They’re Waiting for Reagan to Hit the Campaign Trail

There ‘s some  bad news on the doorstep for Mitt Romney.  The headline at the top of page one in the Wall Street Journal shouted what Mitt Romney didn’t want to hear:  “Cain Vaults to Lead in Poll.”  Once again, Yogi got it right:  It ain’t over til it’s over.

Twenty seven percent of GOP primary voters picked Herman Cain as their first choice for the Republican nomination while Mitt Romney held firm as 23 percent, according to the NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll.

We should have seen this coming.

Conservatives never took a liking to Mitt Romney. Rush Limbaugh says he’s not a “principled conservative.”  A caller on his show said that Romney was “the white Obama.”  Another was hoping Sarah Palin would re-consider and run against President Obama.  Never mind all those polls that polls showed most Republicans didn’t want her to run.  This kind of thing means nothing to the most passionate conservatives who won’t be happy until Ronald Reagan rises from the dead and hits the campaign trail.  Anything is possible, but I’m guessing it’s not going to happen

That’s where Herman Cain comes in.  He’s no Reagan but to conservatives he comes a lot closer than anybody else, especially Mitt Romney.

Rush and his callers are right about one thing:  Romney isn’t a principled conservative.  In fact, you could make the case that he’s not a principled politician at all.  He was pro-choice.  Now he’s pro-life.  He was for gay rights.  Now he defends marriage between a man and a woman as “critical for the well-being of civilization.”  He was for gun control.  Now he’s a member of the National Rifle Association.

Yes, running in liberal Massachusetts is one thing; running in Republican primaries for president is something else altogether.

And the other night at the debate, Newt Gingrich asked Romney why his capital gains tax cuts only benefit Americans whose incomes are below $200,000. Romney replied that the “rich can take care of themselves,” and that he’s concerned about “the middle class.”  Barack Obama couldn’t have said it any better.

Conservatives bristle when they hear liberal journalists say there’s a civil war raging in the Republican Party.  But there is, or at least there’s a great big schism between the “realists” and the “purists.”  The realists say Romney is the only Republican who can beat Obama because he’s the one who can win the crucial independent vote.

The purists say McCain was a moderate, like Romney, and how did that turn out.  Besides – and this is their go-to point – Reagan, a real conservative who never apologized for his conservatism, carried 49 states in one election, and that includes a lot of really, really blue states where liberals almost always win.  There’s the proof, they say, that a real conservative can win.  So why settle for Romney?

It’s a fair question, but what Rush and the other purists don’t get is that Ronald Reagan didn’t win simply because he was a real conservative.  He won because he was Ronald Reagan.  His personality, as much as his politics, won over blue collar Democrats and other lower-income voters who normally don’t vote for Republicans.  And there’s no Ronald Reagan out there today.  Not Palin.  Not Bachmann.  Not Perry.  Not Santorum.  But Herman Cain, the plain speaking guy who grew up poor and made something of himself because he believes in personal responsibility?  Maybe.

Here’s a question for my purist friends:  Name a second conservative American president in the last 80 years?  You can’t.  Reagan’s the only one.  If conservatives were so popular with the general electorate you’d think they’d have won a few more elections.  Sure, all the Republican presidents since FDR were more conservative than their Democratic opponents, but that doesn’t make Eisenhower, Nixon, Bush the Elder or Bush the Younger real conservatives.  And if the GOP had nominated more conservative candidates than the ones they did, the Democrat might very well have won.

The fat lady hasn’t sung yet.  And that fat guy from New Jersey’s endorsement of Romney before the debate the other night may not put him over the top.  Not a single real vote has been cast.  It ain’t over til it’s over.

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  • Ken E. Arant

    I concur Bernie, Mitt is the white Obama – two Harvard lawyers – not at all what we need. It would be extremely painful watching Romney duck over Obamneycare and try to explain all of his conversions. But let us talk about RECORDS. Perry is a successful, sitting three term governor of the largest, consistent red state – Romney served one term and had to be blue to get it and created Obamacare. Perry served his country honorably – none of the other candidates served as far as I’ve heard. Perry is a consistent conservative – Romney is not and it appears Cain has real problems being consistent. Based on the records of the current top 3 field, the only one with a lot of executive experience plus a solid conservative record and military experience is Perry. Steve King supports Perry and that could give him Iowa. Bobby Jindal’s endorsement is a good indicator Perry could take most of the South and if Nikki Haley bonds with him it could give him North Carolina, game over.



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  • samantha perumal

    oh!,that’s why i like cain as president,i’m a purist!i lov it wen i learn facts that answer my questions,frm these writings,bec.i support only republican stuff,&dont go anywhere near democrat stuff.

  • Terry Walbert

    No matter who wins the election, conservatives still need to be vigilant. You just don’t elect “the right people” to office and then go home.

    Milton Friedman once said something about politics being the art of getting the wrong people to do the right thing.

  • Ron Kean

    That was a nice tweet that night when you called Newt a real conservative. It was complementary.

    • Bob Hadley

      Newt, a real conservative???? I’ve never heard that before. Newt is a real chameleon….on plaid (as Hoover once quipped about FDR). And, if there was a pun in there, it was intended. :)

      • Ron Kean

        On O’Reilly last nite I said none of the GOP “real conservatives” cud beat Obama in a debate. Meant to say EXCEPT 4 NEWT. my bad. Sorry.”

