The Herman Cain Circus Train pulled into the station for the final time this past weekend. The recent frontrunner for the Republican nomination announced that he was suspending his campaign; citing the impact that the unsubstantiated accusations of infidelity were having on his family, his campaign and his supporters. Appropriately, a defiant Cain ended his bizarre run for the White House by quoting lyrics from the theme song of a Pokémon movie.
The benefactor of Mr. Cain’s withdrawal is Newt Gingrich. Cain supporters are already flocking toward the Gingrich camp and Cain himself has endorsed Newt for the nomination. Gingrich, who only a few weeks ago was considered dead in the water, is now the frontrunner and finds himself holding the inside track in three of the first four primary elections. Apparently the party of conservative family values is willing to overlook Newt’s infidelities, hefty Tiffany’s line of credit and cozy relationship with the reviled Fannie and Freddie.
Many conservatives who worked with Newt during his days as speaker are openly criticizing his management style and questioning his conservative bona fides. Conservative columnist George Will, Republican Senator Tom Coburn and popular conservative talk show host and former congressman Joe Scarborough have all weighed in with scathing commentary. Nevertheless Newt is riding the wave; and with just four weeks until the first primary he is likely to hold that position until the actual voting begins.
As we view the ebb and flow of this process we are given to wonder…is this a testament to our democracy that anyone…regardless of their qualifications or flaws…can aspire to be President of the United States? Or is this further proof that our political process is truly broken?