Herman Cain – contender or flavor of the week?

Byron York:

Meanwhile, dozens, maybe hundreds of GOP delegates who came to Orlando intending to support Perry were having second thoughts. They’d all been in the room for the Fox News-Google debate on Thursday night and were dismayed by Perry’s performance. Actually, more than dismayed — some were insulted by Perry’s accusation that people who don’t support his immigration positions are heartless. Still, they didn’t immediately drop the Texas governor, did not immediately say, “That’s it — I’m outta here.” Rather, in the 40 hours after the end of the debate, their minds were a little more open than they had been before. And most were specifically a little more open to Cain, who impressed them during the debate and had made a number of impromptu appearances around the hotels adjacent to the Orange County Convention Center.

But even on Saturday, Perry might still have recovered some support with an inspiring speech before the voting. Instead, he headed off to Michigan, and it was Cain who delivered a barn-burner that brought at least seven standing ovations from the delegates. Wavering Perry delegates became Cain voters.

“I couldn’t make up my mind,” said Thelma, from Panama City, after the vote. “It was the speech that made the hair stand up on my arms. It wasn’t a tingle down my leg — it was an emotional excitement that this man knows how to get our country out of trouble.”

“I went in with this on my shirt,” said Melissa from Panama City, pointing to her PERRY sticker. “And I voted for Cain.”

“I liked Cain, but I wasn’t sure he could win,” said Zena, from Washington County. “But after I heard this, I thought it doesn’t matter if he wins or not — I am for this man. He was awesome.”

Multiply Thelma, Melissa, and Zena a few hundred times and you have what happened inside the convention hall. As he walked around the enormous room, Scott Plakon began to suspect that something was up. “Supporters of the other camps, some who had buttons on, came up to me and said, ‘I voted for your guy,'” Plakon says. In the end, it wasn’t even close.

What had happened? In the days before the vote, nearly all the delegates who voted for Cain either said or heard someone else say this: “I love Herman Cain, but he can’t get elected.” The assumption that Cain can’t win the Republican nomination was a serious obstacle in their minds. But at some point late Friday and early Saturday, the delegates overcame that obstacle. Some concluded that since they had heard so many people speak well of Cain, he could indeed win, if everyone who liked him would actually vote for him. Others remained skeptical of Cain’s ultimate chances but decided to send the message that they would choose candidates based on conservative principles, and not on perceived electability.

Once the delegates got over the can’t-get-elected hurdle, a close contest became a landslide for Herman Cain.

One other factor should not be underestimated. Yes, the delegates liked what Cain had to say. But how he said it was just as important. With his deep, booming voice and a style that any motivational speaker would envy, Cain can give a rousing speech, and he gave several of them during four days in Orlando. No other candidate, frontrunner or back of the pack, could match him. It’s not an exaggeration to say that his power as an orator sealed the deal for hundreds of delegates. They believed Cain was speaking to them from the heart, and they were carried away by it. As with the Democratic primary contests of 2007 and 2008, never underestimate the power of a stirring speech.

Michele Bachmann rose and fell. Rick Perry rose and is falling. Will Herman Cain suffer the same fate?

In the end there can be only one.

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12 Responses to Herman Cain – contender or flavor of the week?

  1. DeniseVB says:

    Cain has always been a tea party favorite, those silly raaaaacists. 😉


    IF Palin doesn’t jump in, I think he can go all the way. Not having political experience may be the big seller considering the rest of the field of the politically experienced. Remember, Obama’s only management experience was running his campaigns. I think the Hermanator has the chops, until the left digs up some hookers….:D

    • Mr. Mike says:

      Why the Left?

      I’m sure there are quite a few on the Right sharpening their stilettos.

      Remember the Clinton Murder Tapes, Al the Serial Liar, or the Swiftboaters?

  2. Dario says:

    Still, they didn’t immediately drop the Texas governor, did not immediately say, “That’s it — I’m outta here.” Rather, in the 40 hours after the end of the debate, their minds were a little more open than they had been before. And most were specifically a little more open to Cain,

    A miracle. That’s lots of persuasion, imo.

  3. yttik says:

    If Sarah Palin declares, all bets are off, but I think Cain is a serious contender. I don’t think Cain will crash and burn like Perry, because he’s steady and consistent. He’s not like a star in danger of burning out.

    I don’t believe Romney has ever had a chance, he’s just such a politician and that’s not what people are wanting right now. Republicans, tea partiers, independents, they want a rogue, somebody who speaks from the heart, somebody they can trust and identify with. Everybody but Cain is a professional politician and people have had it with professional politicians.

    Democrats are in real trouble. People are starting to say “I don’t care if he wins or not, I am for this man.” They say that about Palin too. When people are not focused on electability or party standards, they’ve gone rogue themselves. Palin was the one who pointed out that you don’t have to hold elected office to make a difference. That’s a pretty powerful message and puts our government on notice. The will of the people is not going to be based entirely on who wins or loses elections anymore.

    • myiq2xu says:

      Have you noticed that while other people move up and down Romney’s numbers stay the same?

      The GOP base is looking for “Not-Romney”

      • ralphb says:

        If they keep looking, they’ll find one.

      • 1539days says:

        Exactly. There are three serious contenders. Romney, not-Romney and the Tea Party candidate. In 2008, there were basically 3 Republican contenders, Romney, Not Romney (McCain) and the conservative (Huckabee).

        If 2010 is any indication, they will eventually get behind the nominee. They won’t make that pledge until the end though, as not to lose their say in the process.

    • votermom says:

      It depends on how he holds up to “vetting” aka media sliming. So far he has been flying under the radar. If the establishment starts viewing him as a real threat, then the claws come out.

    • gxm17 says:

      Yeah, I might could vote for Cain if there’s no third party candidate I’m crazy about. Just for the hell of it and to get rid of the disaster that is Obama. Other than Palin, he’s the only Republican I’d even give a second, or third, thought to.

  4. 1539days says:

    The media can try to take Cain down, but this is all the Tea Party credentials he’ll ever need.

  5. Monster from the Id says:

    If the GOP nominates Cain, the Oborg Collective will be deprived of one of its favorite propaganda tropes–that all dislike of Obummer comes from r@c!$m. :mrgreen:

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