Monday, December 5, 2011

Man With A Plan

I wonder: Did Herman Cain really think that he could have won the Republican nomination for President? Before he started climbing in the polls and making the other candidates play his game due to his 9-9-9 plan (which he had to start amending almost immediately), he had been widely regarded as a somewhere between a novelty candidate and a huckster, his eccentricities portrayed as bizarre and off-putting rather than folksy or endearing. About the best thing that people had to say about him was that he was a political unknown who was either promoting his book or angling for a job as a pundit.

He was, in effect, simply another version of Sarah Palin.

But then suddenly, he started to take off. Although "take off" might be too strong a term - "took his turn as the alternative to Mitt Romney" is perhaps a more accurate description. (If you've had anything nasty to say about "liberals" or President Obama that has seen print or been posted on YouTube watch the polls - you might be next.) To hear people tell it, Cain planned it that way. But I'm starting to think he had a different plan.

If you want everyone in the nation to be deeply interested in your business, it's hard to beat running for President. Dating a Kardashian might get you there (regardless of your gender), but then again, that sort of obvious public-attention whoring might just have the opposite effect, as people do their best to avoid your mug staring at them from every gossip magazine in a five-county radius. But suffice it to say that if you run for President, that time that you kyped a Butterfinger bar from the corner store when you were 7 will become the focus of intense national interest. And while Herman Cain actually managed to put on a remarkably good clown act (one worthy, perhaps, of an Academy Award), it's unlikely that he was really so oblivious as to think that his past "indiscretions" would stay a secret forever. But it also occurs to me that perhaps it was unlikely that he was really so oblivious as to think that he had a better-than-even shot at the Republican nomination.

And that's where the clever bit comes in. Cain may just have been bright enough to realize that his past coming to light would give him an "out," once it became clear that he was going to be unable to win the nomination - an escape hatch, as it were. This spared him the fate that has befallen other presidential candidates before him - unlikely to win, but without a graceful means to exit the race. I'm not sure that he would have intended it to get this far out of control - but just because a plan works doesn't always mean it works 100%. Of course, this is all conjecture on my part, and it assumes both that Herman Cain is crazy like a fox and unserious about his Presidential aspirations all along. But stranger things have happened.

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