The curious case of Ron Paul vs Herman Cain

IgnorelandIgnoreland is an occasional series looking at unusual aspects of the US political scene. This first column looks at the curious coincidences that have dogged the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.

You might have noticed that Herman Cain has suddenly gained a lot of attention in recent weeks, with certain quarters of the media building him up as a real rival to Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination. What you might not have noticed is that Cain inexplicably became a media sensation out of nowhere just as Ron Paul was starting to gain some real momentum. Is the Cain campaign being used to steamroller Paul’s chances?

Think back to late summer. Mitt Romney needed a big rival. He had been expected to face a real threat in the form of Rick Perry, yet Perry’s implosion surprised even his fiercest critics. Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann‘s campaign was starting to wilt. The campaign desperately needs two strong candidates. In late summer, Romney was definitely a strong candidate, and it was looking increasingly likely that Ron Paul was becoming the other. The prospect of Romney vs. Paul for the nomination seemed very real.

Then, quite suddenly, positive stories about Herman Cain appeared. Across the conservative media, Cain was touted as the comeback kid whose campaign was blossoming. This became something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the media attention spurred Cain to rouse himself. He delivered his 999 tax plan, which gained him lots of attention before falling apart. But the point is: the media fanfare over Cain’s resurgence came before the resurgence. It seemed like someone was desperately pushing the story before it was a reality.

Here’s a concrete example. In September, Ron Paul won the California straw poll, and last week he won in Ohio. Neither story received much attention in the mainstream media. Fine. On the other hand, Herman Cain’s recent victory in a South Carolina straw poll seemed to get a lot more media attention, despite being no more notable. The Cain victory fits the media narrative, while the Paul victories do not.

I’m not saying that Herman Cain was responsible for this change in fortunes. In fact, that’s kind of my point: Cain seemed to be doing nothing new, yet suddenly he was being touted as a major force in the narrative. If he had scored some big successes and then been touted as a ‘comeback kid’, that would be one thing; what actually happened seems to be that he was touted as a ‘comeback kid’ before he had actually come back. Then he enjoyed a big surge that seems to be dying down of late.

For some of Ron Paul’s supporters, this is suspicious timing. Just as their man was coming on strong, certain sections of the media seemed to suddenly decide that Herman Cain was pushing through into second place, knocking Ron Paul out of the spotlight. Since then, Ron Paul has arguably struggled to regain attention. Sure, he’s raised a lot of money, and his fanbase is as supportive as ever. But in terms of mainstream media coverage, he has undoubtedly suffered.

I’m not a big fan of Ron Paul, but I do think he’s more honest than most of his rivals in the GOP campaign and I also think some (not all) of his ideas are good. And I’m fascinated by the treatment he has been receiving from his own party, because he just seems to have been swatted out of the way thanks to a Herman Cain revival that came out of nowhere. And while I’m not sure that Ron Paul would win a straight fight with Mitt Romney, I feel like he’s being denied the chance to try.


21 thoughts on “The curious case of Ron Paul vs Herman Cain

  1. Interesting analysis. You bring up some very good points. We know the so called, “mainstream news media” will stop at nothing to marginalize Ron Paul.

    Posted by bmacliberty | October 25, 2011, 4:43 pm
  2. Youre right.
    … and now that Cain is fading, watch how fast Newt gets pumped up (this was predicted a while ago on ronpaulforums, I can cite thread if need be) – because they need another candidate to prop up as long as its not Paul.
    Mark my words, and watch Newt skyrocket in the polls soon as Cain loses traction.

    Posted by sBNY | October 25, 2011, 5:03 pm
    • You have it exactly right. Haven’t you heard about the upcoming Cain/Gingrich debate in Texas? Another rise and fall. Lets just hope it’s fast since January is fast approaching.

      Posted by Jordan Bourne, Ohio | October 29, 2011, 3:15 am
  3. The media manipulation is not so curious when you understand who RP is up against The neoconservative GOP, the Democratic Party, the military industrial complex, big pharma, big agra, the United Nations, the Bilderberg Group just to name a few.
    Ron Paul is genuinly for the people. A once in a lifetime candidate.

    Posted by Iva | October 25, 2011, 5:09 pm
  4. This isn’t new. Paul wins California straw poll, Values Voters poll, CPAC (2nd time in a row), most online polls… But gets very little love. Cain wins Florida and the media go crazy over it and LIFT him up onto their shoulders. Something is very wrong here.

