Herman Cain Denies Sexual Harassment but can he Dodge the Character Assassination attempt?

Herman Cain has had a long week of plateauing and catching strange looks for his recent campaign ads, but the latest news of possible sexual harassment hush money will be a true test of his campaign’s Teflon coating. I wondered how long it would take for the media, who have been infatuated with the “unexplained” rise of Herman Cain, to finally go after him personally. Some on the left have tried to marginalize him recently by painting him as some kind of Uncle Tom that the Republican Party can get behind, but that would tend to help him in the primary.

Politico reports of the pizza don:

During Herman Cain’s tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, at least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by Cain, ultimately leaving their jobs at the trade group, multiple sources confirm to POLITICO.

These are serious allegations and even if untrue must be immediately addressed properly by his campaign. Originally, the campaigned tried to discredit the accusations but when further pressed they released this statement to the AP fully denying the reports.  Spokesperson JD Gordon tried his best to characterize the story as a just an attack on a successful candidate and even at one point said, “this is just an example of ‘inside the beltway’ media attacks”.  Well, that may be so but even for something that supposedly took place over a decade ago this has campaign ending consequences. So far everything the media has thrown at Herman Cain has had a near oposite effect. Only time will tell if this shakes down like Clarence Thomas or blows up like John Edwards but either way this certainly brings new meaning to an earlier accusation of his “fly by the seat of his pants” campaign.

 

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1011/67194.html#ixzz1cLBB8xd0

 

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Stars and Bars and Battle-scars

It has already been widely reported, but Rick Perry has come out against the Confederate battle flag being placed on Texas license plates stating, “We don’t need to be opening up old wounds.” This is a departure from an earlier statement released by his staff that indicated, “The governor believes this is a decision for the board,” -referring to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Progress Texas has been pushing this issue for months and just last week 19 state Reps. (all Democrat, mostly minority) in Texas signed a petition urging the DMV not to approve the issuance of the specialty plates.

According to Sons of Confederate Veterans the DMV would raise money from the sale of the vanity plates to “educate the public” and create monuments to rebel soldiers. In most cases and in terms of freedom of speech I prefer to know where people stand. If you are willing to proudly display a “battle flag” buy a bumper sticker or where a ball cap. But, our state government which recognizes the legitimacy of the federal government should not be used to support a movement that sought to dismantle it. With immigration issues taking front stage this election its hard to imagine a worse idea, but that whole states rights thing is still as popular as ever right now.

I just had to throw this picture in to the left. This is my friend who posted this on facebook and I thought it was perfect.

Infographic: Wagering on war: comparing Iraq and Libya

iraqlibya by Joe the Pleb
iraqlibya, a photo by Joe the Pleb on Flickr.

An infographic showing the difference in costs to the US of the Iraq invasion and strikes against Libya. The costs of deposing a dictator.

Why Herman Cain may be Able even without money

Herman Cain was right when he said Black Walnut is “not the flavor of the week.” In fact everytime Republican primary voters get a taste they come back for more. For the political junkie who is used to watching the Republican party consistantly nominate the establishment candidate there are some very interesting dynamics going on here.

Almost from the get-go Herman Cain was written off as non-contender for the Republican nomination. He was seen as a bit of a novelty and his unthreatening nature to the traditional nomination process earned him kudos from the field for his private-sector experience and his audacity to present an actual plan. The conventional wisdom is that Herman Cain has no money, therefore, has no real chance to compete through the primary season, and I disagree. Having served as a county-wide elections administrator and executive director of a county party I understand the importance of campaign infrastructure. But, in a year of disdain for bailed out banks, corporate and lobby influence on our political system and incumbant politicians it should be no surprise that voters are not looking for the guy who can buy the nomination. Pundits seem oblivious to this possibility, consistently referring to his lack of funds and campaign staff. Even as Cain surges the conventional wisdom continues to be Romney is the man to beat and Perry is his greatest challenge.  The money contest may come down to these two, but Romney’s numbers have been stagnent in the low 20s and Rick Perry has actually lost support in each successive poll.

In an earlier post I suggested that Cain reverse his harsh rhetoric of the Occupy Wall Street movement and adopt a more broad populist approach.  My thoughts were that both OWS and Herman Cain represent the “little guy” or the outsider trying to make an impact against the backdrop of the establishment. At the same time the Tea Party, of which a plurality supports Cain, is trying its darnedest to distance itself from OWS even on the most basic of princliples.  Even still, I find it difficult to believe that the Tea Party supports such statements as, “If you are not rich don’t blame Wall Street, blame yourself”.

At this point when only 3 candidates managing to garner double digit support the field is technically crowded, especially on stage during debates. Even while pundits watch Newt pick up steam from way behind with little money, they all seem to be anticipating the moment when polled voters share their sentiments on Herman Cain. I for one, judging by Cain’s bold naivety of his place in this race do not expect him to pull out until he has actually lost. Its hard to believe this will be an election about cash on hand when an “unpopular president” is expected to raise close to a billion dollars this cycle. If Cain is in fact serious he should be more concerned about how he matches up against Obama and what he must do to increase his mass appeal to general election voters. I have stated before his ability to be dismissive of criticism and stand with his ideas brings a certain charm but the longer this process wears the more groups of supporters will be in the cross hairs of his defense mechanism and his unwillingness to compromise, apologize or meter his tone will likely be the downfall of his candidacy.  There is a fine line between not appearing as a wobbly-kneed politician, which helps him, and seeming unpresidential. Republican primary voters may disagree but I can’t help but think the following ad crosses that line.

