The Gadfly: The Error Of Their Ways
Election Day 2012 remains more than a year in the future and today, there's a clear, new front-runner among the Republicans.
His name is Herman Cain.
Cain's rise is due in part to his own doggedness, personality and ability to articulate, and in (larger) part to the petty, juvenile conduct of the other candidates.
Having been in a few (dozen) campaigns, I can attest that it is sometimes necessary to shoot at the other guy; however, the shots must contain substance and cannot fall under the category of "sniping," or become just a series of attacks that only belittle the attacker.
Thus it is with front-runners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, both of whom are dealing with their own political issues while sniping at Cain, Perry more than Romney, who at least at times tries to stay out of the fray.
Michelle Bachmann and Jon Huntsman have joined in, bringing no credit to themselves but only helping push Cain to the top of the heap. Ron Paul, God love him, makes a lot of sense but has no traction beyond his conservative base.
The latest attacks on Cain have come over his "9-9-9" tax plan. He would impose a 9 percent tax on personal income and corporations and a 9 percent sales tax. His plan may be flawed, but at least it is a plan and it has catchy title that has attracted attention. Quick: Tell me the tagline for either Romney's plan, or Perry's plan. If you can't come up with one, you're not alone.
I see this race now as one in which the once-front-runners have made the classic error of criticizing, repeatedly, one who was not at their level. That has served only to elevate that person, in this case Herman Cain, and give wider exposure to his views. Cain thus far has measured up to the increased exposure and comes across as likable and sincere.
Can Cain stand the added exposure? Time will tell.
Time also will tell if Perry and Romney continue to err with their attempts to pile on Cain.
Labels: The Gadfly