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Pee Wee Herman

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Herman Cain can hold a note, but can he capture the vote?   Nope.


Fear the "fro? - Herman Cain, circa 1967

Photo: Friends of Herman Cain

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"There's a lot you don't know about me." -- Pee Wee Herman from "Pee Wee's Big Adventure"

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There are those who would passionately argue that the Republican base has smartly moved beyond the debacle that was John McCain's 2008 presidential bid -- were it not for the fact that it seems to have rebounded into the embrace yet another impending fiasco -- Herman Cain .  

For those of us accustomed to learning from our mistakes, it's a somewhat odd, but, as far as Republicans go, not all that unlikely a turn of events.   But it's still eye-popping enough to rouse the question: What are they on?  

It's as if the GOP base gotten itself hooked on Cain.   So deeply, in fact, that even a hard-right evangelical crackpot like Pat Robertson has been moved to add his voice to that of a right-wing spectrum of Republican Party alarmists that range from shaken neo-cons like Karl Rove, to bewildered traditional party conservatives like David Frum .   It's an amalgam held together by a widening belief that if the GOP truly hopes to regain the White House in 2012, some kind of sanity-injecting intervention will have to take place within the party; and quickly.

It's a sense that increased in flourish shortly after the June announcement by the reigning master of wimpy machismo -- Mitt Romney -- that he would seek the Republican nomination for president which was followed in fairly short order by the flip-flop champ's emergence as national frontrunner.   The much-despised Romney's standing in the Tea Party-controlled Republican nomination process was among a number of factors that heightened the pitch of the desperation evident in calls by Tea Partiers and other hard-right conservatives for their one-man cavalry, Texas Governor Rick Perry, to jump in the race, which he did in August.  

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But the Tea Party-Rick Perry relationship now seems to have been little more than a "we've howdied but we ain't shook (hands) yet" thing, which is the phrase Texans use to describe an acquaintance with whom they've never been formally introduced.   For as it has turned out, in spite of all the energy expended in both imploring and paving the way for him to run, Perry, to put it charitably, has for the most part been a phlegmatic campaigner.   The secession-talking, heat-packing, execution-happy Governor, who has been described as " George Bush on steroids ," has come off as something of a regurgitated Fred Thompson , a guy whose own stunningly shiftless campaign effort in 2007 resulted in a similarly awkward plunge from party savior to political afterthought within weeks of his initial announcement. In Perry's case, the lack of fervor has been most obvious during the debates, where the Texas governor often seemed a bit dozed off in the saddle.


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Anthony Barnes, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a free-lance writer who leans toward the progressive end of the political spectrum. "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to (more...)
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