Sunday, November 6, 2011

A funny thing happened on the way to the Herman Cain lynching

Herman Cain’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week ended on a discordantly high note. Addressing a packed ballroom in Washington’s Convention Centre, the former pizza mogul prompted whoops and cheers when he referred obliquely to the sexual harassment storm that had at times threatened to sweep away his White House candidacy.

“You know, I've been in Washington all week, and I've attracted a little bit of attention,” he boomed. “And there was an article in The New York Times today that has attempted to attract some more attention. You know, that's kind of what happens when you start to show up near or at the top of the polls. It just happens that way.”

The article in question was one of the few that had not been about allegations that Cain, the unlikely Republican front runner in national polls, had behaved inappropriately with women while he was president of the National Restaurant Association.

Instead, the article sought to bracket Cain with the Koch brothers, the billionaire bogeymen for liberals who founded the Americans for Prosperity group and pump money into conservative and liberal causes. Rather than seek to wriggle out of the association, Cain embraced it, declaring, as the room erupted: “I am the Koch brothers' brother from another mother.”

The address by the former motivational speaker, at the Americans for Prosperity annual conference, was vintage Cain – strong on rhetoric, short on policy detail, powerfully delivered and unashamedly politically incorrect.

Hours earlier, an ABC/Washington Post poll had found that Cain’s national popularity had improved during a week that, by any conventional standards, had been disastrous.

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