Thursday, October 13, 2011

Herman Cain has peaked

The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows Herman Cain to be leading the Republican field Cain 27, Romney 23, Perry 16. But Cain's rise is about to end. His campaign has peaked.

He has enough momentum to go along till February maybe, but possibly not enough money. And attitudes of the other Republican candidates toward Cain suggest he will not be gaining more money ahead.

Cain is primarily a motivational speaker of the kind that appears throughout the heartland advertised in local newspapers, featuring clear-thinking egotism and a positively-charged guy like Cain along with a sunny preacher, a retired football player and a simple message. As Jon Huntsman said, 9-9-9 sounded like the price of pizza. When I first heard it the Subway 5-5-5 inches long jingle came to mind.

But what indicates that his ride will now peak and slow is that none of the other candidates see him as serious as they see themselves. Bachmann, Gingrich and Santorum rank in self-importance and Cain is delightfully free of it. But Cain's 9-9-9 mantra became the friendly joke theme of the recent debate night with even the formidable Julianna Goldman of Bloomberg joining in about the price of beer (to go with pizza). He is Ringo Starr and the room defaults to him for relief when tension rises between the battling principles, primarily Perry and Romney.

The 9-9-9 marketing strategy has backfired on Cain. He has leveraged his whole campaign on it and it is not enough. And there is something about Cain that doesn't so much want to win, but to be included. And he is. But this is as far as he will go.

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