        Of course you’ll understand, Bob, that I’ll take Bernie’s read over yours considering I’m not aware of your qualifications to judge and I am sure of Bernie’s.

  • Dave

    Bernard, pundits are frequently straightline forecasters based on past events/outcomes. This is why there are political “surprises” over and over again. This is the perfect scenario for success by a true conservative since he will be following a dismal true liberal. I am sure the Roman pundits were drawing straight lines the day that barbarians came for their heads. The doom smelling gene is inactive in “realists”. It is a self protecting tendency that can’t see us going to hell. Now is your cue to write this off for X reasons you can clearly name.

  • Randall Morgan

    I feel that nothing short of an overwhelming majority in the house, a filibuster proof majority in the senate, and a true conservative in the white house will undo the damage done and the future trajectory set by the Obama years. I don’t think that will happen. Whether the next president is Obama or Romney, the damage already done will be irrevocable. I expect to be dead within the next ten to fifteen years and I am glad that I have no children to worry about, because I expect that the voters in this country are going to get exactly the government and future that they deserve by virtue of their votes.

  • Nancye

    October 19, 2011 | 8:52 am

    If we learned (or should have learned) anything from the 2010 elections, it was that it is better to nominate moderate candidates who stand a chance of being elected rather than ideological “purists” who will inevitably be beaten.

    I have nothing against Herman Cain,and I will vote for him if he is nominated. However, Romney would be a far more electable candidate.


    I like Herman Cain and I will vote for him because I think he’s the best candidate for the job. I will NOT vote for Romney because the so-called “moderates” say I should because Romney is a far more electable candidate. I’m sick of pundits from the Lame Stream Media, and even from Fox News, telling me who I should vote for.

    Everyone should vote for who they believe is the best for the job and just maybe their or my candidate will win. Why should I give in to the “powers that be” who think they know it all? They don’t know anymore about who will win than I do. If they think if they twist your arm, you’ll do what they tell you to, they’re just whistling Dixie.

  • John

    If we learned (or should have learned) anything from the 2010 elections, it was that it is better to nominate moderate candidates who stand a chance of being elected rather than ideological “purists” who will inevitably be beaten.

    I have nothing against Herman Cain,and I will vote for him if he is nominated. However, Romney would be a far more electable candidate.

  • Michele Howard

    Herman Cain has a BIG personality that we all like that you seemed to have overlooked!

  • Paul Richard Strange Sr

    Reagan was spoken of as “too conservative to be elected President” by Gerald Ford. The Nixonian-Ford wing of the GOP has NEVER been kind in the early stages to someone who is not elitist.

    Yes, Reagan made many compromises. That is different from being unprincipled. To recognize that you have to give up something in negotiations is different from never shooting for the stars in the first place.

    Conservatives know that there are times when it is impossible to lead by strict ideology. But, that’s not what Reagan did. He did not renounce positions previously defended, for example. He was a pragmatist about many things, but he was well-known for a set of principles long before he ever made it to the White House!

    Bernie did make a point that I agree with: Reagan kept conservatives in the GOP by his principles, but he won moderates, independents, and conservative Dems more by his personality. I wish that were NOT true. I wish a candidate of good consistency in conviction could win on the merits of the best principles and solutions alone. But,alas, that is not the world we live in, which is why the establish wing of the GOP and those of us who trust the Tea Party more are doing well to have this argument now, before the primaries are over.


  • rider237

    we might wish for another Reagan, but we are practical. we know we have to have someone to beat obama. i don’t like romney. if i have to vote for him, it won’t make me vomit as McCain did, but it won’t make me happy. he’s worse than “not conservative”. he’s liberal with a ‘R’ behind his name. even so, i’ll vote for him because he will be better (we pray) than what we have.

    i am a purest in my heart. a pragmatist in my actions. i’ll deal with the stomach upset….maybe a nice cup of peppermint tea?

  • Ralph Hahn

    This is a “little off-topic,” but President Obama’s truck filled with his traveling podiums, Presidential seals, speakers and his TelePrompTer, was stolen. I read a couple of published accounts of this, but both were missing the story’s tag at the end: “When asked to comment about the theft of his TelePrompTer, President Obama had nothing to say.”

  • Rick Daniel

    I’m one of the independent voters everybody says will never vote for a conservative (although I have, many times). I’m not a principled conservative, either, far from a “purist”. However, I do believe strongly in personal responsibility and celebrate people who have conquered adversity to make something of themselves, (rather than resent them because they did better than I did)and I find Mr. Cain tremendously appealing for this reason. Plus, the man says what he thinks, most refreshing, even if he does irritate some people sometimes. I’m heartened by Mr. Goldberg’s assessment — he went from past “not a chance” to last nite’s “maybe”. I can only speak for myself, but I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way. I wish Mr. Cain Godspeed, and offer him whatever meager support I can muster.

  • Paul Richard Strange Sr

    I listened as Bernie made this case on the O’Reilly Show and I was taken aback that Mr. Goldberg, who is better than most journalists, would be so cravenly Machiavellian or shall I say Nixonian?

    It is the fearfulness of those who want the GOP to merely be a figurehead of American Big Government that prevents the answer to his question, “Why has there only been one Reagan=type President?” It is Bernie Goldberg’s heebie-jeebies, along with big money donors, that only wants to slightly rein in the Leftward movement of the nation, which actually nauseates activists on both sides of the aisle, and creates a climate for a new FDR on steroids like Obama in 2008!