    Posted by Antony Reed (@BeingJohnGalt) | October 25, 2011, 5:23 pm
    • I agree. I think the problem is that Dr. Paul is “what you see is what you get”…….none of the other candidates can debate him because he’s smarter than they are, they can’t throw dirt on him cause there isn’t any……they plain don’t know how to handle a genuine person like him, so he gets ignored.

      As a Canadian, I’m sorry I can’t vote for him.

      Posted by Kate | October 25, 2011, 6:41 pm
  5. I’m voting for Ron Paul…that is absolute. Whoever does real research on these other candidates will be able to see right through them. When you dismiss mainstream media’s opinions, you’ll see that the Doctor has predicted everything that has happened and has been trying to warn us for the past 30 years!! Another reason he has my vote is because I support the troops. And the troops are telling us to bring them home when Ron Paul receives more donations from our military than all other candidates combined.

    Posted by Johnny | October 25, 2011, 6:17 pm
  6. In previous elections, Herman Cain would have been written off as a long shot fringe candidate and ignored by the media because he couldn’t raise enough money to compete with Romney or Perry. But the media have tossed out their previous infatuation with fundraising and straw poll success because Ron Paul has been very successful on both fronts, and they continue to call him the long shot fringe candidate, even though several candidates are clearly much longer shots to win: Bachmann, Huntsman, Santorum, Gingrich, Johnson, etc. The bias is appalling and is almost certainly intentional. Ron Paul ranks first in the number of actual donors, first in straw poll performances overall, third in fundraising, fourth in scientific polling, and TENTH in media coverage, out of nine candidates (including Sarah Palin who never entered the race).

    Posted by Cal Elson | October 25, 2011, 6:28 pm
  7. The Red State mentality, as personified by my idiot cousins, seems to foresee a Cain/Newt ticket.

    Paul supporters need to keep pointing out that Newt is CR. Without Newt, Cain is seen as a ffoon.

    Posted by dogster | October 25, 2011, 6:29 pm
  8. Only Paul for the Long haul…there’s a reason why he comes in first amongst strawpolls (where you don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars to enter) and individual donations.

    There is a reason why he receives more support from our military than Obama and all the GOP COMBINED!

    What is that reason?

    Posted by Justin Bilyj | October 25, 2011, 6:33 pm
  9. The Republicans will pay for this like they did last time. I can’t imagine most Ron Paul supporters voting for Mitt Romney even if he is the lesser of two evils. And even if it really is only 8%, that will defeat Mitt.

    Note how Obama treated Hillary even before he got in as president. Although I am a registered Republican I’ve been voting 3rd party all my life in the Presidential general election. Guess I will again.

    Posted by Bob D | October 25, 2011, 8:19 pm
  10. This is the most fair representation of Ron Paul’s campaign from a non-supporter that I have ever seen. The comeback of Cain is suspect, though the dubious foundation of Cain’s economic philosophy and public policy initiatives (assuming he has developed a foundation), not to mention his non-existent campaign apparatus and failure to put in the time rallying support/funding, suggest he will soon implode just as his predecessors.

    As a fervent long term supporter, I would argue the certainty of winning a head-to-head battle; Paul would decimate absolutely Romney’s campaign.

    Mr. Wednt, thank you for objectively approaching you’re analysis of the primary bids despite your personal hesitation towards embracing his platform. This should serve as an example to all media outlets of providing serious coverage of the battle for the Republican nomination.

    Posted by Justin Andrew Nguyen (@Justin_A_Nguyen) | October 25, 2011, 10:41 pm
  11. I’m voting for Ron Paul, but I don’t see anything unusual about Herman Cain’s rise.

    The big event which got him attention was the Florida Straw Poll…this poll carried more weight than others because it was actual delegates casting the ballots.

    For whatever reason, Mitt Romney is clearly unable to garner enough support among Republican voters, this is why we see Donald Trump, Bachman, Perry and now Cain rise and fall spectacularly in the polls.

    Hoepfully these swing voters take a serious look at Ron Paul, because once you become a Ron Paul supporter you are very unlikely to change your mind.

    Posted by Ambrose | October 26, 2011, 12:27 am
  12. David–

    Is Herman Cain a spoiler?

    Based on my political experience, no more,or no less than some of the other candidates in the GOP field!

