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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Obama's Worst Nightmare"

Posted by Paul Constant on Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 1:59 PM

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Over at conservablog Red State, they've been running a poll to see who their readers would like to see become the Republican candidate for president in 2012. They've cycled through three rounds, with satisfying results like:
David Petraeus beat Jeb Bush.
John Bolton beat John Thune.
Haley Barbour beat Rick Perry.

And now they're down to the third round: Sarah Palin against...Herman Cain? Wait, who the fuck is Herman Cain?

Herman Cain is many things, including an African-American Republican, a former chief executive of Godfather's Pizza, a cancer survivor — and the host of a popular radio show in Georgia. Recently, a "Draft Cain" movement has emerged, with the goal of drafting Cain into a presidential run. According to Doug Deal, the creator of the "Draft Cane" (sic) Facebook page, this is a grassroots effort to "try to help convince him that there's support out there for him."

What makes Herman Cain an especially potent force is his charisma, and the fact that his supporters don't just admire him — they love him.

Cain says he is "prayerfully considering" running for president, but he says that if he doesn't run, he likes Newt Gingrich as a candidate. Cain calls himself "Obama's worst nightmare." He lists among his credentials the fact that he follows the news very closely. He wants a "high-tech fence" to solve the immigration problem. You can find the Draft Cain page here.

This is interesting to me for two reasons. First: In the Red State poll, the readers voted for the least-qualified candidates in almost every battle. This is no doubt a Tea Party hangover from the last election, wherein if you had even set foot in Washington D.C. one time in your life for a junior high school field trip, you suddenly developed a bad case of political leprosy. It is quite possible that—since I'm sure Red State polls are as legally binding as Slog polls—Obama will be playing the experience card in the 2012 election, which is pretty funny. Second: The subtext of Cain's "prayerful" non-run for president suggests to me that a lot of Republicans are still terrified of facing off against Obama because he's black. They'll be looking hard at the female and African-American candidates (Cain calls himself a "dark horse," and the sense I get is that he means that to be a racially loaded term) because they believe a white man won't be able to beat Obama. This is the same sharp thinking, in part, that brought them Michael Steele.

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