Tuesday, November 08, 2011


I guess I'm interested in Herman Cain's press conference this afternoon, though it's just going to be a long series of evasions, lectures on journalistic ethics, folksy catchphrases, vague generalities, and self-refuting nonsense. The least dull moment will be the inevitable gag question from the Howard Stern plant.

It seems clear to me that Cain's going to stay in until they find the proverbial live boy or a dead girl, or until there's a police report or an in flagrante videotape. And a lot of his fan base is going to stick with him. It's a litmus test now.

But I don't think all of his fan base is going to stick with him -- and that means the numbers may be working out ideally for Mitt Romney. If the crazies were sane, they'd flee Cain in droves -- and then they'd find a new champion by the time voting starts. If 100% of them were delusional, Cain's numbers wouldn't even inch down.

But I think they're on the verge of inching down -- the latest round of polls seems to suggest that he's cresting -- which would mean that, if Cain's been neck-and-neck with Romney, he's in the process of losing just enough support that he won't win Iowa or South Carolina or Nevada, and won't come close enough to Romney in New Hampshire to embarrass him ... but not enough support that he'll be replaced by some other anti-Romney. Which would mean that Romney will coast to the nomination.


On the other hand, maybe Cain endures because the crazy base sees him not only as their champion but as a genuinely nice guy, a genial old grandfather (or, given the age demographics of the GOP base, a genial generational peer). The wingers love attack dogs, but I think they like to think their attack dogs are nice -- and Cain has been able to sell himself as nice all this time.

Reagan, even though he larded an anti-Democrat, anti-liberal, or anti-government attack into virtually every paragraph of every speech he gave, was always seen by the base as "nice." Ditto first-term George W. Bush, even though the rest of us saw a peevish partisan. Ask your O'Reilly-loving grandparents: I bet they savor those moments when BillO's voice gets low and throaty and almost whispery, and I bet they think he's a really nice person. Hannity, too.

Maybe Gingrich and Santorum can't fully capitalize on Cain's troubles because the frequently fooled base isn't fooled about their personalities: the base knows they aren't "nice." Rick Perry is irrelevant to this discussion -- he lost the lead when the base learned about his conservatively incorrect positions on immigration and HPV, so it was never a question of whether he was seen as "nice" (I think he was when he briefly held the lead) -- but what happened to Michele Bachmann? Wasn't she the partisan warrior who was the embodiment of Minnesota Nice?

I wonder if the reason she started slipping was that she (in her fashion) tried to come off as too presidential -- seemingly serious about issues, seemingly in command of the facts. By comparison, look at Herman Cain -- he never worries about whether he seems to know what the hell he's talking about, as long people like him. And that's working. Maybe Bachmann should have maintained a gee-golly-gosh scatterbrained-housewife affect. I think she'd be doing better. The base loves dumb.

1 comment:

c u n d gulag said...

Their base love dumb because they are dumb.

They want a candidate they can have a beer with.
And if the fucking moron can't even find his/her mouth, well, that seals the deal! That them there cadidate's Presidential material!!!