And, speaking of lines, isn’t “I am America” Stephen Colbert’s?

Rush Limbaugh said it first.

I could not help but comment on the above headline. It was displayed prominently by Drudge post-debate. What’s interesting is earlier in the day on his radio program Rush Limbaugh  said, “So their objective at CNN is going to be to make every one of these people look like an absolute wacko nutcase fruitcake.”

So Anderson Cooper will be blamed for the “catty” behavior between the candidates. Romney and Santorum got into a shouting match early in the debate and Romney again with Perry on immigration that actually led to him putting his hand on Perry’s shoulder.

Recap of the debate performance:

Mitt Romney –This is still Romney’s to lose and he will probably not see much of a bump from this debate. Republican primary voters know Mitt Romney and right they are “still in the market”. It will be interesting to see what happens when the field starts to thin out. Only then will be know how weak he really is. From the left-leaning room I watch the debate in, it didn’t seem like the wanted Romney to make it to the general election.

Rick Perry – Oh Brother First. he needs to stop referring to Herman Cain as “Brother” which he did twice during the debate. He also attempted to make Romney his target but Mitt was prepared and shot back every time with specific policy results of Perry as Governor. The debate was tough on Perry he needs to go after Obama directly so he can draw that “bright contrast” he mentioned. He must also expand his plan for jobs beyond the energy and oil industry. Even if this is ok in  a Republican primary it doesn’t help his perception as an oil and gas man from Texas.

Herman Cain-Apples and Oranges He is a branding machine, everything that comes out of his mouth sounds like a slogan and so “matter of fact”. Its great to keep it simple but if he wants to be taken seriously Cain needs to be more receptive to criticism. Everyone he disagrees with is not “wrong”. It may work as a CEO but being President will require working well with others.

Newt Gingrich – “Adult in the room”- At least thats what I think his message is. He is trying to play the role of the uniter. I haven’t heard him attack anyone else on stage and that makes me believe he may ne vying for the VP slot.

Michele Bachmann – She has failed to define her role in these debates. She gets a good oneliner per show but its not what she needs to turn her campaign around. She hasn’t raised the money she needs to remain competitive but she may still be banking on Iowa even while her numbers have slipped there since she won the Ames straw poll.

Ron Paul- Same as he ever was Ron Paul is without a doubt the most consistant candidate and regularly draws the most applause. He gets the most donations from service men and woman but dropped a bomb when he said our aid to Israel hurts them and makes them “dependent”.

Rick Santorum-  In the Bachmann camp, he is basically irrelevant at this point. The field is split too many ways for him to get the support he needs unless there were fewer candidates but I don’t think his funds will last that long.

I look forward to the next debate and hope it includes less familiar faces.

GOP candidates on Occupy Wall Street

The GOP field on Occupy Wall Street:

Mitt Romney -“I think it’s dangerous, this class warfare,”

Rick Perry – 1.) “We understand the frustration with the Obama economy, but the protests don’t make sense or help create jobs.”

2.) “You know Liberals are now pointing the finger of blame at successful employers under the guise of fairness, but when they utter phrases like “fair share” you just know, heh, they’re once again playing fast and furious with the truth. And the truth is you can’t reve up the engine of economic growth by heaping higher taxes on job creators, you can’t spread success by punishing it, you can’t unite our country by dividing it.”

Herman Cain– “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself. It is not someone’s fault if they succeeded, it is someone’s fault if they failed.”

Newt Gingrich– “I think the people who are protesting in Wall Street break into two groups: one is left-wing agitators who would be happy to show up next week on any other topic, and the other is sincere middle-class people who frankly are very close to the Tea Party people who care. And actually…you can tell which are which. The people who are decent, responsible citizens pick up after themselves. The people who are just out there as activists trash the place and walk off and are proud of having trashed it, so let’s draw that distinction.”

Ron Paul- “I think that civil disobedience, if everybody knows exactly what they are doing, is a legitimate effort. It’s been done in this country for many grievances. Some people end up going to jail for this. But to speak for a special group and say, ‘Yeah, I like what they are doing or they are not doing,’ but what I want to do is try to sort it out and tell people why they are struggling and that this was a predictable event.”

Michele Bachmann- “I don’t think that they’re similar to the Tea Party at all,” Bachmann said. “I ran across two of the protests in Washington, DC and one in Boston and they are nothing in common at all with” Tea Party agitators.

She added, “I think that if the Occupy Wall Street wants to be upset about something they should go in front of the White House.”

Jon Huntsman- Now, you can’t gather on street corners in China. You can’t create organized demonstrations in China. You can in this country, and may it always be that way,” said Huntsman. “And I have to say that some of what they’re talking about, a lot of Americans, I think, are sympathetic with. Trillions and trillions of dollars spent, with nothing to show for it in terms of any uplift in our economy.”

