A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

...And Then There Were Seven

Herman Cain’s suspension of his bid for the White House will most likely touch off a feeding frenzy by the other candidates for Cain’s supporters. Personally, I’m a bit leery of Cain’s use of the word suspended. Students are suspended from school with the understanding that they return after a set time period. Cain didn’t “end” or “terminate” his campaign; he merely suspended it. Yet everyone is assuming that has ended once and for all his quest for elected office.

Cain blamed his premature withdrawal on the hurt suffered by his family caused by media coverage of his extramarital affair and sexual harassment charges leveled against him. The candidate could not be accused of hypocrisy on the subject since he — or any of the other candidates, for that matter — have been emphasizing family values. Oh sure, Bachmann and Santorum have used traditional family values to explain their stance against gay marriage, but it is more of an understanding between themselves and voters that they would stand for these values as they align themselves with conservative voters. The candidates don’t beat the subject to death, but there is an underlying agreement that an advocacy of monogamous, heterosexual relationships is a basis for their moral beliefs.

The media, aware of this high standard voters set for their candidates, are ever vigilant for any violations that may be found in the candidates past. Or we can explain the media reaction another way: he media, aware that salacious details of a sexual nature sell more newspapers and advertising time in the non-print infotainment venues, are ever vigilant for any violations that may be found in the candidates past. Yes, that’s much better!

I’m not totally blaming the media for their coverage on Cain’s sexcapades. They can’t help themselves; it’s not that they don’t know any better when it comes to deciding which stories to pursue or not. The media do have high standards of ethics. As long as they confirm the facts of the story from more than one source, then they go with it, giving the public the illusion that they are just as outraged at the facts as the public should be.

Perhaps the charges against Cain have raised the ire within the conservative community, but otherwise the reaction from the public at large has been a shrug of the shoulders and ho-hum yawn. It’s not that the general public is blasé about adultery, but many of us do recognize that the temptations are harder to resist by those who have the massive ego required to run for office in the first place. They may want to be thought of as gods, but they are in fact still human, still vulnerable to the sins that life offers. Of course, we should hold office seekers to high standards, but we shouldn’t be so shocked when we discover that they have faltered.

Cain’s campaign implosion was inevitable, and not because of the allegations of his sordid past. His presentations displayed more style than substance. The economic ideas he touted (9-9-9 tax reform, for example) was deemed more complex than he would admit, but he boiled the idea down for electorate consumption. It was almost as if he were saying, “Here’s a great idea, but let’s worry about the details later”. Now, where have we heard that management philosophy before? Oh yeah, from George W. Bush, and look where that got us!

No one could doubt his salesmanship with a flair for thinking up new and inventive ideas to sell his product. Witness the old video that went viral on the Internet in which he sang the virtues of pizza to John Lennon’s Imagine. As a writer with a keen eye for satire, I could appreciate the performance complete with a small gospel choir. As a John Lennon fan, I was less than thrilled, but perhaps I’m taking it too seriously.

There is a downside to Cain’s departure: one local commentator has noted that African-American conservatives do not have anyone to relate to in the current crop of Republican presidential hopefuls. The seven who are left are lily white and overwhelmingly male. Par for the course! In this respect, all voters should mourn the lack of diversity among the Republican contenders.

So, whither Cain now? He insists he will still be a voice championing conservative values; he just won’t do it while holding high office. Where best to use his sales expertise, his power of persuasion, his less than stellar grasp of the issues, and his charismatic presence? Why Fox News, of course! They must have a time slot for him somewhere...

(Thank you for reading!)


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