Yes, We Cain’t

Herman Cain suspended his presidential campaign last week. He chose not to disband it entirely so that he could continue to traverse the nation espousing his tax and foreign policy proposals. Maybe he can hitch a ride with Sarah Palin who appears to be on Minute 14 of her proverbial 15.

Cain’s departure from the race comes on the heels of an unemployed Atlanta woman’s announcement that the two have engaged in a 13-year affair. Though Cain denies the accusation, his line, “I am at peace with my wife,” and subsequent surrender make one think otherwise.

In the meantime, Rick Perry has shown the world what some of us Texans already knew: good hair follicles can sometimes come with good folly. The governor has appearances on Letterman and Leno to prove it.

After lackluster debate performances, Perry readily admitted that debating is not his strong suit. But what is politics if not a perpetual back and forth of ideas and solutions?

Speeches and rhetoric poured forth before friendly crowds have put us in gridlock. We need debate and decisions to get us moving again.

And then there were two: Mitt and Newt. Sounds like a show on the Cartoon Network. What shall we do with them?

Mitt has held fairly steady in the polls as contenders have surpassed and receded. But his award-winning unflappability has shown signs of cracking. Gov. Perry stuck a few debate burrs under his saddle. He responded condescendingly and patronizingly.

Last week, he showed impatience with Fox News’ Brett Baier for asking him to reiterate his position on an issue. Again, what is a campaign if not a constant repeating of one’s ideas? Oh yes, Mitt’s from the private sector where executives speak once and action happens.

He’ll get some rest and return to his clean cut, straight-laced self. He’ll go back to delivering rapid fire bullet points. He’ll again speak in applause lines and sound bites.

Newt, on the other hand, doesn’t speak in sound bites. Therein lies his appeal. He listens to the unfolding debate and speaks in context.

Once, after Cain and Romney argued over the intricacies of Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan, Gingrich was asked why Cain was having trouble selling the idea to the America people. “You just saw why,” he offered.

In the debate on national security, he was asked by a defense hawk if he’d pledge to make no cuts in defense. He declined.

“Some things you can do in defense that are less expensive…If it takes 15 to 20 years to build a weapons system, at a time when Apple changes technology every nine months, there’s something profoundly wrong with the system.”

Then come the intangibles of ego, leadership style and relationship skills.

Newt views himself as an historic figure. Mitt sees himself as a turnaround artist.

Newt is known to be difficult to work with. Mitt can be goofy and somewhat aloof.

Newt has dumped his wives every couple of decades. Mitt is supported by his wife, five sons and, most impressively, five daughters-in-law.

San Antonio minister Max Lucado once told a group of authors, “You will never write better than you live.” The axiom almost certainly has a corollary, “You will never lead better than you live.”

Best wishes to Republican voters in discerning which candidate lives, and therefore leads, the best.

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star. Subscribe to his columns at

1 Response to “Yes, We Cain’t”

  1. 1 Zack Stroup December 9, 2011 at 02:45

    Well written.

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