senior Lecturer.” From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School’s Senior Lecturers have high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching. Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined.

    At worst it’s ambiguous, but certainly not an outright fraud, as suggested. It was customary usage. As they say, I think every university teacher is called professor, or at least prof.

    Tempest in a tea pot, IMO.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Igor, “Professor” is not just a title; it’s a title accorded one because of their credentials. And tenure has got nothing to do with it.

    “Served as a professor” is an example of doublespeak. That alone should serve as a clue.

    I’m not saying it’s not a tempest in a teapot, but lets call a spade a spade.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Now Igor, remember that Obama’s just the worst person in all the whole wide world, he’s never told the truth, he’s got a deep-seated hatred of white people…heck, he wasn’t even born in America! How dare you defend the guy!

  • REMF(MCH)

    ^ and he’s even “slimier” than GW Bush…

  • Clavos

    At the very least, Igor, when he used it in speeches during and after the campaign, it was calculated — calculated to give the ignorant masses (excuse the tautology) an overblown idea of his achievement and position in the academic world.

    And as such, it was dishonest.

  • http://loftypremise.blogspot.com/2011/09/presidential-approval-so-what.html Tommy Mack

    Professors publish as part of their academic profession. The word “professor” sounds better than “adjunct” or “instructor.” But the question is, who cares?

    Tommy

  • Clavos

    Obviously, I do.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    good to see you are able to prioritize the important matters facing this country

  • Igor

    “Science” magazine, probably the most prestigious science periodical in the world, does not give titles of contributors at all.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I’d rather have a president who (like the university that employed him) has referred to himself as a professor…

    …than a president who called himself “the decider”.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Even though the latter is a more accurate depiction?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    That’s why I referred to Dubya as one who called himself “the decider”…but deciding is not the same as leading, as I show in this that I posted in a different thread:

    And that’s why I like Obama. Yes, I can hear the BC conservatives’ collective heads exploding, but when a man takes office in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Depression and with two wars to boot, who never got a ‘honeymoon’ from Congress as new presidents traditionally do, who was determined enough to face the most obstructionist Congress since the Civil War yet still got us officially out of the Great Recession (despite the GOP’s ongoing efforts to keep us there), who had the pragmatism to accept the CBO’s negative numbers when he submitted his first suggestion for universal health care, who had the courage to accept Republican suggestions for universal health care (that they had supported up until the year before Obama took office), and who has gotten us out of Iraq (finally!) and has been far more successful than Dubya in the ‘War on Terror’…

    …yeah, I like the guy. He’s made significant mistakes – which I’ve written articles about – but considering the fustercluck he was handed on day one and the opposition he’s faced from the get-go, yeah, he’s done pretty doggone well.

    Just think of how much he could have accomplished if the Republicans had not placed their party’s future above the good of the country….

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But the president ought to be “the decider” for better or worse. That’s the proper function of the executive, and certainly one of the necessary conditions of leadership.

    As to how much could or would be accomplished if it weren’t for such and such, I have no idea; but your guess is probably better than mine.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You really have got to realize, Glenn, we’re coming from totally different perspectives. I’m looking at all the things that are wrong with America and which are in need of dire fixing; your idea of fixing things is mere tinkering and looking to the opposition as the major obstacle.

    Hence, our standards as to what should or could be done are as different as night and day.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Again, “deciding” is not the same thing as “leading”. One can decide all day long, but even the president can’t make things happen just because he decides they should be in such-and-such a way. A child can decide…but that doesn’t mean a child can lead a nation.

    The rest of this comment is a little lengthy, but it applies to your #40.

    On the matter of perspectives, I’ll tell you this: happiness is a learned art. One must learn how to be happy…and the way in which one does so is to learn how to be grateful in things great and small, how to count one’s blessings, as it were.

    That not at all means that one can be happy all the time, or that one can be happy even a majority of the time since great tragedy or grinding hardship can strike anyone. What it does mean is that – all things being equal – one is more likely to be happy if one learns to always count one’s blessings, accentuate the positive, etc., than if one is a habitual cynic and looks at the state of the world with something approaching despair.

    Roger, I can just imagine what your outlook would be if you were here in the PI right now, surrounding by such profound poverty, corruption, and social injustice…but remember what I’ve said before, that people here are generally happier than people in the U.S.

    And THAT, Roger, is the root of the difference of our respective effective perspectives (sorry, couldn’t resist all the ill iteration) – you cannot tear your eyes away from what you see as a system broken almost beyond repair and the injustice of it all…you want to “rage against the machine”, so to speak.