    Goldberg (and Oreilly) automatically reject people like Dr. Ron Paul and reflexively embrace people like Romney…then Bernie blames the so-called “purists” for electoral disappointment?

    No, we who want real reforms are not expecting Ronald Wilson Reagan to rise from the dead! But, we sure as hell don’t need a Machiavellian change artist for our nominee in order to prove that we’re “realists”!!!

    Paul Richard Strange Sr.
    119 Marvin Gardens
    Waxahachie TEXAS 75165

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    • Nancye

      Obama ? It’s a dilemma, truly. Purism or compromise ? Do you know the answer ? They’re Waiting for Reagan to Hit the Campaign Trail – BernardGoldberg.. Remainders: no he Cain’t? Plus, the origins of OWS, and poll-watching.. David Axelrod


      No Bernie, no one is waiting for Reagan to hit the Campaign Trail, but in my not-so-humble opinion, any of the candidates can beat Obama in the 2012 election, not just Romney. Where do you get the idea that only Romney can beat him? That’s just YOUR opinion. Somehow the elitists of the northeast think only another one the THEM could beat Obama. Gimme a break!

  • Ken Besig, Israel

    Oddly enough, in order to govern, one has to win an election, a fact which you would think would be obvious to most people. But not for the “purists” who demand complete and absolute adherence to their “principles” inn exchange for their support.
    And in order to effectively govern, strangely enough, a leader has to be able to compromise when necessary. Again, for the “purists” compromise is considered “selling out” or worse, betrayal.
    But thankfully most “purists” are reasonable people who understand that one rarely gets everything one wants and those who DO expect to get everything often end up with nothing, and more often than not, even the direct opposite of what they wanted!

    • RecknHavic

      In order to win a Presidential election, strangely enough, you have to hold your base support…. oddly enough.

  • Eric Phillips (@manilatop10)

    Newt can make the “Reagan” case for any Republican candidate that climbs to the top of the polls but he seems firm in reaching for the top of the ticket at this point in time…

  • Nicholas King

    Perhaps one of you could enlighten me by what you mean as to “true conservatism”? What stance does a “true conservative” take on issues? What issues are at the forefront of a “true conservative”‘s mind?

    The reason I ask (and the reason I cringe when someone says something like this) is because it sounds like this old argument: Religious Person A commits some horrible crime. Religious Person B says that they weren’t a “true religious person”. Just trying to get an understanding.

    • Paul Courtney

      Permit me. I believe RR was a true conservative, but he was Pres., not fuhrer, had to deal with 2 other gov’t branches. He wanted to shrink gov’t on all levels except defense (where we faced a mortal enemy). He did shrink gov’t to the degree congress went along. He would have shrunk defense as well, after fall of USSR, though congress, generals and vendors would have worked to keep the money flowing. At its core, conservative says our Constitution created a limited gov’t with rights of people (especially in commerce) preserved so that fed gov’t can tax and regulate ONLY where Constitution gives it authority. Sometimes, this has to be imposed on gov’t by SCOTUS, and Rob’t Bork would have helped there, but we needed Senate without pusillanimous Arlen Specter and a few other Rs cowed by the press. Reagan was not able to govern as 100% conservative, but I believe he was one because he understood limited gov’t. under Constitution, which he was able to carry out with some success because he got elected. That’s the best I can do in 200 words.

      • Nicholas King

        So essentially, a true Conservative adheres to the Constitution? If that’s the case, may I ask why so many Republican candidates (especially on the state level) ignore provisions in the Constitution to suit their constituency’s agendas?

        For example: the anti-discrimination provisions of the 14th Amendment are pretty clear yet they are ignored when it comes to gays and lesbians having the same civil rights as straight people.

        Another example: There is a provision in the 1st Amendment that states there will be no religious test for public office. Yet there are currently 6 states in the U.S. that violate this provision with their State Constitutions or laws on their books.

        I bring this up because increasingly what I see (and please bear in mind I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat) is that the Republican party has become increasingly hostile to anyone that doesn’t fit a certain ideological image (specifically white, upper middle class, and religious).

        • rider237

          permit me :-) we do not generally recognize a choice of sleeping partners (behavior) as something in need of protection. any way you slice it, who you sleep with is a choice.
          race is not a choice. we do not discriminate against someone because of the way they are born.
          gays are not recognized as a protected class.

          there are lots of old laws on books that are ignored. most forgotten. the question is: have they been acted on? for instance, there is a law in a community not far from here, that will put a farmer in jail or have him fined if his stallion mounts a mare in sight of the public road. now….it’s a law to laugh at and who knows why it’s still there, but i don’t know of any farmers in the last 100 years of so that have been thrown in jail because the stallion got frisky in the road side pasture.
          as a conservative, i don’t necessarily identify with the republican party. i would gladly vote for a conservative democrat over a liberal republican. that does not mean the i wish to compromise on issues like the constitution. BTW. it’s article 6 not the 1st amendment.

          all that said, there are a lot, and more all the time, non white, non religious or other than christian, and non middle class people who are waking up to the fact that liberalism doesn’t work. the natural place for them to end up is in the republican party. rather than increasingly hostile, i would say the republican party is increasingly diverse.

          • Nicholas King

            Also Rider, I would point out that the repeal of miscegenation laws which prevented people of different ethnicity from marrying would qualify as a behavior we as a society felt the need to protect.

