Tucked in The Post’s story about Sarah Palin mocking (she has only one rhetorical speed, doesn’t she?) President Obama at the conservative jamboree in Washington over the weekend was this bit about Herman Cain.

Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza who cut short his bid for the GOP nomination after he was accused of sexual harassment and having an extramarital affair, said he had a formula for winning. “ETA,” said Cain, with the flair of a man who became known for his “9-9-9” tax plan. He said the phrase was shorthand for “enthusiasm, targeted races and activists.”

Herman Cain speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Herman Cain speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Cain can’t seem to talk without numbers and abbreviations dribbling from his lips. And as we saw with his disastrous 9-9-9 plan, after he comes up with the clever memory tool, Cain is hard-pressed to explain beyond platitudes what the whole endeavor is all about. His October 2011 appearance on “Meet The Press” was the height of hilarity as the candidate couldn’t explain his own blindly celebrated tax plan.

Last April, the improbable one-time front-runner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination called a meeting of African American conservatives at the Willard Hotel. According to The Post’s Krissah Thompson, 12 showed up. But that didn’t stop Cain from tossing some letters around. He called his gathering the “ABCs,” or American Black Conservatives.  “One of the themes of this meeting is: We will not be silenced; if anything, our voice collectively will be stronger,” he said at a news conference. Yeah, okay.

At the Faith and Freedom Coalition gathering over the weekend, Cain unveiled “ETA” and said, “We have got to stop sending nearly 90 percent of the people in D.C.back to D.C. We should expand what we’ve already been doing. Create a groundswell of activists and citizens and patriots.”

It’s as if the November elections never happened. Not the loss of the White House (again). Not the loss of House seats. Not the loss of Senate seats. Not even the loss of the overall popular vote. Cain appears content to live in a huckster heaven that envisions a conservative victory around every corner, never mind that the nation the rest of us live in looks nothing like it. Understanding that should be as easy as 1-2-3.

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Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.