Tonight’s GOP debate, co-sponsored by my own institution, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Heritage Foundation, will be focused on foreign policy, and, as is the nature of such events, the journalists moderating it will likely pose a lot of softball questions, with almost no follow-up and nothing that really cuts to the core. Here’s a list of questions that I would love to hear answers to (and I imagine many primary voters would, too), but that almost certainly won’t get asked in the dozen primary debates scheduled in the weeks ahead.
After a busy week, I finally got around to picking up T.A. Frank's profile of Herman Cain in this past Sunday's New York Times magazine. Read it. It is the definitive piece on the Cain phenomenon, capturing its absurdity while also trying to reckon with its very real appeal and staying power. The piece appeared the day before Cain's five-minute wipe-out on Libya policy, but it all but predicted it: "To say that Herman Cain has an imperfect grasp of policy would be unfair not only to George W. Bush in 1999 but also to Britney Spears in 1999.
This weekend’s “Thanksgiving Family Forum” at a Des Moines megachurch probably seemed like a great idea to Iowa social conservatives when it was first developed. You’d have the presidential candidates arrayed around a “Thanksgiving table,” obediently waiting for a symbolic serving of activist support. In the pews would be thousands of stolid Iowans of the sort most likely to show up at the January 3 caucuses. Wielding the microphone would be focus-group king Frank Luntz, probing the worldviews of the candidates to determine their fidelity to a teavangelical, big-God, small-government creed.
In his pursuit of a presidential nomination that a majority of his party’s voters clearly do not want to give him, Mitt Romney has been extraordinarily lucky. Aside from the sheer number of potentially formidable opponents who chose to forgo a run in 2012, the rivals he has actually faced each seem to possess qualities that cast Romney’s own shortcomings in a more favorable light.
Watching the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's video of Herman Cain's excruciating floundering on a simple question about Libya, I noticed that one of the questioners was Craig Gilbert, the newspaper's highly regarded, longtime Washington correspondent. I know Craig, so I called him up today to find out what it was like to have a Monday morning editorial board chat far from Iowa, New Hampshire or the Beltway blow up into a major campaign development.
Not having taken Herman Cain seriously enough to write about him when he was up, I probably should resist the temptation to write about him when he's down. But this is sure to become a You Tube classic: The obvious antecedent is when Woody Allen is instructed to check the cell structure in 1973's Sleeper: At the risk of ruining the fun by raising a serious question: How did Cain's experiences running a major corporation fail to teach him that if you want to be a success at anything in life, much less become president, you have to do your homework? He can't remember what U.S.
Last week was a difficult week for the Tea Party. Tuesday’s election results firmly rebutted the idea that the movement had touched off an irresistible rightward wave in American politics, one that would not subside until it submerged the Democratic Party and its union/liberal allies once and for all. Meanwhile, the process of choosing a champion to drive Barack Obama out of the White House is not going well at all.
[Guest post by Molly Redden] Need an antidote to the real Herman Cain? The one accused of sexual harassment and worse, who referred to the former Speaker of the House as “Princess Pelosi” and implied to Jimmy Kimmel that he wouldn’t pay Gloria Allred for sex? Then check out Twitter’s Hermyn Cain, his feminist doppelganger! He “eats pizza and patriarchy” and puts a third-wave spin on the many controversies inspired by Herman with an ‘A’: “Don’t quite get the @princesspelosi blowback.
[Guest post by Simon van Zuylen-Wood] Yesterday in this space, Alec MacGillis argued the GOP field is such a pitiful morass of second bananas, we should scrap the primaries altogether. He makes a compelling point: Herman Cain is on the brink of implosion and Rick Perry is back in the gutter after Oopsgate. Republican voters will soon have cycled through a full third of the field in search of a viable non-Romney, only to witness each candidate flame out. Well, what about Jon Huntsman, deemed Obama’s most worthy opponent by the paper of record?
The Armistice was signed at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. In less than an hour it will be the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the eleventh year, or 11:11 11/11/11. All the world's computers will shut down and the mountains will be laid low and the seas will arise to cover the earth and Herman Cain will win the Republican nomination for president. Or not. I've never been very good at predicting the future. Update: Missed it!