            One other point, if homosexuality is a choice (which you have clearly chosen as your stance based on your words) then my followup question would be: When did you choose to be heterosexual?

        • Paul Courtney

          Thought this was a serious inquiry, apparently not.

          • Nicholas King

            Apologies for the condescension but did you really expect me to make a statement without having evidence to back up my assertion? Besides Paul, you didn’t even bother answering the query I put forward. Someone else did that for you.

        • rider237

          your sexual preference might not be a choice, but you do make the choice to have sex. i don’t really care if you make that choice. i don’t care who you sleep with. what i am saying is that your choice of sleeping partners does not make you a protected class, or a class with special rights.

          i’m not sure what your point is. if you want to make the point that there are screwy laws still on the books, i’d agree with you. if you want to make the point that republicans are homophobic, you are wrong. some are, just as some democrats are. it is not a party platform.

          you might want to remember that prop 8 in CA was passed because of a huge black, democrat, turnout. they might have been voting for the black dem, but they sure didn’t want the gay marriage.

          you seem to be wanting to pick a fight were there isn’t one.

  • EddieD_Boston

    Bernie, I just watched you on O’Reilly and you made a great point (or tried to until Bill interrupted you) about Cain and Reagan. You’re right, Cain is a truly American story. He could also be thought of as a much revered grandfather figure.

    Never thought of it in those terms until you brought it to my attention. You’re the man.

    • Eric Phillips (@manilatop10)

      I’ll look for the link online since I haven’t had television for some time again … seems worth the watch!

  • John J

    Bernie, you know how well I think Herman will do in a debate with Obumbles? I want the pay-per-view rights. You could make a billion dollars. Mr Teleprompter ain’t got the chance of a snowball in hell against the Hermanator.
    I know. I should never forget: you were a conservative in the CBS newsroom. Among the Tea Party, though, you’re still a communist.

  • john nazzaro

    Let’s see:Cain endorsed Mitt (as did Limbaugh)in 2008. Cain has no political infrastructure, no on-the-ground organization in the early primary/caucus states, no institutional support from his party, no budget, no media buys 90 days out,no endorsements,no campaign calendar (book sales don’t count), no political experience, and no platform except for a tax restructuring wherein the numbers/details transparently don’t foot and which by common consensus is without any professional political constituency. Yep. Sounds like Reagan to me.

    • John J

      Me too!
      I think Herman is going to show everyone how you become President on 2 dollars a day. Like private industry must do, every single day. You see it in his continuous interviews. He goes direct to the people.
      I like that very much.
      I have a theory. I think they set Herman to fix Godfather’s Pizza, figuring, “what the hell could that uppity black man know about pizza?” hoping he would fail.
      Think again, suckers!

    • Rick Daniel

      Is it possible that Mr. Cain’s “Guerilla Campaign” tactics might be someting new that resonates with people? Could “the way it’s always been done” be fading a little bit? The man has critically assessed what he’s got to work with and put it to absolute maximum use, with tremendous success, by anyone’s measure so far.
      Rick Daniel

  • fbanta

    Herman Cain and Ronald Reagan share an infectious, contageous enthusiasm for the American Dream powered by honest belief in American Exceptionalism. Their belief is unshakeable because they lived it. Herman’s story is even more compelling than Reagan’s because he lived it in a Jim Crow world.

    But let’s be real clear, Reagan was certainly not a small government, fiscal conservative: one only need to look at the explosive deficit during his administrations (from $800B to $2 TRILLION). And his Constitutionalist bona fides took a beating with Iran-Contra. He’d have a hard time getting elected on that record now.

    Following Obama, Herman Cain is just what America needs. We need to restore the enthusiasm and passion for opportunity that is missing in the Entitlement Generation.

    Of course the professional whiners and failure enablers are already screaming like their finger’s slammed in the car door because Cain proves their lies.

    58% of Conservative voters stayed home because of McCain. Romney will exceed that if he is nominated. Cain may be our last best hope.

    • John J

      I know one thing about Herman, and it’s the same thing I knew about Reagan: he doesn’t flail about; he knows what he’s about, and he has thought his way through things. He knows, deep in his soul, what the right thing is. And he will do it, if he possibly can. This fills a visceral need in my lizard brain: I want to know that he’s on my side. I can forgive mistakes, but I need to know he’s my alpha dog, willing to die for me, if required.
      And someone wants to know why I don’t like Romney? He’d sell his mother, if it was convenient.

  • Wil Burns

    Bernie, Ronald Reagan won because of the 20% mortgage interest rates, and the long Gas Lines, and The Misery Index. And the 444 Days of an Iranian Hostage Crisis, and the Failed Operation Eagle Claw Rescue Mission. And the 13% inflation rate. Jimmy Carter was a failure as president and so was Ronald Reagan!

    • Paul Courtney

      Wil: Welcome back from Zuccotti Park, hope you cleaned up. I see what you mean, under RR the economy did so well it made goofball leftism nearly obsolete. An awful result, from your perspective. It survived on campus and in the MSM, where they think they’re immune from the need for money. It re-emerged under Nancy, Harry, and Barry, and remind us how well you lefties understand wealth creation. So well, Obama will certainly campaign on his economic record, and won’t go negative at all.

      • John J

        Oh, that’s funny!

