Right now Herman Cain is riding high. He tops the polls or ties with Romney and pops up on national TV or radio at least once a day. His followers believe he’s a shoe in to be the Republican nominee for president.
But yesterday The New York Times headline “As Cain Promotes His Management Skills, Ex-Aides Tell of Campaign in Chaos” shows that there may be trouble brewing for Cain.
Aside from that horrific television ad (more on that later), Cain’s campaign has been spotty even to those not watching his every move. He zigzags around the country ignoring Iowa and New Hampshire. According to the NYT, his staff says he has been “spending the bulk of his time on a book tour through the South.”
He has plowed through staff; his newest Iowa campaign manager is the third in four months. Cain sent out an email to his staff about traveling in the car with him. It asked them not to speak with him unless spoken to. The Times article continues: “Some former aides said they had longed to see the problem solving side of Mr. Cain, or to see Mr. Cain at all. Over the spring and summer, he did not send much time with workers. He did not plan conference calls or staff meetings and was given to changing his mind about appearances, sometimes with little notice, a tendency that angered his field workers.”
“Everything we tried to do was like pulling teeth to get accomplished, said a former staff member in Iowa, who asked for anonymity. ‘I’ve never been involved in a job that was as frustrating as this one. We couldn’t get an answer on anything. Everything was fly by the seat of your pants.'”
If he’s odd to staffers, consider how he treats supporters. “In July, a businessman and Tea Party supporter, Bill Hemrick, invited some 200 friends to the private Standard Club in Nashville to meet Mr. Cain,” reports the Times. “Mr. Hemrick said the Cain campaign had asked him to serve as its financial chairman for Tennessee. After speaking to the crowd, Mr. Cain was to attend a private club dinner for a select group of conservatives, who were in a position to donate the $2,500 maximum.
“But somehow Mr. Cain forgot, or his staff failed to follow through. After his speech, Mr. Cain called to thank Mr. Hemrick for the evening. ‘I said I’ll see you upstairs,’ Mr. Hemrick recalled, ‘where the potential donors had gathered. He said, Well, I’m at the airport.'”
Hemrick later found out – from his replacement – that the Cain campaign named someone else as its Tennessee financial chairman. Now Hemrick works for Michele Bachmann.
There are other examples in the article of Cain’s odd behavior. “On a trip to Iowa last weekend to participate in the Faith and Freedom Forum, a meeting of evangelical conservatives, Mr. Cain stayed on his campaign bus until it was time to take the stage, while other candidates worked the crowds. Shortly after he finished speaking, he left the room.”
Not quite what you want in a candidate.
Back to the odd ad that ends with Cain’s campaign manager, Mark Block, taking a drag on a cigarette and blowing smoke at the audience. It has come out today that Block has a disturbing background. The Republican and Tea Party leader was “accused of voter suppression and was banned from running Wisconsin political campaigns for three years,” Fox News reports, “to settle accusations he coordinated a judge’s re-election campaign with a special interest group.” He has had his home foreclosed on, a tax warrant by the IRS and a lawsuit for an unpaid bill. He’s been arrested twice for drunk driving. Who puts this guy in charge of a presidential campaign?
The Cain camp had to know that Block’s background would be looked into, so why did they choose to showcase him in that ad? Does this sound like a businessman at the top of his game?
Something odd is going on here. Is Cain really serious about running for president or is he playing the spoiler for Romney? Only the most naive would dismiss the possibility. Rumors have circulated that Romney’s people “did a Ron Paul” at the Florida straw poll; that is, paid people or told their own people to vote for Cain. As you’ll recall, Romney did not expect to win it anyway.
Then there is the media. Fox News had seemed squarely for Romney til Perry came along. After Perry took the top polling place, they started talking about Cain and featuring him morning til night. His gaffes about the right of return for Palestinians (he didn’t know what Chris Wallace was talking about), his OK of abortion for his own family member and his desire to electrify a border fence to keep out Mexicans, barely registered on that network. Yet, many of them agree he won’t win the nomination.
When a candidate has had as serious a cancer as Cain has, too, questions are asked about his health. Even when a candidate is healthy, there are questions about his age, too; Cain is no spring chicken. Heard any concerns about that pop up?
What gives? There is something strikingly odd about the Cain campaign. A candidate as undisciplined as described in the above articles is usually dismissed. There is some bigger plan at work here.
Is this how he will manage?