So like John McCain before him, Herman Cain has suspended his campaign. Here are some of the web’s best takes on the campaign that, let’s face it, really never was …
So once again, I find myself agreeing with an entire Erick (von) Erickson post (except for the last line. I don’t know about all that, Erick…) which usually only happens when he’s analyzing one of the conservatives that’s even more off-the normal people radar than he is. The salient points:
By suspending his campaign instead of quitting his campaign, Herman can still get federal matching funds in 2012.
But the campaign is over. Even had it continued, it was over.
I had thought and expected that Cain would continue until Iowa. He had enough money. Dropping out after losing in Iowa would have distracted from the present issues.
Dropping out now will be viewed by a great many as an admission against interests that Herman Cain did have a 13 year affair.
But let’s be real clear here. Herman Cain did not get wiped out by an affair or allegations of sexual harassment, frivolous or otherwise. He got wiped out because those allegations threw him off his game and then he kept stumbling through attacks on his 999 plan, his foreign policy issues, and his campaign staff generally beclowning themselves with allegations, retracted allegations, and retracted retractions of allegations, etc. …
… In any event, Cain is out. The size of the debates will suddenly become more manageable. Most of Cain’s support will go to Gingrich. Some will go back to Rick Perry. And soon Cain will be forgotten.
Herman, who? Oh, and do catch the winger-watching on the Cain announcement. Priceless.
Over to the fam at TheGrio, where a fellow black conservative, Robert Traynham, breaks down just what a setback the Cain campaign has been:
Cain’s run was a national embarrassment for all concerned: the young staff that hitched their fortunes to a losing candidate with no sense of professionalism or direction; the donors who invested in his candidacy, hoping for some type of modest return (maybe a bumper sticker, lapel pin, or a candidate that was on message); and the volunteers and voters who believed in the vision that Cain tried to articulate.
Cain often came up short, with rambling statements that often contradicted the material that his staff handed out. I’ve lost count of the many times his spokesperson had to backtrack on the candidate’s statements because he found that Cain would say things that were contradictory.
There’s one other group of people who understandably feel let down by Cain’s missteps: African-American Republicans. For all of the strides that were made by Colin Powell, JC Watts, and Condoleezza Rice over the last decade, Cain’s candidacy has erased some of the glow.
And theGrio also offers some helpful alternative career ideas for Herman, now that he doesn’t have so much on his plate. My vote: go with numerologist, Herman, trust me…
Over at the Washington Monthly, Steve Benen offers this smart take:
Up until relatively recently, Cain seemed destined to become a conservative star on the media/lecture/publishing circuit, conceivably even offering a justification for his absurd campaign. But over the last several weeks, it probably became apparent, even to Republican voters, that Herman Cain is a not-terribly-bright guy with a scandalous personal life. The more we learned about Cain, the harder it was to respect him.
That said, Cain remains a GOP player of some notoriety, and the remaining Republican presidential candidates were tripping over one another this afternoon to offer praise for Cain, hoping to woo not only the man but also his remaining supporters. When Cain declared today, “I will be making an endorsement in the near future,” this only intensified the other campaigns’ eagerness.
We’ll see what happens, but today’s announcement certainly doesn’t do Mitt Romney any favors. The former governor, who’s had a rough couple of weeks, benefited greatly from Cain’s presence in the race — Cain was the unelectable sideshow who took attention and support away from stronger challengers.
For that matter, the more candidates stuck around to dilute the anti-Romney majority, the easier it was to imagine Romney winning with underwhelming levels of support.
And Steve agrees with me, and with Chris Cillizza, that the biggest beneficiary of the Cain meltdown … is Gingrich, at least in the short term. Maybe he should celebrate by capturing some poor kids and “paying them” to polish Calista’s jewelery and clean the toilets in the servants quarters! It’s also a short-term negative for Willard Romney, because anything that narrows the field, or worse, makes a clown car race look more like a two-man race, further exposes his lack of appeal to the right wing base.
Open questions: will Cain endorse anyone? Will the other candidates ask? Reporting was that Cain was on the phone to his rivals this morning, and the conventional wisdom is that he is most sympatico with Romney, least so with Perry. His supporters, as said above, are probably most compatible with Perry, but since the two men are so unfriendly, it’s likely they’ll wobble off to Newt-land. All of the rivals heaped praise on Cain after his exit, in a naked bid for that support.
And just in case you think Cain’s exit makes the GOP race more dignified, keep in mind that Donald Trump is moderating the next debate, and only Ron Paul has the good sense to see that it’s completely ridiculous and undignified. It’s just that kind of year.