      • Wil Burns

        Ronald Reagan sold a democratic society on the idea that their own government was the enemy. And he repeated that charge while sitting as the head of that government. You quite literally had the President of the United States telling America that government of the people, for the people, and by the people was against the people. And we believed it. Hook, line and sinker we bought into a philosophy that says the government that took generations to build, the product of all those much-beloved heroes and founders, deserved no better than being ripped apart. We accepted the Republican premise that government was the problem. Meaning, in a representative government that we are the problem.

        Reagan convinced us to grab our own throats, and squeeze. It’s little wonder that after three decades of his followers, we are left bruised and wheezing.

    • Ron Kean

      There you go again…

  • Kathie Ampela

    I just finished reading an excellent blog post by Andrew Klavan. See here:

    In essence, Obama is not the cause of the crisis we are facing, he is a symptom. This has been brewing for 40 eroding or decay of the culture. News media, the entertainment industry, liberal Washington establishment, college professors and Wall Street greed all blended together. The conservatives who can’t accept Romney and who are grasping at anyone who’s Not Romney realize this. He’s polished, articulate, knowledgable on policy and quick on his feet but he’s a used car salesman. The best we can hope for in him is to delay the fall into the abyss. He’s the little Dutch boy who put his finger in the dyke and saved his country. We need someone to rebuild the dyke. It won’t happen in this election.

    • fbanta

      Kathie: while it would be unfair to claim that the fiasco was of Obama’s making, every single action of his has made it worse, not better. He has never progressed beyond the ‘community organizer’ who’s function is not to actually fix anything, but just to stir-up enough stink to get on the 6 o’clock news.

      His out of control spending (30% increase over 2008 = $1 Trillion a year added); and his crippling regulations (average 8,000 a year or 1 every 15 minutes); coupled with his public scourging of the Wall Street Bankers that he privately enriches at taxpayer expense; his endless racial and class divisiveness all combine to create a near chaotic state. Why would a president of the United States publically support a movement funded by communists and Marxists that calls for the overthrow of capitalism and the Constitution?

      Herman Cain achieved greatness against unfavorable odds: not by financial manipulations in the board room, but by leading, motivating, training and encouraging part-time and minimum wage employees to achieve greatness according to his well constructed plan. We desperately need a leader who believes in America, the American Dream, and American Exceptionalism; and Herman Cain is that man who knows from his own personal experience the amazing power that they contain for those willing to work for their dream.

      • Kathie Ampela

        “His out of control spending (30% increase over 2008 = $1 Trillion a year added); and his crippling regulations (average 8,000 a year or 1 every 15 minutes); coupled with his public scourging of the Wall Street Bankers that he privately enriches at taxpayer expense; his endless racial and class divisiveness all combine to create a near chaotic state. Why would a president of the United States publically support a movement funded by communists and Marxists that calls for the overthrow of capitalism and the Constitution?”

        How did we go from “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” to electing a Socialist as President in a mere generation? What’s wrong with us will not be fixed in one election.

      • Wil Burns

        Paul, Whose fault was it for the 7 1/2 million jobs lost between December of 2007 and Jan. 20th, 2009? Actually the loss of half to three quarters of a million jobs per month continued until the Recovery act was passed. Those are indisputab­le facts so explain? Bush vetoed everything having to do with the economy passed by the Democratic Congress at the time. He had a total of 13 vetoes during his 8 years and 12 of them came between 2007 and 2008. So don’t even try to blame the Congress at that time.

  • John Mahr

    How much is a SMILE worth??
    By now most people know I am a supporter of Herman Cain. The link below will tell you why!

    But something new has come to the forefront!!
    In the Fox/Google Debate in Florida, I realized something that had eluded me until this debate.
    When other candidates responded to questions, I listened intently, seriously pondering their stance, policy, or demeanor. I either agreed or disagreed. Nonetheless I gave each candidate very serious contemplation and took their answers to heart.
    But by the end of the night, I noticed something that had been happening in the past. I never put it together until this debate.
    When Herman Cain speaks – I SMILE!!!!
    Sure, I’ve had occasion to laugh at something said by another candidate now and then when they have a witty aside or skillfully deflect a question or attack. But those are few and far between.
    Herman Cain, within 15 to 20 seconds or so from the time he starts speaking, makes me start to smile. Even if he is giving a serious answer on a serious topic, all he has to do is smile one time and I find myself following his lead. How powerful is that??
    With a President that has a penchant for tanking the stock market every time he takes to a microphone and a Chief Executive that can’t speak to grade school children without a teleprompter – how refreshing is that?
    If all else is equal (I know – a huge premise there) and several candidates have enough going for them that each could handle the office of President of the United States, how powerful does that smile become?
    You can argue that Cain has never been a politician; you can say he is from “big business” and you would rather have someone with legislative savvy, you can say “I like his policy on XXXXX but I don’t agree with his take on XXXXX”. But you would be hard pressed to say he is boring, lackluster, or plastic.
    Herman Cain has the ability to MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER??? That is Priceless!!!!!!!!
    There is a national consternation that the MOOD of the country has fallen. It has. This is a sullen nation. We have Obama to thank for that.
    The next President will inherit an abysmal national scenario. His job from day one will be to start the turn around. It won’t happen overnight, but the MOOD can change in a heartbeat.
    I have no idea (if Herman Cain was to be elected) what his inauguration speech would contain. But I would bet my bottom dollar that by the time he was done we would all feel better immediately!
    Every candidate in the debate professes a belief that the country can and will get better and I believe they believe it. But when Herman Cain says it – I BELIEVE IT!!!
    Regardless of what method is used to turn around this abysmal Federal nightmare, this country needs to smile again. That’s the one thing Herman Cain delivers purely because he is Herman Cain.
    Measure each candidate, listen to all views, decide on policies and procedures, but if you need to smile – LISTEN TO HERMAN CAIN.
    So – How much is a smile worth???? EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Alice Leuchte

    I saw every candidates name in this article except Ron Paul. Odd, because Paul was one of the few people who actually stood with Reagan during his campaigns and shares quite a few policies with our legendary 40th President (like foreign policy). Just saying…

  • Cmacrider

    Your article nicely articulates the decision which Republican’s have to make. However as a Canadian on-looker I have several questions I would appreciate a response to from someone who is immersed and fluent with the American political scene.

