Cain: The lessons of an unusual campaign

Political observers note Cain's energy and enthusiasm and how his campaign focused on building national support.

The Herman Cain train has come to the end of the line, said Kimberley A. Strassel in The Wall Street Journal. The Republican presidential candidate suspended his campaign indefinitely last week, after a “torrent of accusations” from women about sexual harassment and a 13-year extramarital affair. Cain’s personal shortcomings aside, his candidacy has provided a telling glimpse of what conservatives really want in a presidential candidate: energy and genuine enthusiasm. The former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive transformed a dull, negative campaign focused on criticism of President Obama with his “positive, forward-looking” message about restoring America’s economic health. With his inspirational rhetoric and easy humor, said Marc Caputo in The Miami Herald, Cain gave voters a “reason to vote for someone, rather than just against someone.” Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich should take note.

The only thing Cain demonstrated, said Jonathan S. Tobin in, is that “the system worked.” Thanks to the intense scrutiny that presidential candidates receive, Cain was revealed to be “an unsavory character” of “astounding ignorance.” His 9-9-9 tax plan was simplistic and unworkable. He admitted knowing nothing about foreign affairs. He couldn’t even decide whether he was pro-life or pro-choice. It’s a “small victory for rationality” that most Republicans finally figured out that he was unelectable. That he got so far doesn’t say much for Republicans, said Michael Tomasky in TheDaily​ All politicians have big egos, but Cain is a man of “astonishing narcissism,” who thought he could become president through the strength of a silly 9-9-9 slogan, some Republican dogma, and his own personality.

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