TIMOTHY NOAH SEPTEMBER 29, 2011
Herman Cain fever! Have you caught it? Me neither. But for some reason this is his moment. A new Fox News poll conducted Sept. 25-27 actually places him third with 17 percent, up from 6 percent the month before. Cain seems to be catching some falling Rick Perry supporters and maybe a few disenchanted Bachmannites as well. Perry's crappy debate performance has finally caught up with him, driving his poll numbers down from 29 percent last month to 19 percent. Bachmann is down 5 points. Gingrich, up from 3 percent to 11 percent to place fourth after Cain, is apparently getting him some Perry-Bachmann love also. Romney, by retaining about the same level of support he's enjoyed since July--23 percent, down from 26 percent--has moved into the lead, vindicating his turtle-like strategy of slow and steady, steady and slow.
The thing about crazy people, I guess, is that they have a short attention span. They fall in love with Bachmann, then they fall in love with Perry, now they fall in love with Cain. It's good for Democrats that they aren't falling in love with Romney, who's looking more and more like the eventual nominee. Maybe they could find themselves some fringe candidate to mount a third-party challenge (heh, heh).
I feel like Chris Christie trying to give a speech about foreign policy. I'm having trouble staying on topic because don't actually have much to say about Herman Cain, except maybe that calling an eatery Godfather's Pizza ("a pizza you can't refuse") is a bit like calling it Shylock's Deli or Stagger Lee's Chicken Shack. I'm surprised he hasn't caught more heat about ethnic stereotyping from Italian-Americans. On the whole, I haven't paid him a lot of attention.
You know who else hasn't paid him a lot of attention? Wolf Blitzer. Blitzer interviewed Cain yesterday on CNN and the headline was that Cain said many African Americans have been "brainwashed" into rejecting conservatism. But what caught my attention was that after Cain said that "a third to 50 percent" of African Americans were sympathetic to his message Blitzer said: "You've suggested, correct me if I'm wrong, that if you were the Republican nominee, you think a third of African Americans would vote for you." Which suggests that Blitzer wasn't actually listening to Cain's previous answer, thereby recapitulating, unconsciously, Bob and Ray's classic Komodo Dragon routine.