    1. What makes the Romney supporters presuppose that the independents will come out to vote for Romney? In the last election they supported Obama who anyone could see was basically a socialist which would appear to indicate that it is not your position on the left/right wing spectrum which garners independent support … it is the excitement that the candidate generates. Does anyone think that Romney is going to generate that kind of excitement and committment from the independents?
    2. Why is it cast as some sort of catastophe that the political right is currently divided on whether to support Romney or another candidate? My impression as an avid follower of American politics is that “thinking for themselves” and not merely following the mob or the NY Times is a genetic trait of Republicans. It seems to me that this is proof positive that the Republican Party is a “big tent” party. Why not celebrate the diversity?
    3. If Romney is such a seasoned politian, why is he not driving wedges between the blocks which have historically voted Democrat? The keystone pipeline provides an excellent opportunity to drive a wedge between organized labor and the Democrats who have to cater to enviro extremists. The non-descript Middle East policy of Obama provides an opportunity to drive a wedge between the Democratic Party and the Jewish Community. The misguided economic policies provide an opportunity to drive a wedge between the Democrats and the so called working class. Is Romney showing leadership in this regard? At least Cain is showing potential leadership in this regard by taking on the race/victim proponents in the Democratic Party in an effort to make inroads into the African American community.
    4. What makes you think that traditional political theory about how to attract the independent vote will work in a time when (a) America is suffering from a recession (b) America is losing its status as the leader of the Free World, and (c) America is burdened with unprecedented debt. None of the established political pundits predicted Scott Brown’s taking of the “Kennedy seat” nor did they predict the influence of the conservative TEA Party. Therefore what makes you think that the mood of the electorate will follow the established norms?

    I am aware of the polls which show Romney doing better against Obama than Cain. However, Cain is only just becoming a person with national name recognition and the election is a year away. If he wins the primary he will have that name recognition and it is only then will one be able to determine whether Cain can beat Obama.

    My guess is that if Cain won the primary he would annihilate Obama because (a) he has a charismatic element, (b) he speaks straightforward common sense, and (c) he is a proponent of established American values. I’m thinking that American’s have flirted with socialism and the mood of independants is that it is now time for them to return to those values, policies, and ideas which made them successful. That is Cain’s message and it seems to have been appreciated by the American public …. if the recent polls are considered.
    Cameron D. MacKay

    • Ron Kean

      Karl Rove has said that at this time in the last Presidential campaign, Guilanni and Thompson were leading. That means it’s too early to tell how the election will play out.

      So Romney is just playing it safe, not going full steam in one direction or the other, not offending anyone and trying not to make rhetorical mistakes for now.

      I’m guessing, after Iowa, New Hampshire, and a couple more, if he stays on top, he’ll have opportunity to attack and make moves on the Democrats that he may be saving or planning.

      • RecknHavic

        Perhaps Romney’s “playing it safe” because to do otherwise would expose his moderate/left record as gov of Mass. The press has not vetted Romney yet but if he gets the nomination you can bet they will, and in the most unflattering ways.

        The article is yet another veiled attack on the Tea Party movement.

    • Nancye

      My guess is that if Cain won the primary he would annihilate Obama because (a) he has a charismatic element, (b) he speaks straightforward common sense, and (c) he is a proponent of established American values. I’m thinking that American’s have flirted with socialism and the mood of independants is that it is now time for them to return to those values, policies, and ideas which made them successful. That is Cain’s message and it seems to have been appreciated by the American public …. if the recent polls are considered.
      Cameron D. MacKay


      Amen!!! ‘nough said. Some people are determined that WE are going to give the GOP nomination to Romney. Not so.

    • Rick Daniel

      Cameron, as a Canadian onlooker, you seem to have things nailed. Wish you could vote here, you aren’t likely to see anything more cogent than what you just posted!
      Rick Daniel

      • Cmacrider

        Rick: Thanks for the compliment. Believe me there are many many Canadians hoping & praying that BO is a one term president. There is a common saying in Canada …. “don’t worry about the U.S. they have unlimited capacity to re-invent themselves” …. so at least Canadian conservatives are hoping for a re-invention in Nov. 2012.

  • RecknHavic

    I’d make the point that the “purist” in the Republican Party are actually the Bernie Goldberg’s, who’d support ANY Republican over Obama.

    The problem w/ our politics isn’t ideological purity, it’s Party purity.

    • Ron Kean

      You may be assuming that there’s no reason to want Obama out.

      • RecknHavic

        There is plenty of reason to want Obama out. But, to replace him w/ a liberal Republican will only set back the conservative movement that is resonating w/in the GOP and the nation as a whole. Make no mistake about it, the internal battle for the Grand ‘Ol Party will be hard fought and will take time. One can only hope that at some point the moderates w/in the Democrat Party will take on the Left which dominates what was at one time a viable, constructive political Party.

