“With all due respect” is one of those phrases — like “no offense” or “bless his heart” — that’s often used to mask an objection or an insult. So, was Sarah Palin belittling Herman Cain when “with all due respect” she said he’s just the flavor of the week? For that matter, was it playful or patronizing on her part to refer to him by a nickname of her own devising? For what it’s worth, “Herb Cain” himself isn’t affronted by her remarks.
From Dave Weigel:
[T]he Cain campaign dismisses this with a laugh. “No one calls him ‘Herb’ or ‘Herm,'” explains Cain spox Ellen Carmichael. “In fact, he has a joke about the ‘Herm’ nickname. ‘You can call me anything you want, just don’t call me Herm. Only my enemies call me Herm.’ He told me this more than a year ago, so it’s definitely not a reflection of Governor Palin.”
And on “The Early Show” this morning, Cain breezed right by the CBS anchors’ bait, saying simply that Sarah Palin’s characterization of his candidacy was “wrong” before quickly moving on to tout his resonant message as the reason for his recent success. (And, in a nice tie-in, at about 2:36, he dismisses the mainstream media “with all due respect,” explaining that the Tea Party and the rise of the Internet could fuel him to political heights he could never have reached 10 years ago.)
Cain is really quite masterful at letting criticisms, cautions and unfair characterizations roll off his back. Could that be because he’s Mister Congeniality of the GOP? Or might he prove to be the bumblebee he’s so fond of talking about — aerodynamically speaking, not designed to fly, but nevertheless buzzing his way to the top?