Herman Cain is NOT a politician and that’s one of the main reasons why Republican primary voters have gravitated to him. His off the cuff, breezy, humorous style is a breath of fresh air. He simply doesn’t speak like a stuffy, canned politician.
It is resonating.
Conversely, if he were a seasoned politician he probably wouldn’t be making these mistakes that we’ve seen on the campaign trail. There is a reason politicians speak more generically, slowly and carefully. They understand that words matter and that you can get in trouble if you start trying to wing it a little bit.
These incidents have hurt Cain’s credibility and have allowed a narrative to begin to form that he is not ready for primetime.
The truth is since he hasn’t served in government he really hasn’t had to seriously study up on these complex issues and get in the weeds because there was no Senate committee hearing to prepare for or an executive order to sign as governor.
We’re finding out that it DOES matter to have some of that type of experience. That doesn’t mean Herman Cain can’t get up to speed on the issues or surround himself with the right people. But his main challenge will now be to get people comfortable with him as a future president of the United States.
The next move is really up to Herman Cain. He has captured the attention of voters with his sunny disposition, jovial demeanor, his unconventional methods, his oratory skills, and his slogan simplicity (999). But now with voters paying closer attention, they want to see deeper substance from him and a strong command on a range of issues.
The former Godfathers “Pizza Man” is going to need to deliver on this. His critics are counting him out and indeed you probably only get a certain amount of times you can shout, “mea culpa” before the fire burns out. But Cain has been counted out before so don’t write him off quite yet.
In just a few short months, Cain has been able to connect with voters in a way that Mitt Romney has not been able to do in two presidential election cycles. That counts for something and it’s tangible and important. Now we will see if Cain can go deeper.
If he can, watch out. Ironically, he may need to start performing more like a seasoned politician for this non-politician to be a successful one.