Rightbloggers Double Down on the Second Coming of Herman Cain
Now Cain is back, hilariously leading in some GOP Presidential polls and winning some straw polls, too. Cain is probably the opponent Obama would most like to face: he has announced his intention to tax the poor, he doesn't seem to know much about the job of President, and -- a fatal flaw for a Republican 2012 candidate -- he's not white and thus cannot excite the GOP's important white racist constituency.
But his surge in polls has stirred the brethren, who explain to their readers that it doesn't matter that Cain is totally unqualified -- he pisses off "experts" and liberals, and that's what counts.
Cain's status has also been boosted by the cooperation of a news-hungry reporters and insecure columnists; e.g., stats expert Nate Silver took a why-ask-me attitude toward the candidate's Presidential chances ("while I think the conventional wisdom is probably right about Mr. Cain, it is irresponsible not to account for the distinct and practical possibility... that it might be wrong").
Rightbloggers seized the moment, finding in the new Cain boomlet a chance to shake off the doldrums of the uninspiring 2012 race.
"OK, so [Cain's] not an expert at foreign policy and prefers catchy slogans to wonkish details," said Robert Stacy McCain. "He's shown a knack for getting himself tangled up in controversy while improvising answers to questions about issues where most Republicans have well-thought-out positions..."
But so what? "And yet -- and yet -- Cain's strengths are greater than his weaknesses," claimed McCain. "Herman Cain has enormous potential as a candidate and despite all his flaws and failures he is, after all, winning. As I said the other day, victory tends to become its own argument."
Actually so far Cain has won only some polls, but that's enough to excite McCain, who said to all those snooty elitists who don't take Cain seriously, "People sometimes forget that about politics: Events matter." And a phone or straw poll or press conference is an event, just like a primary or convention vote. Quit being so judgmental.
Michael Barone admitted that Cain showed "prodigious ignorance on some important foreign policy and domestic issues," but again, so what? Like McCain, Barone saw taking Cain seriously as a boldly counterintuitive move, part of a "revolt against the experts," which Barone said had been going on since Vietnam, when "confidence in leaders and respect for expertise fell," and has continued ever since because everything America does is a crap-fest, including (surprisingly) the Iraq War that Barone used to think was terrific.
Besides, added Barone, Obama is just as bad: in 2008, he was "a candidate with minimal experience in either foreign or domestic policy and no executive experience at all." Obama had been a state and U.S. Senator, of course, and has never said anything half as ridiculous as what Cain says every couple of days, but we take the point: America is doomed, why not elect a nut? Maybe Cain can make that his campaign slogan.
Why the hell not -- Trump's not running anymore.
Though he found Cain "an angry old dude spouting dumbass crap," Ace of Spades also took time to lambaste the "elites" who found Cain unserious. "They are incapable of seeing beyond their own biases," he sniffed. "They listen only to themselves, to people expressing pretty much the same opinions they do... If you're inclined against [Cain], you should take him seriously, and stop singing the song of the 'experts' (who don't know what they're talking about) that he could never be nominated so why bother even thinking about it much at all?"
At SabrePoint, Robert Ringer said that while "I'm sure there's a lot of historical evidence to back up [Cain critics'] lack-of-money-and-staff argument, I don't think they understand the mood of the average American today. They are victims of what I call the Paradigm Restriction."
Basically, Ringer meant people are stuck in old evidence-based ways of thinking: "The idea that Herman Cain can't win because of his lack of financial support is based on a pre-Tea Party view of the world," he said. "People are angry, and the more they are told that someone like Herman Cain can't win because of a lack of funds and/or staff, the more determined they are to prove the pundits wrong."
Apparently a big part of Cain's appeal is that intelligent people don't believe in him, and by supporting Cain citizens can show that guy who was always raising his hand in their 9th grade Algebra class that he's not as smart as he thinks.
Cain has also unleashed some bizarre internet ads that have garnered a lot of attention, sort of like Carly Fiorina's famous "Demon Sheep" ad and other such hey-lookit-me efforts by desperate future losers. Rightbloggers seized on the head-scratching over these ads as signs of their effectiveness.