I bet you thought that given Herman Cain's rise in the polls and his ability to connect with the American public and Republican straw poll delegates alike he would be a factor in the upcoming primary votes.
Well forget it. Cain is out. The Panel on Fox News Sunday today not only thinks so, they said they're working to make sure it happens. They want a continuing matchup between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. I guess in their world Newt Gingrich can go to hell too.
The panel was hosted by Chris Wallace and this week included Brit Hume; David Drucker from Roll Call; Kimberley Strassel from the Wall Street Journal; and Juan Williams.
Wallace said today that a "dirty little secret" of the news business is that they want other political candidates - except Cain - to stay in the race so they aren't just reporting on a Mitt Romney/Barack Obama matchup. But it seems far more likely that political insiders, including the media, don't want Cain shaking things up either.
Also, Cain has risen to the top on a shoe string, and doesn't have the money to make big advertising buys the way Romney and Perry do. Ad money; it's what makes the news world go round. Romney and Perry have it, and will spend it. Cain doesn't, at least yet, so he is out of here.
It has been clear from the time that Cain started his ascent that America's news organizations didn't want to take him seriously. His lack of insider political experience - which Americans love - was and is touted as a bad thing, and if he makes the slightest misstep it becomes an overnight sensation. Even now they refuse to give any credence to his message or his plans.
First, apparently because media personalities don't understand math or refuse to read what is plainly written on Cain's website and elsewhere on the Internet, it is commonplace to see them mischaracterize his 9-9-9 tax reform plan that is based on and leading to a national Fair Tax. Like a tree full of magpies they screech endlessly "It won't work, it can't pass, your taxes will increase."
It can work, it can get passed, and our taxes will go down. But let's not let the truth get in the way of a good mantra.
Yet, when the racist Texas Governor Rick Perry - remember his hunting camp named Ni**erhead? - comes out with a Flat Tax plan that is essentially the same as Cain's plan except Perry will bring along a massive bureaucracy that Cain wants to eliminate, the pundits gush over it. It will lead, they predict, to Perry's meteoric return from the ashes of a campaign that never got off the ground except in their minds.
I bet they think the Democrats will forget all about Ni**erhead and Perry falsely accusing Romney of hiring illegal aliens. Believe me, the Democrats won't forget.
Today's panel attacked Cain because of alleged conflicting statements on negotiating with terrorists and his stand on abortion.
Last week, when Israel traded 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for one Israeli soldier who had been held for five years, Cain was asked if as president he would consider releasing terrorists from the Guantanamo facility to get back an American prisoner.
Cain responded that he understood why the Israeli prime minister did what he did, and if faced with a similar situation would have to put all possibilities on the table. That immediately was seized upon as proof that Cain would negotiate with terrorists and thus weaken our oh-so-strong position on the world stage.
Let's look at this from the perspective of a parent whose son or daughter is being held by those pedophiles, rapists and religious fanatics. If it was your child, would you want to know that your president was doing everything in his or her power to bring that service member back home?
Even if the final answer was that the risk to the many outweighed the risk to the few, or the one, at least we would know that every possible avenue was explored.
Have these people forgotten what was done to journalist Daniel Pearl? When the Islamo-fascists were cutting his head off in slow motion on camera, did our leaders know that every possible method to secure his release had been explored? Did his family?
I think Cain accurately described the intricacies of the world today, and that an honest chief executive will have to at least consider all options.
On the abortion issue Cain was trying to thread the eye of a needle on his personal feelings versus the rights of women to determine their own destiny. Cain said he was against abortion, but that it still is the right of the family, especially the woman involved, to determine their own course action even if it is against the law, which the last time I looked, it was not.
Hume said Cain can not "walk back" his comments on abortion.
Here is where the Republican Party has been hurting itself for some time now. First, I oppose abortion when used as a form of birth control.
But I live in a state where the GOP at best can be described as moderate, and like the rest of the nation, females are an emerging force in our party. When I talk issues with many of the Republican women I know, I keep hearing the phrase "fiscal conservative," which appears to be code for "I don't necessarily agree with the party's stance on abortion."
A bit more discussion usually reveals that many Republican women also don't agree with using abortion as birth control, but they do believe a woman should have the right to make her own choice when rape or incest is involved.
I believe many men, such as Vice President Joe Biden, toss around the word "rape" because it doesn't make them as uncomfortable as actually describing what really happens to women who are raped. As a 20-year journalist I saw far too many rape reports that explain why that one word is insufficient to describe the actual crime.
Many reports, that my editors universally believed should not be in the papers to save the woman from reliving it, described vicious attacks where a man exacted a level of violence against a woman that can only be described as heinous. Smashing heads against concrete walls, or cinder blocks, or sidewalks, or granite curbing repeatedly until she was nearly unconscious from the pain and blood loss.
Punching her face so many times that her nose was broken, teeth knocked out, eyes swollen shut, even facial bones broken. Punches and kicks to the midsection that broke ribs, and damaged internal organs, obscene acts on her female organs that were followed by sexual assault.
Then, she not only finds out that the bastard who did this to her impregnated her, but some man she doesn't know, espousing beliefs with which she doesn't agree, tells her that if she doesn't carry the baby to term she is a murderer? Add incest to this, except it may not be that physically violent, and I think it is reasonable to ask why we are even having this discussion.
I don't know when a one-viewpoint-fits all position on abortion became a litmus test in the Republican Party, but I don't believe it is universally accepted, either by Independent voters, or even many in the GOP. And frankly, with the state of the economy, and the overwhelming need to get it back on track, I don't think it will be the defining issue in next year's election.
Cain may need to refine his message, or he may just have to stop trying to thread the needle. Either way he may find that more people agree with him than he had imagined.
I might have just shrugged my shoulders at today's FNS discussion if it weren't for a comment by Drucker after Juan Williams noted that Mitt Romney is running ads attacking Perry, who is way down in the polls, while ignoring Cain, who is leading the field.
Drucker said Romney doesn't need to attack Cain because Cain will trip himself up, and "people like us have been looking at his (Cain's) plan and writing all sorts of things, and it has taken care of the problem." The problem being that Romney has no idea how to combat Cain's popularity.
So he has the media doing it for him. Drucker added that as a result of people like those on the panel writing things about Cain "If there is any threat (to Romney's campaign) it is from Perry."
But wait, there's more. Wallace then added that "there is going to be an effort on his (Perry's) part, or our part, to resuscitate Rick Perry." Deeply disappointed in these people, I am.
I couldn't believe they said those things and I didn't hear anyone disagreeing with the possible exception of Williams who did stick up for Cain - a bit. In fact Strassel also chimed in noting "we're not the only ones that don't want a Romney-Obama campaign," and further explained that the White House would like to keep mixing things up too.
That's what the political arm of the administration is supposed to do. But if the national media is going be siding with the White House to keep Herman Cain out of the race, and Rick Perry in it, I think it would be nice if they just came out and said so, rather than attempting to package their agenda as news and commentary.
Journalistic ethics seem to be non-existent in that format. Credibility appears to be in short supply there too.
Wallace ended the panel discussion by saying that regardless of how things looked last week, "we'll see how the polls turn after this week."
Premonition? I think not.
Sunday, October 23, 2011