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Opinion Pain but no gain for ex-candidate Herman Cain

Presidential Hopefuls for $800. (Jeopardy TV show in the year 2042). This Republican candidate had notoriety for his catch phrase of “9-9-9.” The hypothetical game show reference may constitute the entirety of Herman Cain's “legacy.” Last week Cain “suspended” his quest for Republican presidential nomination and along with that came a suspension of a stream of amusing quips from the man who says “America needs to get a sense of humor.”

In a way, Herman Cain is a caricature of the composite American political candidate. The candidate has a good of sense of humor, and can tell a joke. They espouse the concept of rugged individualism while not forgetting the importance and appreciation of community and country. Their faith is out in the open and in time, so is a sex scandal or two.

Cain's candidacy played like a mockumentary – a parody of itself. In that sense it was difficult to poke fun when the candidate did such a better job of doing that. In a magazine interview, Cain said, “The more toppings a man has on his pizza, I believe the more manly he is ... A manly man don’t want it piled high with vegetables! He would call that a sissy pizza.” Not quite the style of Thomas Jefferson – more like George Jefferson, but interesting none the less. Cain suggested an electrified fence between the U.S. and Mexico (nothing to do with baking pizza) but quickly took the “I was only kidding” defense about the fence when pressed for details.

His reported history of sexual indiscretions that ended his candidacy never made it into This is Herman Cain! My Road to the White House. Perhaps, if he had predicted in his book that various women would conspire to prevent America from a Cain presidency, he could have added prophet to his list of credentials. In his book, Cain starts off by stating that he is a “no-nonsense person” with a “straight-from-the-heart approach.” Experience has led me to believe that people who make those kind of claims are anything but.

It’s possible that Cain never expected to be a contender and only saw the campaign as a venue to promote himself and his business interests - which is fine. He had no need to worry about those proverbial skeletons in his closet because no one would be looking. However, the Republican race turned into a whack-a-mole game. Each time a front runner popped up, they got bopped on the head and a new one took its place. Cain, thanks in part to the 9-9-9 slogan, stayed in rotation long enough to get his chance to serve as a target.

However, Cain shares another characteristic of the composite America political candidate – arrogance and contempt for the electorate. Nobody was going to touch him, because after all - he’s Herman Cain. Of course, now that he is out of the race, his former opponents have given praise to him, hoping that their “from-the-heart approach” will comfort Cain and especially his former supporters. The remaining field of candidates certainly desire a lot more than being tomorrow’s trivia question.


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