Herman Cain may just be another flash in the pan, like some of the other GOP hopefuls in this cycle. But this may not be relevant a month from now. That said:
i) Because Cain is not a policy wonk like Gingrich or Santorum, it’s easier for him to trip up on certain domestic and foreign policy issues.
ii) Regarding controversial statements:
a) Know that a statement will be controversial before you open your mouth. Don’t be surprised. Take that into account in deciding whether or not to make a controversial statement.
b) Know that the mainstream media will distort your statement.
c) If you’re going to make a controversial statement, have a good reason for your position. Moreover, have a short, simple, plausible explanation for your position. Keep repeating your explanation.
d) Never back down from a controversial statement. You lose twice over. You already take a potential hit for making the controversial statement, then you take another hit for backing down. Backing down makes you look weak and vacillating. It’s also a tacit admission that you were wrong in the first place.
e) Don’t feel the need to preview your position on everything all at once. In politics, the way to succeed is to build on success. Get one thing done at a time, then use that as political capital to do the next thing. Build up a head of steam.
iii) Don’t give interviews to the mainstream media.
iv) Don’t talk too much. The more you talk, the more likely you will misspeak–sooner or later.
v) I don’t agree with Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. Real life is not that symmetrical. First determine the need, then determine the tax code.
vi) Apropos (v), the question of the tax code is secondary to the question of what gov’t should be doing. First determine what gov’t should be doing. That, in turn, determines how much revenue it should take in. The tax code should correspond to that.
vii) It remains to be seen how Cain operates under pressure. It’s not until you become a frontrunner or credible candidate that the mainstream media trains its guns on you.
I’d vote for Cain over Obama in a heartbeat. There’s no comparison. But right now I’m assessing the potential liabilities of various GOP candidates.