No, not that sin; that was Mark Block, Cain’s chief of staff. (But even as a non-smoker, I loved it; it reminded me of this classic New York Post cover for sheer in your face political incorrectness.)
Wes Pruden, editor emeritus of the Washington Times writes, “Mr. Cain’s sin is not that he doesn’t have the usual qualifications for president. Barack Obama established the precedent that presidents can attempt to do the job with on-the-job training. Mr. Cain’s sin is that he demonstrates, with considerable eloquence, that the notion that Republicans and other conservatives are mean-spirited bigots is the enormous lie of conventional media wisdom:”
Margaret Thatcher got it right when she said more than two decades ago that Mr. Reagan’s greatest accomplishment was that “he has achieved the most difficult of political tasks, changing attitudes and perceptions about what is possible.”
In a much smaller way, Herman Cain has also achieved that most difficult of political tasks. He, too, has changed attitudes and perceptions about what is possible. The most remarkable fact about the Cain phenomenon is that three years after Barack Obama’s incompetence began to reveal itself, the other party, painted in vivid color as benighted and bigoted, demonstrates that it will happily consider a black candidate, too. The prospect of a choice between a black Democrat and a black Republican is the tale that beggars anything Hollywood could imagine.
This reality owes nothing to the media, politicians of any stripe, or to the self-righteious elites. It owes everything to the ordinary men and women of the America that is great because America is good.
Now, how do we pass this notion on to GE’s chief spokesmen?
Related: “Herman Cain Sails Into Uncharted Seas,” Stacy McCain writes at the American Spectator:
What Cain is doing has never been done before, because it’s never been tried before. Harnessing the grassroots energy of the Tea Party movement to propel a political novice to the White House isn’t the kind of project that a professional operative like Karl Rove could be expected to endorse, and the odds of Cain’s success are a mystery even to experts like Nate Silver. And yet the expedition sails onward, into uncharted seas where dragons legendarily lurk.
Sail — and smoke — on.
Update: Bryan Preston writes that “Herman Cain’s ‘Smoking Man’ Has a Checkered Past,” and while he likes the ad, Bryan notes that Cain might not have been wise calling attention to Block’s background — but then, if Cain had Mother Teresa on his staff, AP would have done a hit piece on her. (Or bring in Christopher Hitchens to finish her off.) And more significantly, Ace notes that Cain is still learning issues on the fly. That’s much tougher to do when you don’t have a supine MSM to run interference for you, as another first-time candidate did in 2008.