The PJ Tatler

Having Failed to Dent Marco Rubio, the Washington Post Trashes Herman Cain

Right down to the subtle photo they used to lead off the article.

Ya see what happens when you flip 9-9-9…

The substance of the article? That as head of the National Restaurant Association, Cain was a lobbyist.

From 1996, when he left the pizza company, until 1999, Mr. Cain ran the National Restaurant Association, a once-sleepy trade group that he transformed into a lobbying powerhouse. He allied himself closely with cigarette makers fighting restaurant smoking bans, spoke out against lowering blood-alcohol limits as a way to prevent drunken driving, fought an increase in the minimum wage and opposed a patients’ bill of rights — all in keeping with the interests of the industry he represented.

It was a role that gave him an intimate view of the way Washington works, putting him in close proximity to Republican leaders at the time, including Newt Gingrich, now one of his presidential rivals, and John A. Boehner, now speaker of the House. And it helped Mr. Cain lay the groundwork for the next chapter in his life, his entry into electoral politics, beginning with a short-lived bid for the White House in 2000.

Those who knew him then could see his ambitions developing. Rob Meyne, an official at the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, which contributed handsomely to the restaurant group, wrote in a 1999 e-mail to his colleagues that Mr. Cain’s presidential plans were “not totally unexpected.” In the message, part of an online archive of tobacco industry documents (first noticed by the liberal blog Think Progress), a wry and somewhat skeptical Mr. Meyne assessed Mr. Cain’s chances.

“Nice to have goals, huh?” Mr. Meyne wrote, speculating that perhaps Mr. Cain wanted to be vice president or had a cabinet post in mind. “In any event,” he went on, “Cain brings some positives. He is a genuine ‘antigovernment mandate’ conservative who happens to be an African-American. He is a wonderful speaker and would be an effective and charismatic candidate. He is also good on our issues.”

In other words, he did his job and he did it very well. Check out the source that the WaPo links above — “Think” Progress. That blog is an offshoot of the Center for American Progress, the Soros funded liberal/progressive policy center. It has a dog in any policy fight, and most fights involving Cain when he headed the Restaurant Association. The Post should have been clearer about the lineage of this particular criticism of Cain, since the Post itself is flagging it.

Overall, the story ends up helping Cain. The drunk driving lobbying is the worst they could find, and even in that the Post had to note that Cain wanted stiffer penalties for the crime; the rest ends up sending the message that Cain knows more about Washington than you think. But he’s still not a creature of the town. This is a bad thing? I don’t think so.