When you claim the mantle of frontrunner status in the presidential primary process you have to expect that you’re going to be drawing some fire. Certainly some of it will come from the other candidates, but the lion’s share will probably come from the media. Herman Cain has definitely demonstrated a talent for putting himself in the media’s cross-hairs, (New Tone, Jazz!) but this has to be one of the silliest attacks I’ve seen yet.

Herman Cain’s Numerology Fixation

Raise your hand if you have a favorite number.

Keep it raised if you believe this number to be your “lucky” number.

Now keep it up only if you think this number has a literal, meaningful, ongoing impact on your life.

Finally, if your hand is still up, ask yourself this: If you were running for president and wrote a campaign book, would you devote an entire chapter to this number, explaining how its frequent appearance in your life signals that you are meant to win and explaining that, though you are “not a devout numerologist,” this number clearly keeps popping up “more than coincidentally”?

If that hand is still raised, it probably means that you are Herman Cain. (Hi, Herman!)

New York Magazine goes even further with this meme, extracting some quotes from that chapter of Cain’s book to explain his “obsession” with the number 45.

  • Cain’s “conception, gestation, and birth all occurred within” the year 1945 (his words in quotes).
  • 1945 was also when Reader’s Digest published a version of Austrian free-market economist Friedrich von Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, one of Cain’s favorite books. (A few other fans of the book: Rick Perry and Glenn Beck.)
  • Assuming Cain does become the 45th President of these United States, he would be inaugurated in 2013, the same year he will be celebrating his 45th wedding anniversary.
  • On one of the last legs of a campaign trip Cain once took, he was traveling on Flight 1045 at an altitude of 45,000 feet.
  • And last but by no means least, it is hard to overlook the fact that Herman Cain’s now-famous 9-9-9 tax slogan, shares a special relationship to the number 45 — just slice it down the middle, add the two numbers together, and, voilà!, you have yourself a nine. (Proof: 4+5=9)

I suppose it’s confession time here. I also have a “magic number” which, for whatever reason, has stuck with me for my entire adult life. And it’s a three digit number to boot. (No… for those of you who regularly suspect me of being either a secret socialist or a devil worshiper, it’s not 666.) I’ve used it for everything from selecting computer passwords to lottery numbers. (On the latter, it clearly wasn’t a stellar choice, as I’m still working for a living.) Would I devote a chapter to it when writing my memoirs? I don’t know about that. It’s rather personal, kind of silly, and not terribly pertinent to the rest of my life. But I’d hardly call it an obsession.

The fact is that you could pick any randomly occurring, short sequence of numbers or letters, and over the course of many decades they will pop up from time if you’re looking for them. And those instances may come at significant times, for good or ill. If Herman Cain wants to take up space in his book sharing his musings on his particular number it may not be terribly interesting or relevant, but it hardly speaks to some deeper issue which would affect his qualifications for office.

While you’re watching football today, feel free to contribute your own secret number. If it pops up as the final score for one of the games Ed predicted today, maybe he’ll give you a free copy of his book. (When he eventually writes one, that is.)