Herman Cain

Do the surprise victories of Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell in the 2010 Senate Republican primaries mean that seemingly fringe candidates like Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, or even Ten Commandments judge Roy Moore have a chance? That’s what many pundits have been saying.

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Here's Herman Cain explaining what I think is the heart of his appeal to the right: The African American radio talk show host said that his own campaign takes the race card off the table. “It takes it off the table,” he said. “The Obama administration... they selectively played the race card and they selectively played the class warfare card. Whenever someone disagrees with the president, oh it must be race and I have some seen people do this -- which is just ridiculous.” What is the evidence that the Obama administration plays the race card any time somebody disagrees with it?

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The Cain Train

Among the many striking features of Georgia-based radio talk show host Herman Cain’s presidential announcement speech in Atlanta on May 21, the most surreal was to hear an African-American in front of a heavily white audience of hard-core conservatives, at a site within shouting distance of the Martin Luther King Center, end his remarks by declaring, “When Herman Cain is president, we will finally be able to say, ‘Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, America is free at last.’” Cain’s decision to appropriate those famous words from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is in many ways char

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A striking thing about the press coverage of the Republican presidential nomination contest is that it assumes a field that sits far to the left of the Republican electorate. Conventional wisdom-meister Mark Halperin tabs Mitt Romney, who is both ideologically and religiously unacceptable to large segments of the party base, as the runaway front-runner.

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Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate in South Carolina basically consisted of one actual, viable politician who could conceivably win a presidential election—Tim Pawlenty—standing alongside a bunch of fifth-tier candidates who had no hope: Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, and Gary Johnson. Indeed, by about halfway through the debate, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) had blasted out three long “fact-check” e-mails addressing things Pawlenty had said, while completely ignoring everyone else.

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In response to Herman Cain's declaration that he would never appoint a Muslim to his cabinet or a federal judgeship, my dear friend Peter Wehner fires back: This is an ugly and undiluted form of bigotry. It assumes, against the overwhelming evidence, that every Muslim believes in the most radical interpretation of Sharia law, when in fact millions of American Muslims are fully reconciled with democracy and the protection of minority rights.

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The God-Off

On Monday night, the 2012 Republican primary kicked off in earnest. The occasion was an Iowa forum sponsored by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, which is eager to ensure that the Christian Right (and Ralph Reed, who is launching his own comeback) maintains a prominent—indeed, an absolutely overweening—place in the decision-making process of the GOP. This “cattle call” was held in a brightly colored suburban megachurch in Waukee, Iowa, known locally for having a rockin’ pastor and praise band.

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Decision Time

The Republican Party—and indeed much of the media establishment—is living in a fantasy world when it comes to 2012. To hear most of the pundits and soothsayers tell it, the presidential nominating contest is still a long way off. The GOP heavies we’ve been talking about since 2008, such as Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Tim Pawlenty, are all terribly flawed: Mitt’s got his RomneyCare; Newt has been a national pariah; Huck has money problems; Palin is toxic outside her base; and T-Paw induces narcolepsy.

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