Here's the bracket so far. I'm very fond of both of today's contestants, so without further ado...


Herman Cain was the GOP's "it" guy, having taken the frontrunner mantle away from a fading Rick Perry. It was a mutually beneficial relationship—Cain could pretend to put together a cabinet and ruminate about possible vice-presidential possibilities, while Republicans could pretend to like African Americans (i.e., "Some of my favorite politicians are black!") Everyone knew that when push came to shove, there was no way those Republicans would ever vote for the black guy, but for a while, they could pretend.

That charade came crashing down when legions of women came forth alleging sexual harassment by Cain. A part of this saga has already made it to the second round—Cain's assertion that thousands of women hadn't accused him of sexual harassment—but that wasn't enough to stem the bleeding. He needed to confront it head-on, thus he called a press conference.

Four years prior, rocked by accusations of racism by his church and pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, then-Sen. Barack Obama called his own press conference to regain control of the media narrative. He opened with:

"We the people, in order to form a more perfect union."

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Not only did his "race speech" help him overcome the Jeremiah Wright firestorm, but it also gave partisan Democrats confidence that Obama could withstand whatever crap Republicans would throw at him, and it gave confidence to Americans that Obama could effectively deal with adversity. It made him look, in short, presidential.

And then there's Herman Cain. You can see the opening of his press conference above. He didn't just lawyer up, he led his press conference with him.

LIN WOOD, CAIN'S ATTORNEY: Good afternoon. My name is Lin Wood, and I'm one of the attorneys for Herman Cain. I've been practicing law in Georgia for a little over 34 years, and I have had the opportunity in my practice of law to represent female victims of sexual harassment. Serious, legitimate claims of sexual harassment are not settled for nuisance value...
I don't have to go out on a limb to suggest that Republican voters weren't interested in seeing Herman Cain's lawyer, or seeing Herman Cain hide behind his lawyer, or being reminded that Herman Cain needed a lawyer because he couldn't keep his hands to himself. And Wood didn't help Cain's case by mentioning that he was just "one" of Cain's many lawyers.

When Cain finally spoke, he was so unconvincing, even his boosters in the wingnut media were unable to defend him. Conservatives wanted a candidate who would be able to handle the adversities and attacks of a presidential campaign. But unlike Obama, who proved his mettle under fire, Cain proved the exact opposite. As one conservative columnist wrote:

At this point, the bigger concern isn’t so much the accusations themselves, which are somewhat shady, but Cain’s response.

Time to relive the glory:

Rick Perry: But the fact of the matter is, we better have a plan in place that Americans can get their hands around and that’s the reason my flat tax is the only one of all the folks, these good folks on the stage, it balances the budget in 2020, it does the things in a regulatory climate that has to happen and I will tell you, it’s three agencies the government when I get there, that are gone. Commerce, Education and ahh, what’s the third one there, let’s see.

Ron Paul: You mean/need 5.

Perry: Oh Five. Ok

Perry: Commerce, Education, and ah, the, ummm

Rick Santorum: EPA

Perry: EPA – there you go – no …

Panel: Seriously, is EPA, the one you were talking about sir?

Perry: No, sir. No, sir. We were talking about the umm, the agencies of government, EPA needs to be rebuilt. There’s no doubt – there’s no doubt about that.

Panel: But you can’t name the third one.

Perry: The third agency of government I would do away with Education, ahhhh, the ahhhh,

Panel: Commerce.

Perry: Commerce – lets see

Herman Cain: Oh my

Perry: I can’t – the third one I can’t sorry. Oops.

He was only able to list one of the agencies the second time through, which means we got to see him get dumber in real time.


Today's winner is

11%442 votes
88%3357 votes

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