I’ve noticed a subtle switch in the media now that Herman Cain is at least one of the front-runners. Cain was previously not a serious candidate because of the cold math of opinion polling. Now that the same polling puts him in a strong position, Republicans have taken to picking on his ads and overemphasizing statements to disqualify him as a candidate.
When Democrats were fighting for the soul of the party in early 2008, Republicans were engaged in a similar, but less publicized battle. There were three candidates with any staying power. Mike Huckabee was the cultural conservative who embodied the most of the Reagan mantle. John McCain was the experienced war hero who was willing to buck his own party and had the best chance against Hillary Clinton. Then there was Mitt Romney. He was considered the favorite of conservatives, some of whom became Obama supporters when Romney lost. Mitt was a flip-flopper on social issues, a veteran of big finance and what the bosses of the GOP thought a candidate should be. He probably had the best chance of beating Obama, Romney would have ditched the federal matching fund system and played every race and cultural card necessary to win.
As tough as Romney may be in an election fight, the 2012 race is not 2008. He and Obama are practically the same guy, and Obama has the (badly executed) experience. He also has the entire Democratic machine behind him. Romney has about half of his party’s machinery. I would prefer Romney, but mostly because he would be more accountable to the probama media. He’s not the problem so much as the way he’s being anointed,
Mitt Romney was touted as the conservative choice by Republican media pundits in 2008. McCain was mostly written off. Then a funny thing happened. The rank and file of the party just didn’t want to vote for him. Huckabee and McCain stayed in the race and Romney just couldn’t move in for the kill. In today’s post Tea Party world, Romney can’t even claim the conservative mantle. Instead, he’s going for electability. The GOP tried to use electability as a weapon when they realized Tea Party sympathizers would not vote for the party choice in a primary. They used the loss of Christine O’Donnell as justification for liberal Mike Castle. They claimed 4 Senate seats could have been won if the least Tea Party candidate were chosen, when 7 seats were due to the Tea party. If they had the choice, Jon Huntsman would be the nominee. He currently runs about 0% in polls.
Ultimately, this is not about Herman Cain. Before him, it was Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann. It may be Newt Gingrich after him. This is about electing a president who wasn’t forged in the fires of party money and cronyism. It’s too late for Democrats. Their blue Kool-Aid man is chosen. Will the Republicans force primary voters to pick the Red Kool-Aid man?