        • Ron Kean

          Then we go back to your original post. ANY candidate other than Obama. RINO, Tea Partier, even Hillary. It’s not about purity. It’s about change.

          • RecknHavic

            You seem to be missing my point. The “anybody but THAT guy” argument has caused many of our problems.

            Im curious, is there anyone you would NOT vote for against Obama?

  • DOOM161

    McCain isn’t a moderate. He’s a liberal that puts an (R) after his name. There’s a big difference.

  • EddieD_Boston

    One more point about Romney…the house and senate in MA are about 85-90% democrat. Every proposal Romney brought before them was dismissed out of hand. They purposely did nothing to help him to pass ANY legislation. Romney chose to pass Romneycare b/c he knew the democrats would go along and b/c he knew that to become president he needed some history of success. It has come back to bite him in the ass. However, comparisons to Obamacare are not accurate. For starters mentally retarded Nancy Pelosi wasn’t involved and it also doesn’t take over healthcare it just requires people to have health insurance, just like you have to carry car insurance. In MA your registration is cancelled if you fail to get car insurance so you HAVE to have it.

  • Homer

    The one thing to consider is who has the best chances of driving Obama away from the WH

  • joe from louisiana

    I’m not being a smart aleck, but I would call Harding and Coolidge conservatives. I see you said 80 years. Never mind.

  • joe from louisiana

    We always say we want someone outside of the beltway. A president that isn’t beholden to the myriad of special interest groups. Someone that can truly promote unity. Herman Cain appears closer to that ideal than anyone else. A black man that could garner the white vote from the south and still appeal to at least half of black democrats. A man that could win the in the west and take the midwest, too. I am worried about his grasp of the international relationships but if he is no Hank Kissinger it’s not like we have elected any Kissinger’s lately. Being a CEO has taught him to spot talent. Instead of flirting with real change the Republicans should embrace it. Not changing our nation just our ruling class.

  • EddieD_Boston

    Just tossing it out there to all my cyber friends across Bernieville…

    Check out Charles Krauthammer’s column in the WaPo today. He’s no Bernie Goldberg but Krauthammer makes some excellent points and does a great job articulating what a pathetic fool we have in the White House.

    Read it and weep…

    • MerchantofVenom

      He’s no Bernie Goldberg?
      Krauthammer is the best their is.
      No offense to Mr Goldberg.

      • EddieD_Boston

        Kidding…no offense to Bernie either…Krauthammer went to McGill, Oxford and Harvard Medical School…pretty smart dude…

  • paul courtney

    Bernie: In addition to the list of moderate Rs who won, there’s plenty of moderate Rs who won the nomination but lost general election and only one true conservative (Goldwater) since 1924.In other words, the crash & Depression so thoroughly crushed conservatives that it’s rare for Rs to even nominate one. Remembering stuff like this helps keep purists like me humble (or should). RR was an anomaly, but what an anomaly. As for Romney, despite his obvious faults, he’s no dolt, and a world better than BO. OF course, none of this matters, as the OWS crowd leads us into a new and better world free of Rs and Ds, where we’re all equal (equally homeless, that is).

  • David Rivera

    I like the article and i am impressed with your assessment but at the same time if you are wondering why Herman Cain is running so strong it is because of his materialism. It is simple yes Ronald Reagan was a great president. I had the pleasure of serving in the military under the man and the next three presidents as well. He had a charismatic leadership quality that we have seen in many people before him as well. That is what Herman Cain has. Well spoken concise direct no beating around the bush and willing to fight. It is in the mans eyes and most of all he is truthful. He is conservative on many points and he points out problems and issues with a plan. That one plan as so many say is only one plan is much more than one single plan. There is much more the man can do ie by executive orders to kill certain issue that have cause lots of bad regulations. 999 isn’t just a plan it is a process to fix the broken.
    Mr Cain has what many want in Washington and that is just plain outright fix the problem. He brings fresh ideas to an old problem much the way Reagan did and his ability to get people to listen is the key. He asks the tough questions and has solutions to them as well. He doesn’t dodge question he steps to them. There is something about him that is presidential and it is underneath the entire man. Similar to Martin Luther King was able to have people listen.

    When compared to the other candidates most of whom have flip more than a fish out of water on issues, Mr Cain hasn’t. Only three come to mind that would match up with Mr Cain. That would be Newt G., Michelle B, and Huntsman. That best choice would be Newt as his knowledge of how things work in Washington is formidable. Cain Gingrich is the ticket. They both have similar ideals to fix many things.
    So you ask why Mr Cain is coming up? It is because he would surround himself with quality people who know what is needed to be done. Simply put he would get it done.

  • Bob Hadley

    I never fail to be amazed at how many on the hard Right are bamboozled into thinking that President Reagan was a true blue conservative. Looking at his governance (as opposed to his rhetoric) he was more of a moderate. Many of today’s Tea Partier’s would probably consider him a liberal, judging by his over-all record.

    President Reagan’ moderation played an important role in his success.

    As an old, dear and wise family friend once said (of those indulging in astrology): “People just love to be fooled!” I was young at the time, and did not appreciate the wisdom of her remark until much later.

    • joe from louisiana

      And where would Truman and Kennedy be today with the Democrats?

