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    “Is Herman Cain ready for prime time?”

    “Is Herman Cain ready for prime time?”

    That’s the question David Mark at Politico’s Arena forum asks, with this explanation:

    Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s shifting responses to allegations of sexual harassment dating to his time as president of the National Restaurant Association have left his campaign reeling.

    Has Cain’s campaign done itself politically mortal harm by not delivering a clear and consistent response to the original POLITICO story? Or might this episode actually help Cain by creating sympathy among conservatives over investigative reporting by “liberal media”?

    As you know, although I have been critical of Politico’s news operations, I joined Politico’s Arena so that my voice could be heard there.  Here is my answer at Politico:

    There is no question that Cain fumbled the initial handling of the story. He lacks the communications team needed to deal with the type of scrutiny some presidential candidates receive.

    That said, the way in which POLITICO rolled out the story, structured for a Monday morning news frenzy with vague allegations seemingly intended to smoke out the story rather than report it, and teams of reporters ready to appear on every cable show that would have them, transformed the story into an attempt to take down a candidate not report. POLITICO seemed just a bit too joyful.

    That POLITICO’s coverage now focuses on the inconsistencies from the Cain campaign in the opening hours, rather than on the facts some of which POLITICO apparently refuses to disclose, feeds into a narrative that is helpful for Cain: He is the target of a mainstream media that scrutinizes the lives of conservative candidates with joyful abandon yet steers clear of similar inquiry into the life and associations of Barack Obama.


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    katiejane | November 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Republicans confuse me – we complain about how all the political insiders have screwed things up, how they’ve used and abused us but when someone with values runs, someone we can identify with, someone who is not a career politician, we all get flustered because he’s not the glib lying slick politician we’ve always had. If being slick at twisting to deflect every question is what we want – how come we’re not running Karl Rove?

      Owen J in reply to katiejane. | November 1, 2011 at 7:47 pm

      There’s no confusion. Being a nice honest charming guy is not the same thing as being competent.

      Cain has a lot of good qualities, but he has not yet demonstrated that he has the qualities necessary to be a good president.

      That Cain appears to be in difficulties because he is not “good liar” and a “slick politician” is a common refrain, and may relieve some frustration, but if seriously indulged in, it is also naive and self-defeating.

      Comparing Cain’s demonstrated political skills to Palin’s is instructive in this regard.

    GrumpyOne | November 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    As I’ve said before, the Democrat attack machine is being warmed up for the campaign season ahead. They cannot win from facts since all the facts are against them so fabrication is the liberals tool of choice.

    Hopefully, it will only increase the will of those who support Mr. Cain. How refreshing it is to have a non-politician in the presidential contender line up.

    March On!

    […] awarded to William Jacobson, holder of the John Adams Chair for Legal Insurrection, for this skilled evisceration of Politico, specifically, and the Winston Smith Media, in general: There is no question that […]

    2nd Ammendment Mother | November 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    It occurs to me that Politico might have picked the wrong scandal. Back during Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill – the subject of suing for sexual harassment was shiny and new. That someone would put their personal life “out there” in public view had to mean that the charges were very serious and egregious. Since then, the public has seen far too many people abuse the charge with vague claims that were openly a pursuit of financial gain or revenge. Add to that the fact that it’s pretty likely, that the average citizen knows someone who has been the victim of a frivolous lawsuit along with the media’s “ho hum” attitude towards John Edwards and Bill Clinton’s peccadilloes. Therefore, we start out pretty skeptical of claims like these.

    Nothing worse than the morning news, kids gettign ready for school – and on comes the Clinton coverage – semen on the dress, phone sex… and the questions asked at press conferences with foreign leaders.

    Clinton knew how to lie – and lie and lie.

    Cain’s problem is – he doesn’t. So Politico will rape him.

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