“You’re not defeated as long as you never stop fighting. And while my presidential campaign is suspended, it’s important to remember that my pursuit of the presidency was only a means to an end. As long as the end is achieved, victory will be at hand…
“I was not surprised that I was viciously attacked once I rose in the polls. I was surprised by the nature of the attacks. Me, a womanizer? I would never have thought they’d come up with that one. But I knew the establishment would not like the idea of my success, because I will not get along by going along like so many do. I will not kick the can down the road to the next generation of leaders, because our problems are serious and they need to be solved now…
“And while I am disappointed, there are more than a few silver linings to doing this work outside the context of a presidential campaign. The process by which we choose our nation’s leader is ridiculous. There is little focus on policy substance and even less on candidates’ governing skills. If you’re not warding off some wild accusation, you’re explaining away a ‘gaffe,’ which is usually the sort of slip of the tongue that anyone can make, but because some reporter heard it, it turns into a news-cycle narrative with a shelf life of six or seven days.”
“Steve Schmidt, who managed Arizona Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential race, offered a far harsher assessment of the Cain moment.
“‘That Cain’s candidacy was taken seriously for longer than a nano-second in a time of genuine crisis for the country raises fundamental questions about the health of the political process and the Republican party,’ Schmidt said…
“‘When he started, Herman Cain never had any thought that he could win,’ explained one adviser to another candidate in the Republican presidential field who was granted anonymity to speak candidly. ‘He figured he might be able to sell some books and double his speaking fees. Then something great and awful happened, the dog caught the car. And of course, dogs don’t know how to drive cars. So he had no idea what to do with it.'”
“Spencer Burdette was most upset when discussing why she thinks the campaign ultimately failed.
“‘I’m not angry at him,’ she began, before turning to the media gathered around her. ‘Present company included or excluded, you guys know what you’ve been doing.’
“‘You’re supposed to have facts when you report something, and I just don’t think that any media anywhere has taken facts and then fact-checked them before they reported them. That’s what I’m angry about. It’s just taken a good man and his family down.’
“‘The very good are often the target of the very evil, and I think that’s all this is.'”
“In his announcement, Cain blamed the media for spinning his campaign. And his supporters, as well as some conservative commentators, will likely continue to blame the media, Democrats and the women who spoke out against him for his campaign’s demise. They will bemoan the campaign trail as an ugly place that eats its unsuspecting victims alive. But as unprepared as Cain may have been for life in the political spotlight and the invasive cavity search that is performed on presidential hopefuls, the truth is he was far less prepared to actually be our president.
“He can’t blame the media for his fumbles on foreign policy, or his inability to explain his own position on abortion. Nor can he blame Democrats or his alleged victims for his failure to sell his 9-9-9 plan as the solution to all of our ills.
“Herman Cain is not a victim. He’s a man who decided he deserved the highest vote of confidence the country could give him. And though he may be a genuine, likable and thoughtful person with some good ideas, he did not deserve that vote.”
“The one-time restaurant executive also changed the rules of campaigning for president, long treated as a heavy-on-shoe-leather slog of gladhanding in small Iowa and New Hampshire towns. Defying all the traditional models, Cain rose to the top of the polls with minimal time on the ground. He built a national identity with charismatic appearances in televised debates and cable television interviews, proving that media saturation could overpower personal contact.
“‘I’m absolutely convinced that the Herman Cain plan will become the standard,’ said Steve Grubbs, Cain’s campaign chairman in Iowa, who once spent 35 days on a statewide bus tour with Steve Forbes but is a convert to the new campaign model. ‘It is a hybrid of on the ground and social media where networking moves as the speed of thought.'”
“For all the talk about how much the tea party-infused Republican Party of 2011 wants a leader from beyond the political establishment, most Republican primary voters appear focused on only one objective in determining the nominee: who can beat Obama….
“‘In 2010, it was fun to be an anti-establishment Republican and make a point by rallying around unelectable candidates like Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle, but the stakes are higher and therefore electability does play much more of a factor,’ said a GOP operative whose current post prevents him from speaking on the record. ‘So while it is fun to flirt with a [Michele] Bachmann or Cain, voters are not going to send an unproven entity into the Obama wood-chipper.'”
“If you want to sell a pie, you need a good hook: Cain has taken a lot of heat over how often he mentions his 9-9-9 plan, but it’s beating the stuffing out of all the other candidates’ plans right now. Why? Because Cain, a corporate marketing expert, knows deep in his bones what most politicians still can’t figure out: if you want people to remember you, you have to give them something simple on which to hang that memory. There’s a corollary here, by the way, that probably should get its own point: If you don’t build the hooks for your campaign, your competition will, and they won’t be good.
“Mitt Romney has a fine economic plan, but it’s spread out over 59 points and has no unifying theme he can put into one short sentence. Rick Perry has a strong three-pillar plan but his hook, ‘Cut, Balance, and Grow’, is not only boring but so close to ‘Cut, Cap, and Balance’ that it makes him look lazy and unimaginative. Newt Gingrich knows how to write a good hook — remember ‘Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less’? — but he hasn’t gotten around to writing a good one for his own plan.
“Cain put a strong hook in front of a plan that turned out to be less than half as comprehensive than any of the other candidates’ plans and his is the one that still dominates the tax reform discussion.”
“Cain’s improved name recognition in the wake of his presidential run will likely mean higher speaking fees, larger book deals, and a potentially-lucrative role on television, Frankel noted. Past and present presidential and vice presidential candidates – including Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich – have found lucrative homes on Fox News…
“According to Frankel, the allegations against Cain are unlikely to hurt his brand and earning power in the long run.
“‘As a result of dropping out, this story will just go away,’ he said. ‘This is not a stain on a blue dress.’
“Cain’s exit yesterday was a wholly absurd spectacle. His suspended campaign is presumably still sitting on millions of dollars of contributions. Cain owes it to his supporters to endeavor to return that money to all those people who gave it to him in good faith.”
“‘He wants to play ‘who to endorse’ for a while,’ said [a top Cain] adviser, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to speak bluntly. ‘Then he’ll probably be endorsing somebody in a couple weeks — before the caucuses…. I’d say he’s going to endorse Newt Gingrich,’ the adviser said…
“The adviser said Cain would like to play a role in the campaign, and in a Republican administration if his party wins the White House…
“A Cain endorsement would get heavy news coverage and would add to the momentum for Gingrich, who finished a clear first in separate polls of Iowa primary voters released this weekend by the Des Moines Register and NBC/Marist.”
“What happened to Herman Cain is what the Democrats intend to do to whoever the Republican nominee turns out to be. They know they can’t win a debate on the economy or on President Obama’s record, so they will do everything they can to distract the voters’ attention from those matters, which should be decisive, and instead turn the focus to the GOP candidate and his or her alleged foibles. If Republican voters allow that to happen by nominating a candidate with baggage that permits the Democrats to turn him into the next Herman Cain, it is all too likely that President Obama will be re-elected, with consequences that can hardly be overestimated.”