    The Republican Party has a strong bench of strategists and communications specialists. With such a diverse yet controversial group of candidates, that bench will compile the most comprehensive base of data which it will use to frame the issues and sharpen the messages that will drive the GOP nominee and the 2012 Presidential Election.

    If Herman Cain takes Iowa, he could take the GOP nomination. See my take on it. Comments are welcomed.

    Title: Iowa primary: is it Herman Cain’s “High Noon?”

    Blog: marcjan.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/iowa-primary-is-it-herman-cains-high-noon/

    Posted by marcjan | October 26, 2011, 3:31 pm
  13. If you are a Ron Paul supporter, make no mistake, he will lose if you do not help other people understand his political philosophy. You need to help with the national phone bank (from the comfort of your own home) or start knocking on doors and talking to your neighbors. If you will not take this step, we will get another president that makes wonderfull speaches yet no real change. Eventually the debt will catch up with the establishment. Ask the GAO or any government bean counter. It is a mathematical certaintly, that under current projections, the government will essentially only be able to pay interest on the debt and partially pay for entitlements in the not to distant future. This fact is not seriously disputed by either party. Yet all mainstream candidates put the balanced part of their budget far into the future. I respect Mr. Krautheimer’s views on many topics. However, the threat that Iran poses to the world is miniscule. One would have to believe they were ready to destroy themselves. I doubt it. You don’t fight to hang on to power so you can blow up your own country and your own children. And of course Ron Paul is right about sanctions. They only serve to hurt the average person, not the government elite in Iran. And the average person in Iran is not our enemy. Also, placing sanctions and embargoes on a country is tantamount to declaring a war, if only an economic war. The talking heads continue to say “We cannot allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon”. Well India has them, Pakistan has them, Isreal has them. Folks, it’s 1945 technology. You know, back when the military flew prop planes and most engineers used slide rules. We’ve heard this old argument before. If we did not stop Ho Chi Mein from taking over Viet Nam the commies would take over the world. Sure. That lesson cost the lives of 58,000 US servicemen. So Charles, just come out and say it. If Iran continues to work to build a nuclear weapon you want us to invade. Give us a break down of the number of troops required and the cost. And please give us an estimate of the number of Iranian women and children we will kill. Don’t forget to let us know how many young men and women in our military will be killed or maimed. By all means, we want your “exit strategy” from such a conflict. Lastly, what branch will you be serving in. Almost forgot, how much is it going to cost in terms of money?

    Last point, and thanks for your patience in reading this far. The US spends about 700 billion a year on military. Our nearest competitor, China, spends 100 billion. And we have to borrow a lot of the 700 billion we spend from China! That money is going to buy fancy misiles and bombs. China is looking to invest in the oil industry in Libya.

    So Charles, when the Iran navy pulls up anchor and their massive carrier fleet heads for the US, please alert us. Until that time I believe we have better use for our blood and our treasure.

    Posted by Richard Haydn | October 27, 2011, 3:35 am
  14. You really can’t blame the MSM. This is probably the last election in which they’ll have any influence.

    Posted by gao xia en | October 27, 2011, 4:15 pm
  15. I will be voting for Governor Gary Johnson for president! End the wars, balance the budget, equal rights for LGBT and legalize marijuana! This guy is exactly who America needs in The White House! The People’s President.

    Posted by Jonathan | October 27, 2011, 8:14 pm
    • Jonathan, Ron Paul offers the same platform plus more. Please join us.

      Posted by Deborah | October 28, 2011, 11:37 pm
    • Jonathan, since Ron Paul will not be running again, many of us Paul supporters will be joining you in future elections. This has a lot to do with the philosophy – non-interventionist, constitutionalists, pro-civil rights and small government. We will need many politicians both local, state, and national to answer the call.

      Posted by Richard Haydn | October 31, 2011, 1:23 am
  16. Ron Paul supporters, including myself, will NEVER vote for anyone other than Ron Paul. If Ron Paul does NOT get the GOP nod to go against Obama, well then, all you NEOCONS and “stupid Americans” (as Cain likes to say) will just get 4 more years of Obama. It wouldn’t matter to us because Cain, Romney, Perry and Obama, they’re more of the same. So you guys can kiss my A$$! RON PAUL 2012 or BUST!!!

    Posted by carmen | October 29, 2011, 2:18 am

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