    Whereas I reject such cynical arguments because I know that while yes, there are many people in this world, the great majority are good-hearted and well-meaning people…and this even includes – dare I say it? – a majority even of politicians of almost every stripe.

    And what’s the proof, Roger? Despite all the crime and injustice and poverty and famine that you read about every day, right now is the most peaceful and law-abiding time in human history (relative to population)…right now. I doubt that you can show me a single generation – or perhaps even a single decade – in all of human history that was as peaceful as it is today.

    And it’s because the human race has achieved this much that I think it can get even better.

    So if think my perspective is due to the rose-tinted glasses, I would reply that at least my perspective of today’s human condition takes into consideration the violent, bloody, and often monstrous injustices that comprise most of our history.

    Be glad – be grateful – for how good you have it, Roger, and remember Cicero’s admonition that “gratitude is the greatest virtue, and the parent of all other virtues”.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Don’t be resorting now to that silly argument — if you don’t like it here, go back to where you came from. It’s silly and you know it. I’ve paid my dues and I am within perfect rights to be making demands or, least of all, to criticize. You’ve got nothing over me to claim other honors.

    Besides, I’ll never buy your lukewarm, complacent stand on things. Call it pragmatism, Realpolitik, whatever, it’s chickenshit and contrary to the human spirit. If all were like you, Glenn, we’d still be at the Stone Age, eating shit and liking it. It’s really ridiculous you telling me about progress. Well, it’s no thanks to people like you that whatever progress we’ve made is here for all of us to enjoy and take credit for.

    Don’t get me started now, you ought to know better. I respect the strength of your convictions, but not their content. And I did back you up insofar as verbal abuse you incurred lately by some people here — what’s right is right! — but that’s as far as it goes.

    Again, if you think America is on the right track, we really have nothing to discuss.

  • Clavos

    @#34:

    To me, my priorities supersede those of the country.

    Before I was sent to slaughter Asians in Vietnam, that was the other way around.

    Not since.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Hey hey, that’s courage on display.

    When the country no longer represents the interests of its citizens, it’s the moribund duty of the citizens to do away with the country.

    How’s that for a Dantonian tract?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Amazing though, Clav, you’ve got to admit it, how the mere form of words, the force, rhythm, cadence and all of the above, the very diction, forge the meaning.

    Something to be said for the spoken or written word.

  • Igor

    38-Glenn

    “Just think of how much he could have accomplished if the Republicans had not placed their party’s future above the good of the country….”

    An example being the way the reps have created a roadblock in the Consumer Protection agency by refusing to OK Cordray for a post that was created in the previous congress. They’re trying to do retro-active legislating, which seems astounding to me.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Sorry, but I don’t buy the idea of gridlock if only because gridlock is a symptom of a broken system.

    Yours is nothing but sour grapes as far as I’m concerned, a plea for excuse.

    If either of you find comfort in affixing the blame and leaving things at that, bless your sweet hearts, but do make certain to count me out of it.

    You’re really up for a reality check, entertaining vague hopes about the integrity and good will on the part of this corrupt government.

    Again, in the words of the immortal Danton, the government, any government, is the enemy of the people.

    If you find this statement puzzling, then think of what a government ought to be like if it’s not to be an outright enemy.

    Do come in after you’ve given the matter some thought!

  • Cannonshop

    #47 Roger, Gridlock isn’t a symptom the system is BROKEN, it’s a symptom that the system is working to design specs, and preventing the passage of frivolous or slanted legislation.

    After all, if the Framers wanted laws to pass quickly, they’d have followed the structure of Parlaiment, and given the Executive the power to make law unsupervised-tyranny is ALWAYS going to be more efficient than the alternative-it’s just completely abhorrent to the nature of THIS country’s founding.

    Personally, I think it would be nice if ALL Federal laws and programmes had to face a review and re-pass every few years or be cancelled. It would give the Legislators and their lobbyist friends something to do all the time, and they’d have to justify continuing actions on a constant basis.

    Then again, I tend to think we have too many laws and that the Federal has taken on too many responsibilities from both the States, and the People, and that the present Deficit and (more critically) National Debt crises are the direct result of that. (along with the corrosive impact of foreign involvements that are outside the National Interest such as “Nation Building” and other wilsonian adventurism.)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cannon, I’m talking about the kind of stalemate we’ve we’ve been experiences for two years or so. Don’t tell me now that these developments were anticipated.

    We’ve become a deeply divided nation, and our political powers either reflect those differences or the system is incapable of resolving them. And I don’t see how that’s going to change in the immediate future unless one party or the other will be the beneficiary of a mandate, which is highly unlikely.