Charleston, S.C. — The Southern Republican Leadership Conference had been “very excited” about having Herman Cain as its keynote speaker. Although Cain has been a has-been candidate for president for some time now, the conference organizers saved him the choice speaking spot before the Republican presidential debate. And they offered the enticement that Cain could use the spot to make his endorsement.
The conference attendees seemed equally excited. Cain’s entrance onto the stage was greeted with much more enthusiasm than was the speaker who preceded him, still-in-the-race candidate Rick Santorum. But like his campaign for the presidency, Cain proved to be a disappointment:
I have been asked repeatedly for the last several weeks and couple of months, who am I going to endorse? And I’ve said consistently: The unconventional candidate that ran an unconventional campaign and achieved surprising results is going to make an unconventional endorsement. . .. Here is my unconventional endorsement: not a candidate seeking the nomination, not someone that’s not running. My unconventional endorsement is: the people. We the people of this nation are still in charge. That’s who I’m endorsing.
And by “the people,” Cain meant himself. As he spoke, slides promoting www.cainconnections.com and “Cain’s Solutions Revolution” flashed onto the projectors alongside the stage. He invited people to sign up for his “army” and to encourage their representatives or their favorite candidates for congress to adopt his yet-to-be-written 9-9-9 legislation. “I am not going to die not having done something to take our nation back,” he declared.
Cain’s supporters seemed confused. “How do we vote for ‘we the people’?” muttered a woman behind me. And how should they be thinking about the South Carolina primary on Saturday?
Cain made no further mention of the presidential race. Voters were left to finger copies of “This Is Herman Cain” books, while Cain rode off in the bright red bus with his face emblazoned on the side and the social media callout: “Follow me.”