“It’s a protest vote” say some, referring to a protest against the flailing campaign of Texas Governor Rick Perry who disappointed a lot of people who saw Perry as the Not Romney candidate. Perry’s stance on illegal immigration – he is in favor of and proud of Texas’ subsidizing college educations for illegals.
Others think it is all about the strong candidacy of Herman Cain and his appeal speech to the Florida Straw Poll delegates.
The truth is that the answer lies somewhere in between. (Or both, depending on how you look at it.)
A lot of us were hoping that Rich Perry would be the strong, conservative answer to the “moderate” Mitt Romney. Or McRomney as a lot of people are now calling him, referring to the 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain who is so fond of “reaching across the aisle” he has forgotten his way back.
Thus, a sort of protest vote developed for Herman Cain, but mostly against Perry.
And Herman Cain did rock the CPAC Florida event and presented well in the debate. And his strong credentials as a businessman and not a politician are playing well in a year that many see the government as a smothering adversary.
And where else would those who jumped on the Perry bandwagon without really knowing everything about him go? He burst on the scene on top and there were high hopes that he would be the one. But his uninspired performance in the debate, his calling people out that do not agree with giving subsidized educations to illegal aliens heartless, and a number of his other center and left of center positions actually angered some.
“He’s just another politician”.
So are the rest of the field. Except…
But the speeches Cain gave after the debate (which I did not hers) have met with such positive reviews that Cain actually earned the win in Florida. Those who saw him as a second or even third tier candidate and looked to Perry as their golden boy were in the market, and Cain was selling.
Now I will freely admit that while I have been intrigued with the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO since I met him and spoke with him this year at CPAC, I did not believe that, despite his absolutely resonant message, he would ever be given a serious look by the Right. And no, it is not a “race” thing. If anything, Cain gets an ear from the Conservatives because he is black and a Conservative.
And a number of Conservatives believe it will take a black man to beat a black man. Now my “friends” on the left will no doubt see that as a racist statement, but after several years of being wrongly accused of being racists, those on the right are willing, even eager, to accept and support a Black Conservative just to prove they are not racist.
But, truth be told, Herman Cain is no “token”. conservatives are delighted to find that there is a lot of substance beneath the charming, witty and even charismatic persona.
Herman Cain rocks!
So for those who believe the Florida Straw Poll victory for Cain was simply a “protest” vote, you will be hard pressed to find anyone who is not glad they cast their vote for Herman Cain.
Now the real test will begin for Herman Cain.
Thus far, the attack dogs have been sniffing Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann. Now Herman gets his turn at the focus from the left and the right. They will be looking to exploit his every known weakness and exploring for new ones. But that is how the process unfolds.
If Herman Cain gives a good showing under the magnifying glass, he now has a shot. But if the media is able to find and exploit every chink in his armor, Cain will be stuffed back into the “also ran” box. And they will begin by pressing him on the areas he is most vulnerable – politics in general and foreign affairs in particular.
He has a lot to learn.
But as the media looks for his political weaknesses and exploits them, the question voters need to ask themselves is if his sure to come bungles on things political are a good thing or a bad thing. Are they looking for a politician who hopes to learn what it takes to make the economy work for businesses, or are they looking for a businessman who already knows the hard part – business, but needs to learn the politics?
The next few days will either make or break Herman Cain. And if he breaks, will we have a Sarah Palin or Chris Christy to turn to, or are we stuck with Romney the RINO?