Rick Santorum- “I certainly understand the frustration,” he told reporters after his speech at the Values Voter Summit on Friday. “I think the answers they have with respect to solve that problem, I would go in a different direction.”

Donald Trump– “I was in New York recently where you had—I wouldn’t call it a riot, but it got—you had thousands of people marching down Wall Street,” Trump said. “This is a group of in many cases very well-dressed, and I look at it and I say something has got to be done to break it up.”

Occupy Wall Street: Too Big To Fail?

The combination of Occupy Wall Street and Social media may mark the end of the invisible hand. With the rise of crowd sourcing and location-based services it could be that the consumer actually solves the economic crisis. It would mean a paradigm shift from the losing battle of employee vs employer to “the customer is always right”.

Occupy Wall Street is a testament to the concept of “jobless recovery”. Higher stocks and corporate profits don’t constitute a recovery when states are cash strapped and American’s are experiencing stagnant wages and record unemployment. The fact that lower-income wage earners experience a recession first and recover last is as old as civilization, but this time things may be different. When the Occupy Wall Street movement began I was surprised only in that it wasn’t a response to a single event or catalyst. Now I’m beginning to think it could be the catalyst.

Some of OWS activities included asking customers to close their accounts at bailed out banks and switch to local worker-owned credit unions. At the Occupy Austin event a couple of speakers mentioned shopping farmers’ markets and buying local. There could be something to this, Austin not only weathered the recession better than most cities, but even corporate chains here know there are consequences to displaying a questionable commitment to the community.

People would have probably remained blissfully ignorant of wealth disparity as long the 40-hr work week paid the bills, insurance, mortgage and allows for modest savings.  According to a Wall Street Journal article 53% of workers surveyed said they’ve taken on new roles, with just 7% getting a raise or a bonus. People are catching on to the more work less pay trend. Most American’s don’t want to be rich, they want to fulfill their own pursuits of happiness.

if U.S. businesses keep prospering while Americans are struggling, business leaders will lose legitimacy in society. He exhorted business leaders to find a way to link growth with job creation at home. Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria (Harvard Business Review Nov. ’10)

If our financial system were not on the brink of a double-dip recession and small businesses could get loans and hire people there would be no movement. Instead people have lost faith in their political and economic leaders whose only response has been to claim the climate is bad for “job creators”.  The Wall Street Journal reports that US multi-nationals cut their work forces in the U.S. by 2.9 million during the 2000s and increased employment overseas by 2.4 million. It could be that if the current leadership doesn’t get it together and address the jobless part of this recovery the people just may take it into their hands.

What Herman Cain and Occupy Wall Street have in common

There is an irony in the media trying to marginalize both Herman Cain and the Occupy Wall Street movement. They are both “the little guy” in their respective scenarios being picked on by the establishment.  Cain may not be their most obvious champion but he would be smart to be more sympathetic tho their grievance.  Saying things like, “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself!”, could actually ‘Tea’-off some working-class stiffs on the right. Another consideration is the latest poll from Time on public support for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Even Fox News own (unscientific) online poll 70% responded,”Yes, These folks are right about corporate greed and what’s happening to the little guy.”

With little exception all sides agree there is a questionable amount of influence by lobby and corporate money in our political system, yet Herman Cain’s surge in the polls is not being taken seriously because he lacks the funds to match Romney or Perry.

Money is not always the best indicator of campaign success, just ask Rick Perry. He poll numbers fell even as he out-raised his opponents and thats not even his best example. In the 2002 Gubernatorial race his Democratic challenger Tony Sanchez spent over $70 million of his own money just to lose by over 20 points on election day.

http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/apps/cvp/3.0/swf/cnn_416x234_embed.swf?context=embed&videoId=politics/2011/10/13/jk-the-truth-cain.cnn

Anita Perry: Window to Camp Perry?

Anita Perry could give strong insight into the unpreparedness of Rick Perry’s Presidential campaign.  Recently she spoke in South Carolina in an emotional monologue about the relationship with her husband, their life in small town Texas and answering God’s call to run for President.

She expressed her dismay of the attacks by the media and his GOP rivals on her husband. Her honesty revealed the degree to which it was unexpected. This could be endemic to the Perry campaign. It follows the narrative that Rick Perry was not fully primed for the national stage.

It’s been a rough month. We have been brutalized and beaten up and chewed up in the press to where I need this today. We are being brutalized by our opponents, and our own party. So much of that is, I think, they look at him because of his faith. He is the only true conservative – well, there are some true conservatives. And they’re there for good reasons. And they may feel like God called them too. But I truly feel like we are here for that purpose.

More than 70% of Americans identify as Christian and that includes his rivals for President but there is serious risk as the nominee if he is viewed as basing his tough decisions on messages from God.  She insisted that he would have never written “FED Up” if he planned on running for President but that, “he truly felt like he was called to do this”.

Typically spouses are left to their privacy until they start speaking out in public. In most cases its better that they don’t given the emotional and personal nature of politics. Just ask Carl Lewis.

Video of Anita Perry’s entire monologue.

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