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November 8th, 2011

Herman Cain’s Cult of Personality

By the way that many well-known conservative pundits and opinion leaders are acting, one would think that Herman Cain has already won the Republican presidential nomination.  Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have basically devoted their entire programs to the cause of defending Herman Cain.

In many respects, those defending Cain have done a better job of handling the media’s coverage of multiple sexual harassment complaints that were filed against him while he was the President of the National Restaurant Association (NRA) in the 1990’s that Cain himself has done.  Limbaugh, Hannity, and here locally, WHO Radio’s Simon Conway, have lashed out at the media for running articles that have ultimately proven to be accurate.

Many of the conservatives who have rushed to Cain’s aid have blown off the allegations because the names of the three women have not been disclosed.  They have done an admirable job in making people believe that these complaints have all come from anonymous sources.  That is simply not true.  The NRA, the news media, and even Herman Cain himself, know exactly who made these charges.  For heavens sake, two of them were cut five figure checks in return for their silence and cooperation in making the matter go away.

When it comes to conservative political pundits, I find myself with very little company in regards to the Herman Cain sexual harassment story. I’m troubled by Cain’s ever-changing accounts of what happened.  If these accusations were unfounded, which is the current talking point of Cain and his defenders, then why wasn’t that the campaign’s original position when they story broke week ago?  In fact, I’m as troubled by Cain’s response as I am by the original set of accusations.

Defending Cain seems like the intramural sport of choice for conservatives as of late. Some, like Congressman Steve King, have expended their own political capital defending him.  Why?  Not only is he blindly running to the aide of a candidate who can’t seem to get his story straight, but King is already being attacked for his comments.  King is running against a well-known and respected woman.  His comments will likely come back to bite him in his own re-election campaign.

Republicans are wasting their time defending Cain.  The only justification for people like Limbaugh and Hannity to defend any candidate is either that they are personal friends of Cain’s, or they desperately want him to be the Republican nominee.  It’s not the first time talk radio has tried to sway the Republican nomination.  Four years ago, the majority of the conservative talk radio hosts felt the need to tell us that Mitt Romney was the conservative candidate we needed to rally around.  Whoops, I guess they got that one wrong.  Now they are trying to sell us on Cain.

Give them credit for one thing, at least they are consistent.  For as much as they always talk and reminisce about Ronald Reagan, neither Romney nor Cain can claim that their candidacies reflect Reagan’s three-legged stool of free enterprise, strong national defense, and pro-family social policies.

Cain has done nothing to clarify his position on abortion.  He’s still claiming that he is pro-life and saying that the government should stay out of the abortion decision  at the same time.  That would be like Martin Luther King being so outraged about the treatment of African-Americans in the 1960’s, that he was unwilling to speak out or march in the streets to force change on the matter.

Cain has also done nothing to quell the concerns about his lack of understanding of foreign policy issues.  Whether it’s saying that he would negotiate with known terrorist groups like al- Qaeda, or not realizing that China is already a nuclear power, Cain has demonstrated time and time again that he lacks a basic understanding of America’s foreign policy.

When you look at Cain’s foreign policy weakness combined with his indefensible positions on pro-family social policies, Cain can only claim to possess one of the legs that made up Ronald Reagan’s “three legged” stool.  Even when it comes to free enterprise, Cain’s insistence that he supports the concept of TARP puts that in serious question.

The only thing conservatives get out of defending Cain is a weak nominee who can’t advocate for the principles upon which our party is founded.  Is that really what we want in our nominee?  Republicans will be successful in November of 2012 if the presidential election is about issues, not personality.  Republicans should want to talk about the debt that the Obama Administration has racked up, the anti-jobs policies the Democrats rammed through on party-line votes, and the loss of our personal liberties during the first four years of Obama’s first term.

In defending Cain, these so called conservatives are throwing in the towel on the issues that matter the American people.  Instead they would rather defend and promote a candidate who is clueless on cultural issues, who is clueless on matters of foreign policy, and supports the most anti-free market concept to ever come out of Washington – TARP.

It’s time for conservative to get serious.  Cain has proved one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt in the last month – he’s not a serious candidate regardless of what the polls say.  If that wasn’t bad enough, the questions about his personal record will likely continue to dog him for as long as he’s a candidate.

Photo by Dave Davidson,

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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