A bit of an interesting development, of which I was unaware…have you ever noticed how Cain and Romney seem never to attack each other in debates and ad campaigns? How Cain’s reps think highly of Romney and vice versa, though the good vibes have to be muted while they’re competitors for the same job?
Well it tuerns out that Cain was a Romney booster in 2008, pushing for him on his radio show in Atlanta with glowing words about his being the best shot we had to get someone with business acumen and class into the White House. McCain’s support came from the military and the energy sector (and from people who had the mistaken impression that he was a moderate…actually Romney was more of a moderate than McCain by all objective criteria).
Given that Romney and Cain are the two leading candidates right now, it would be a political windfall for both of them (IMHO) if they teamed up. It makes way too much sense for it not to happen eventually, though I expect Cain to give it a good fight for a few primaries before the alliance can be forged.
Here are the facts:
1) Romney doesn’t appeal to the base all that well…HOWEVER…he’s smooth (a little TOO smooth), and unflappable in debate, his message is consistent and the media is finding it hard to play games with him to catch him in apparent contradictions. He appeals to moderates who don’t live in Massachusetts (where Romeny is enormously unpopular – the common attitude in Boston is that he only wanted to govern MA so that he could run for President and didn’t actually care about the state) and he does have financial experience that would make him more likely to back reforms that would be pro-growth than, say, Rick Perry (who has some ties to crony capitalist schemes in Texas).
2) Romney is pretty experienced in a number of administrative leadership posts, not just in government or in business.
3) Cain is a complete neophyte in politics. He ran for the Senate in Georgia…and lost. He lacks the international policy expertise to run the country yet. And his economic ideas, while intriguing, are largely untested and based on a lot of wishful thinking.
4) Cain, does, however appeal hugely to the conservative base – he’s deeply spiritual, he’s got a ton of successful business experience, he’s completely unstained by insider politics, and he’s just a nice guy. A genuinely nice, affable, lovable fellow if ever there was one.
5) We know that Cain and Romney respect each other. They could certainly work together.
6) Cain, while good in the business world, is not expert at raising capital, nor at avoiding media double-talk. No matter how likable he is, he’s not knowledgable enough to avoid getting caught in embarrassing lapses in judgment.
It all makes sense! Romney can buy off his last major rival in the primary season by offering him the VP chair and the chance to get 8 years of political experience inside the oval office without having to run his own campaign. Romney wins over the base, gets to use Cain as his PR guy (because he’s so likable) and Cain’s business advice enriches Romney’s cabinet. Everyone wins. Except for Rick Perry. Who’s a moron.