Cain Bows Out of Race

Saying he was suspending his campaign for the GOP nomination, Herman Cain announced to a crowd of disappointed supporters that he was effectively ending his White House bid.  Despite what others may say, I think the American conservative voter will miss Herman Cain’s populist voice in this 2012 election season.  Mr. Cain’s particular strength had been his ability to resonate with voters who have regarded Washington DC as the ongoing source of our troubles, but not necessarily any solutions.  Cain’s candidacy first came under attack after several women made claims of sexual harassment, including a over-hyped media event featuring one of the accusers and Gloria Allred, her attorney.  To date, Gloria Allred still has not provided the alleged sworn statements she said she was waving around in that press conference, making it appear as though she may have known there was no truth to the allegations.  Last week, another woman of dubious credibility came out to claim she had carried on a thirteen year long affair with Mr. Cain, but just as with the others, she has provided no substantial evidence of her claims to date.

Whatever you may think of Herman Cain on the issues, what torpedoed his campaign is nothing more than press-hyped innuendo, at least thus far.  While it is possible all of these accusers are telling the truth, my own gut tells me that at least some of these charges are pure nonsense.  Part of my reasoning is that the method by which these things have been used to take down Cain have emerged is with much media fanfare, but in follow-up, very little substance.  More, when one accusation didn’t work, more were trotted out.  When the sexual harassment allegations didn’t convince voters entirely, accusations of an affair were brought forward.  One after the other, charges were made until the mantra became “it’s the seriousness of the charges,” without any real examination of evidence.

Whenever I see people begin to talk “about the seriousness of the charges” without reference to any substantive evidence, my antennae deploy in suspicion of treachery.  It’s not that Herman Cain couldn’t have done all of these things, although some surely seem farcical.  In any event, I’m disappointed to see Cain depart, if only because his views on taking power from the DC insiders was refreshing and offered hope to people for real reform.  Whether one thought the merits of his “9-9-9” plan were great or terrible, it surely spawned debate on the question of our system of taxation.  Few conservatives will fail to remember 9-9-9 in association with tax reform, and I believe Mr. Cain deserves a good deal of credit for bringing that discussion so much attention, irrespective of these allegations about his personal conduct.

Cain was also willing to go into a forum in which he would face former Speaker Newt Gingrich in a one-on-one debate, which turned out to have been a wild success among voters who wanted to be able to gauge the candidates side by side, in isolation from the glitz and hype of a big stage production with a half-dozen or more candidates and sound-bite worthy time constraints.  Readers of this blog favored that format by a wide margin, expressing the opinion that the remainder of the debates should take on that kind of one-on-one format, since it allowed for a more free-ranging and thorough discussion of the issues based on their merits, and tended to stay away from the sort of “gotcha moments” that tend to characterize the traditional debates.  While readers of this blog thought Cain lost that debate, they nevertheless gained a good deal of respect for the man’s positions.  He also endeared himself to debate watchers in that forum. One would think other candidates would recognize the value of such debates to voters, but some candidates are more interested in winning without the voters learning anything substantial about them.

Herman Cain has been a ground-breaking candidate because he comes not from a long career of government service, but instead because from a private sector background with unique solutions to problems facing our republic.  His exit leaves another hole in the field, because the rest of the candidates have extensive government service that makes it difficult to consider them “outsiders.”  Cain said that he would continue to try to reform government from the outside in his announcement Saturday, and many Americans fervently hope he will carry that out with the same personable good nature that shows through even under duress. His announcement Saturday paid appropriate respect to his supporters, and to the country and its voters as a whole, and it’s why so many believe Cain is simply a class act. This writer certainly hopes Herman Cain will stay involved, because this country certainly needs more voices from outside government demanding real change.

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