      • Bob Hadley

        JFK and Truman were generally pragmatic and moderate liberals, but what’s your point? Or is it a counter-point? :)

        JFK and Truman aren’t worshipped by the hard Left. Even if they were, would that make the fools on the hard Right any less foolish?

    • Rick Daniel

      Isn’t it true that pretty much all presidents have to move at least bit to the center once they hit that hot seat and find out what it’s really like? I was president of a small company for about 10 years, and found that decisions taken by my predecessors that I didn’t really understand at the time became quite a bit clearer when it was me on the hot seat! Some of them were very painful.

      Rick Daniel

      • Bob Hadley


  • Ron Kean

    There’s no argument with this column.

    Christy, Walker, Rubio and others have ‘it’ but they’re not ready. So we’ll take what we can get and really…for the hard hard right…what’s so bad about Romney? How can he not make things better?

    Cain is wonderful but but elected office is different from the business world and he has no experience with it. That may be good in some people’s opinion but when the press digs old business rivals up he may say the wrong thing and lose it. Business men have ‘yes’ men to their face. Not so for Republican politicians.

    Romney is cool. Romney’s been around the block. He can’t be bad. Always compare him to Obama and Republicans would be crazy not to get behind him.

    • Vince Ricardo

      Republican Politicians don’t have “yes” men? Did you just write that? Surely you don’t truly believe it.

      • Ron Kean

        Repubicans have Democrats and vice versa. In business you don’t see organized opposition like you do in politics unless you count competition in business.

        • Rick Daniel

          No successful businessman surrounds himself with yes men. It will bring you down sooner or later everytime. In order to operate a successful business, you need to surround yourself with smart people who are not afraid to speak their minds. the ultimate decision is yours, of course, but people around the table simply nodding their heads are poison.

          Rick Daniel

  • Ralph Hahn

    Hi, Bernie: Above, you wrote: >>> “The purists say McCain was a moderate, like Romney, and how did that turn out. <<< Good point. Although I still consider the 2008 election more of a vote against Bush and his policies than a total rejection of McCain. The liberal Democrats DID hypnotize the electorate into believing that McCain and Bush were one and the same.

    • Glen Stambaugh

      My 86 y/o dad voted for Obama because he sounded good (conservative) and he could not forget all of McCain’s RINO antics of the past. He also thought it would be nice to break the color barrier. Oh the regrets he has!

  • Will Swoboda

    Hey Bernie,
    If Herman Cain would win the next presidential election, could America finally put racisim behind us? I doubt it. I’m 62 and was raised in the inner city of Baltimore. I went to predominantly black schools, elementary and jr. high. I have many friends from all kinds of races. I relate well with lots of different people and have an adopted grand-daughter who is black. From my experience, racisim is a condition of one’s heart. I believe that only God changes that. Oh yea, I’m a white guy.
    Will Swoboda

    • chuck.tatum

      @ Will S If you really believe racism is a condition of one’s heart, and god is the only one who can change that, shame on your god for not making His will be done.

      What’s your god waiting for?

  • Sharon

    It certainly didn’t surprise me that Gov. Christie endorsed Romney. I’m a Jerseyan. Christie is as conservative as can be elected in deep blue NJ – which is to say, not very conservative. So for one Northeast Republican to endorse another Northeast Republican….? No shocker there.

  • Nancye

    Give me Herman Cain as President and someone with a little more political-savvy as VP and I’ll be happy for now.

    Me too, Vince. Me too !

    • Glen Stambaugh

      Me too!

  • Vince Ricardo

    In 2008, Romney couldn’t even beat out John McCain, for goodness sake! What has he done SINCE then that has suddenly made him THE candidate for Republicans? It’s his turn? He has paid his dues as a Republican candidate? You mean, like McCain? That’s it?!? No thanks.

    As far as “his position is still evolving” is concerned … holy smoke, if he doesn’t have a position by NOW, forget it. “Position is still evolving” is just another way of saying “looking for which way the wind is blowing.”

    I, for one, am glad Palin is not running. Big sound bites. Good general ideas. No real plans. Again, I wouldn’t mind if she was the head of the RNC (though there’s no money in THAT … not like book author money). If she wants to stay “in” but not “IN” then that’s her calling.

    Give me Herman Cain as President and someone with a little more political-savvy as VP and I’ll be happy for now.

  • EddieD_Boston

    Bernie makes good points about Romney. The liberals who control politics in MA wouldn’t play by anyone else’s rules and Romney was stonewalled, resulting in things like Romneycare.
    Cain really has caught my attention over the last month. He won’t take crap from liberals and believes in what he believes in, as other politicians put their finger to the wind.
    Plus, if Cain beat Obama the collective nervous breakdown on the left would make good theater.

  • Mike Willmore

    Many folks probably view Mitt Romney as a “flip flopper”. My perspective is different, as it tells me he is listening to both sides of the argument, and his position is still evolving: Just like the rest of us who view ourselves as “middle of the road” politically. I am a fiscally conservative Republican who believes very strongly in personal responsibility. However, I also have some social leanings many would consider liberal. I believe that makes me an Independent who Strongly supports Mitt Romney for President.

  • Simon van Rensler

    Romney is essentially a Democrat. If this were 1962, he’d be a Democrat, but in 2011, when the Democratic Party has tilted so far to the hard left, he’s a Republican.

  • John Daly

    Excellent column that really lays out the dilemma conservatives (including myself) have found themselves in. Some good points to digest.