In case you missed it, Georgia businessman Herman Cain has dropped a new campaign ad, and it’s terrible. In a good way.
I’m not sure which is more hilarious: the terrible production values, the fantastic background soundtrack, or Cain’s knowing look at the end. Regardless, it’s safe to say that this is a classic on par with Carly Fiorina’s “Demon Sheep”.
I should also say that this settles for good the question of whether or not Cain is a serious candidate for president. In short? No, he isn't.
It wasn’t that long ago that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was touted as the Republican answer to Barack Obama. Intelligent and charismatic, he had a compelling biography (as the child of Indian immigrants), and an abundance of raw political skill – no one becomes the country’s youngest serving governor by accident. With his string of conservative victories in the Louisiana statehouse and a large national fan base, he was poised to become a Republican superstar.
You must watch Herman Cain's latest campaign ad, via James Fallows. It starts off as a typical dry commercial with Cain's chief of staff hyping his candidate, but gets great right at the 40-second mark:
By and large, Texas Governor Rick Perry’s “new” tax plan – outlined on the Wall Street Journal editorial page – is a retread of the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan favored by House Republicans in the summer’s negotations over the debt ceiling. The difference is that instead of a massive round of tax cuts for the wealthy, Perry goes with a hugely regressive reform of the income tax system.
Yesterday I detailed how the leading figures of Iowa's evangelical community have all dilly-dallied about picking a favorite presidential candidate. As if on cue, one of those major players announced that he would be moderating one of the more bizarrely formatted debates of a modern presidential campaign. Rep. Steve King will referee a “modified Lincoln–Douglas debate” between Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain in Texas on November 5.
In the last few days, both the New York Times and the Washington Post have done long articles profiling Mitt Romney. What do they teach us? Well, let me give you what ink-stained wretches call the "nut graf" from each piece. Here's the Times:
Between the barrage of debates and parade of activity, it feels like we’re close to finished with the Republican presidential primary. Of course, not only are we more than two months away from the first contest in Iowa, but the large majority of Republican primary voters remain uncommitted to either of the candidates.
He dropped precipitously in recent polls after conservatives began to question his stance on illegal immigration, but most political pundits still think Rick Perry has a strong chance at winning the GOP presidential nomination. Perry's still in the running in part because of the relative weakness of the rest of the field. Mitt Romney, who looks like the consensus candidate, has made a career of straying from conservative dogma, including passing universal health care as governor of Massachusetts. And the candidates who have stuck close to the Tea Party line, Michele Bachmann specifically, are mostly unserious contenders, whose campaigns appear predicated on book sales rather than governance.
For a time it looked as though Michele Bachmann would be Mitt Romney’s main opponent for the GOP presidential nomination. She launched her campaign in June to significant fanfare, gracing the covers of national magazines and rising to the top of polls in Iowa. She was expected to be a fundraising juggernaut based on her high-dollar US House campaigns. In August she finished first at the Iowa Straw Poll, pushing fellow Minnesotan Tim Pawlenty out of the race in the process.
Six of the Republican presidential wannabes traveled to Iowa this past Saturday to try to win over a crowd of over 1,000 evangelicals at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition's banquet dinner in Des Moines. All of the major contenders (except Mitt Romney) spoke, playing up their social conservative bona fides for a crowd that could play a deciding role in the "first in the nation" state.
Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition—headed by president Steve Scheffler—is one of the state's most powerful conservative organizations thanks to the voter guides they hand out during elections and the lobbying they do in the state legislature, most often pushing anti-LGBT rights legislation.
A few months ago, I undertook a dangerous mission for the magazine, one that could well have resulted in some post-traumatic stress. It involved reading all the latest books from the then-candidates and possible candidates, including Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Huckabee (the result was this article). Unfortunately, Herman Cain was not yet running, nor had he produced the inspiring tome that is his latest, This is Herman Cain! (note to self: Make sure next book has exclamation point in title!), so I didn't get the chance to read it. But Michelle Cottle did, and what she found was pretty alarming.
In the four years since President George W. Bush failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform, anti-immigrant sentiment in the GOP has grown to a fever pitch. At least three Republican-led states have passed draconian laws restricting every aspect of life for undocumented immigrants – Alabama, for example, has made municipal water-usage a deportable offense – and Republican voters have shunned a presidential candidate, Texas Governor Rick Perry, over his willingness to accomodate the children of undocumented immigrants. Conservatives have grown so hostile to immigrants that, at this point, it has become to alienate some Latino Republicans.
Yesterday morning, I looked into my crystal ball and boldly predicted that within 48 hours, Herman Cain would walk back his surprisingly pro-choice comments on abortion ("So what I'm saying is it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make. Not me as president, not some politician, not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family. And whatever they decide, they decide") and come out for full-on, abortion-should-be-illegal anti-choicism. Well here you go: