Editorial by John Ziegler

The Conservative Media is Helping Cain through his "Scandal " and Possibly Paving the Way for Obama's Re-election

10/31/2011

The current conventional wisdom regarding Herman Cain is that, at best, his campaign is a ticking time bomb certain to implode like those of Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Donald Trump already have. At worst, his campaign is already burnt toast thanks to the uncovering of two sexual harassment claims against him from the 1990s.
 
As is often the case, the conventional wisdom is dead wrong. In reality, Cain has never been in a stronger position to win the nomination than he is at this moment.
 
Keep in mind this is coming from someone who likes Cain personally, but who is positively certain that his nomination would not only assure President Obama’s re-election, but also the restoration of a fully Democratic Congress.
 
There are many factors which make Cain’s bid for the Republican nomination still more than viable and perhaps even formidable.
 
First, it is now clear that at least half of the Republican electorate has decided that they are in the “Not Romney” category and are simply trying to figure out the best option to back. Bachmann and Perry are not options because they have already been tried and found to be extremely lacking. Newt Gingrich, while interesting, feels too much like old news to provoke a surge out of anything other than total desperation. Rick Santorum just doesn’t have “it” and Ron Paul is simply too liberal on national security to be a legitimate choice. This leaves those considering jumping off the “Cain Train” no obvious place to land.
 
More importantly, as time quickly moves along (with the holidays fast approaching it will speed up even more) it will be more and more clear that it may be too late for any other “Not Romney” to make a sustainable charge. In short, it is 1 am in the pick up bar and Cain still looks a lot more exciting than the current alternatives. Republicans are realizing that at this late hour the chances of something better walking through the door are remote and they really don’t want to have to go home with Mitt Romney.
 
There is another element to why Cain is in a much stronger position than the “experts” are currently giving him credit for, which is not obvious and will likely not be discussed by anyone in the corporate media.
 

A couple of weeks ago I predicted in a video that Cain would benefit greatly from a conservative media which has a profound incentive to make sure he does not go the way of Perry and Bachmann. There is no doubt that Fox News, Matt Drudge and talk radio would be profoundly hurt economically if Romney swept Iowa and New Hampshire. This would not only strip them of months of content, but force them to talk for at least almost a year about a guy who is neither exciting nor loved by their customer base.

Keeping Cain alive not only creates drama, but it also adds a charismatic and ratings friendly character (far more so than Perry) into the mix. Of course, the fact that he happens to also be black brings in all sorts of interesting (ratings friendly) issues and narratives. 

Even more insidiously, there is also no doubt that a Cain/Obama general election would be a far greater ratings winner than Romney/Obama and, while it would shock most of their customers to think that they may act on this motivation, there is also no doubt that the conservative media would be in a far better position economically if Obama was re-elected.

Of all the many things I learned during the production and promotion of my documentary on the 2008 presidential election, Media Malpractice, the one that I wish all conservatives also realized is that for the vast majority of the “conservative” media, this is a purely a business, and not a cause. While obviously not all conservative media outlets would take a dive to make sure Obama got re-elected (thus giving them a good target for four more years), many, like Drudge who was clearly in the tank for Obama in 2008 until he was safely elected, have already proven that they are willing and able to do just that.
 
Facilitating Cain’s shot at the nomination would be an easy way for the conservative media to achieve almost all of their goals. He elongates and spices up the nominating process, he gives them the chance to stand up for a “true” conservative and prove they aren’t racist, and his nomination would create a lucrative general election while insuring Obama’s reelection. It is a no lose proposition for them and many will act on these incentives either consciously or subconsciously. To be clear, there will be no “conspiracy” here, just very cynical/savvy/selfish people all working in what they perceive to be in their self interest.
 
We are already seeing my theory being proven true with the reaction to the sexual harassment allegations. This development, on top of a slew of recent inexplicable policy statements by Cain, would have disqualified just about any other candidate in modern history (expect, ironically, and tellingly, Obama). It is not just the fact that cash was paid to two different women alleging some sort of harassment, it is also the stupefying claim during a sickeningly softball Fox News interview that he didn’t even know about the settlements made by an organization of which he was the CEO.
 
I am not sure which would be worse here, if Cain is lying about not knowing that a group he was supposedly in charge of paid money to multiple women who made harassment  charges against him, or if he is telling the truth. If it is the latter, it must raise the issue (surely in a much nastier general election) of whether Cain was simply a convenient minority "spokesperson" of these groups/companies he allegedly “ran.” If Cain was simply a figurehead being used because he was a charming black man, liberals will say he benefited from affirmative action and his entire business record will be discredited.
 
However, within conservative circles the current narrative (as helped along by the untrustworthy Drudge who immediately promoted Cain friendly statements by Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, two of the most commercially motivated conservatives) is that these charges are all part of the left-wing media attack machine and are motivated by racism. I actually think there is a better than even chance that, because the conservative media is now being forced to defend him, that Cain’s poll numbers may go up slightly after this story dies down (assuming of course that nothing else major comes out).
 
What is particularly stunning about the way that this is all going down is how incredibly similar Cain’s situation is to what happened with Obama in 2008.  
 
Here we have an inexperienced, charismatic black man who just a few years earlier had been in the political wilderness who is now suddenly neck and neck with an establishment candidate that no one really loves. The ideological media pushes his candidacy because he is good for the storyline/ratings and when legitimate scandal hits they rally around him and pretend that the allegations are politically motivated and all about race.  
 
Of course the big difference between Cain and Obama is that, once nominated, the media culture will turn nearly 180 degrees against him. While Fox News (much like MSNBC did in 2008) will largely control the narrative during primary season because Republican voters don’t trust anyone else, when the general election comes around the mainstream media will take the gloves off and resharpen the very same knives that unfairly carved up Sarah Palin’s candidacy. The only difference is that their incentive to destroy him would be even greater (since he is black and would be at the top of the ticket) and the ammunition to do so would be even more accessible.
 
Though he doesn’t seem to realize it yet, Cain has been protected by virtually all forms of media, none of which has an incentive to knock him out now. That will change dramatically the moment he is the nominee.
 
Unfortunately, most Republican voters seem to think that 2008 was a fluke and not an indication of the new reality when it comes to the way the media covers presidential elections. They also have a thirst for their own version of Obama which appears to be almost unquenchable. What they fail to understand is that the rules are totally different for conservatives. They don’t get to have an Obama (or even a Reagan) figure any more. If you don’t believe me, just look at how they are already going after Marco Rubio.
 
The reality is that, while he is hardly a lock and still could make so many mistakes that conservative voters disqualify him based on simply their own sporadic observations and questionable political instincts, Herman Cain could still be the Republican nominee. Currently, the chances of that happening are only about 5% on the Intrade market. Today I placed a bet there on Cain to win the nomination and Obama to win the election. Based on those odds, both bets are nearly no brainers.  

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