Herman Cain – What’s all the fuss about?

At 37%, Herman Cain collected more votes at the Florida Straw Poll than both Mitt Romney and Rick Perry combined. How did this happen?

Most delegates came to the P5 convention with a pretty good idea of who they were going to support, and like the national polls would indicate, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney were the overwhelming favorites. In my case, I had pretty much decided to join the Perry campaign after the convention and was seeking a confirmation of that decision.

On Thursday, all the candidates appeared at Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom gathering. Perry did OK, giving a variation of his stump speech (“First, don’t spend all the money..”). Most of the others were predictable and although Cain was inspiring, he didn’t really register with me. That evening, at the Fox/Google debate, most candidates held their ground, but Perry faltered badly in two ways. First, he insulted many people on the in-state tuition for illegal aliens issue by saying that if you opposed it you “didn’t have a heart”. Second, a seemingly rehearsed attack on Mitt Romney over flip-flops dissolved into a puddle of incoherence. Not good. Herman Cain again did very well but did not register as I was still working out how to overlook Perry’s problems and rationalize my support for him.

On Friday, at the CPAC conference, Perry had ample opportunity to better explain his tuition stance but declined to do so. He could have explained that unlike the federal Dream Act, in Texas it involves no amnesty and simply applies the in-state rules to “residents”. Furthermore, it was passed with an overwhelming majority in the legislature and many other states provide the same kind of program. (I was still rationalising my support). Once again, Herman Cain was impressive.

On Saturday morning, we attended the Rick Perry breakfast. This would be the fourth time to see him and another chance at redemption. The breakfast was impressive – a full fancy buffet, and there was seating for over 1000. By my count, about 500 were in attendance and many of the seats were empty. After a while, the candidate entered from the corner of the large room and was immediately mobbed by press and eager supporters as he slowly made his way toward the center of the room. It had been announced that he would “greet everyone personally” and many of us waited for him to make his way to our side of the room. After 45 minutes of this he had not crossed the center line of the room and those on our side were visibly annoyed that they were sitting on their hands waiting for the guy. Finally, he makes for the stage and delivers 8 minutes of warmed over remarks (“First don’t spend all the money”). Four chances, four flops. Finally we have crossed the line and start thinking about which other candidate to support, but we will give him one more chance in his afternoon speech before the straw poll.

Not. By the afternoon, Rick Perry was on his way to Michigan and left a “surrogate” to speak for him. Scratch Rick Perry from further consideration.

That left (for me) Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum. Mitt Romney stopped being a choice long ago for many reasons too long to go into here. The others are clearly not in the same league. So we listened to the speeches with an open mind. Cain, Santorum and Gingrich had stayed to deliver their closing remarks, others had surrogates, Bachmann and Romney did not participate. Many around us were having second thoughts about Perry as well, particularly those with a “tea party” orientation. The more mainstream Republicans were comfortably in the Romney camp.

When Herman Cain made his remarks, the room came alive. This is what we were waiting for since Thursday. In my notes I wrote: Broad coverage of the issues, executive style, ARTICULATED VISION, powers of persuasion, and projection of leadership. He pressed all the right (conservative) buttons, but did it in a way that was clear, concise, motivating and persuasive. You could see this guy standing next to Barack Obama and wiping the stage with him. The excitement was palpable.

At that point I decided to vote for Herman Cain. Taking to heart Andrew Brietbart’s advice to not let the media define who is “electable”, I voted my heart. He may not win the nomination or even the Florida primary as there is a rough ride ahead, but now, today, this is a man who can be President.

Watch the video from the Saturday event and decide for yourself:

Part 1

Part 2


6 Responses to “Herman Cain – What’s all the fuss about?”
  1. Thank you so much for your thoughts Fred. As a first timer to these kinds of events I was there to absorb, watch and then hopefully come away with a passion for a candidate. I thought all the Candidates “sounded” good but I did not “feel” much. I really wanted to see each of them and look them in the eye. I had a chance to meet most the candidates and I instantly liked Herman Cain. Later on after the debate I felt a little deflated and the next day I remember commenting to those around me the best speeches were made by Rick Scott, Luis Fortuno (Governor of Puerto Rico) and Jennifer Carol. All of whom are not running. After reflection on the event. I found that Herman Cain was exciting, articulate, and had a great message. I look forward to “what comes next” . It is my dearest wish that every one get behind a candidate and work on the campaign time is going by quite quickly. May the best man or woman win.

  2. Thanks for such an illuminating recollection of the event. I was Surprised, as were many of us at Home, to see Perry “have it” and then seemingly allow it to slip true his fingers. Now I understand “How”. thanks Fred!

  3. Archie Paul says:

    Is this the 9-12 group or is it the website for the Herman Cain campaign? 3 out of 5 articles are about one candidate so I have to assume it is.

    • South Florida 912 South Florida 912 says:

      It might look that way but the coverage is in response to the straw poll win. Other candidates will get coverage here when they are newsworthy.

    • Hi Archie – I think everyone is really energized and Herman Cain was the man who created that coming off the straw poll. I did not go to Presidency 5 but I had a chance to meet almost all the candidates personally and hear them speak. I would love to have you share the pro’s and cons of other candidates. Please feel free to blog and share.

  4. Kim Kim says:

    Thanks Fred. I liked your reflection on your Perry progression…or regression, I guess you could say. Very interesting.

    I am glad to hear Cain was your pick. My first introduction to Herman Cain came two years ago this December when I heard him as a fill in host for Rush Limbaugh. I thought, “Wow! This guy is dynamic, but more importantly, he gets it.” I really liked him from the start, and he is one of my top picks for the GOP primary.

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