Saturday, December 3, 2011

Herman Cain: the Movie

Herman Cain's meteoric, mercurial presidential campaign was brief and fascinating. It's a story that was made for Hollywood.

Of course, the Hollywood version is a little different:

Herman Cain: The Movie: a down-on-his-luck, divorced motivational speaker with two unhappy teenage children is having a hard time feeding his family, and needs to boost his popularity, so he decides to run for president. The campaign starts slow, but gets more and more fun as Cain realizes he's spending other people's money to run his personal marketing campaign. Polling around 5 or 10%, he considers the gambit a success, and gets ready to ride the "successful" campaign out to a 4th-place Iowa finish and a lucrative post-race career.

But then disaster strikes: the frontrunner freezes in a debate ("Oops!"). Cain manages to say something brilliant, and immediately becomes the front-runner. This was unexpected! And unpleasant. All of a sudden, the media pay attention, voters expect him to campaign in early states (he'd run in opposite areas, to guarantee that he made the news with each appearance), donors call for accountability, and he and his family find themselves in the maw of a real, nasty campaign.

Cain needs an escape, but one that will generate even more publicity and not let on that he didn't actually want to be president. His sole confidante comes up with a plan: they pay off a woman who used to work in the next office to claim that she was sexually harassed by Cain. But she's not a convincing storyteller, and the media find out that she just got a big payment (but can't trace it to Cain). With the attack discredited and obviously political, Cain is now a victim-hero, and rises even further in the polls.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Cain is depressed, hiding from his campaign, and goes out into a rainy night in Portsmouth, and ends up hitting on women in a sketchy bar. This is hilarious, but he finally finds someone who will take him home. The story leaks, and as his campaign goes down in flame and fireworks behind him, he falls in love with the woman from the bar. Naturally, he ditches his motivational speaking career and moves to some grimy section of Portsmouth with his true love. (I told you it was Hollywood).

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