GOP super-strategist Karl Rove says Herman Cain's series of gaffes and campaign missteps have "created an image of him as not being up to this task." Holding up a whiteboard on Fox News Monday (see the clip here), Rove listed Cain's flubs, including his admission that he wasn't familiar with the neoconservative movement, and his suggestion during one interview that he both supported abortion rights and was also fiercely anti-abortion. Cain, a political newcomer and former Godfather's Pizza CEO, accused Rove of making "a deliberate attempt to damage me" in order to benefit "the establishment choice," Mitt Romney. Is such a slam from Rove the kiss of death for a Republican candidate?
Rove certainly made Cain look bad: No matter how Cain tries to wiggle out of this, says Michael Davis at God's Vacation, Rove's criticism, spelled out clearly on his trademark whiteboard, will raise doubts among voters about "Cain's fitness for office." In the examples Rove cited, Cain "demonstrated an embarrassing lack of understanding about key issues."
"Karl Rove: Herman Cain may not be 'up to the task'"
This is just pro-Romney propaganda: Why are we listening to Karl Rove? asks Robert Stacy McCain at The Other McCain. He's overrated. Remember, Rove only just barely managed to engineer George W. Bush's 2000 victory over the not-exactly-formidable Al Gore. And now Rove is just a stealth cheerleader for Romney. Voters don't think Cain is unfit. If they did, he wouldn't be leading nationwide polls, or be up by double digits in Iowa.
"Karl Rove decides popular guy leading all the polls can't possibly win election"
Cain's flubs are actually closely tied to his appeal: "The great thing about Herman Cain is that he's a straight-talker who shoots from the hip," says Chris Good at The Atlantic. Sometimes it works for him — as when he warned that "stupid people" were ruining America. "Whenever one of his zesty hip-shots misses," he doubles back. Polished politicians know how to look more presidential — but Cain's primary appeal is that he's not a polished politician.
"The many walkbacks of Herman Cain"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Ban PowerPoint!
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The uncomfortable truth in The Giving Tree
Subscribe to the Week