By Tomasky, Michael
Newsweek , Vol. 158, No. 24
Byline: Michael Tomasky
In the end, it was Herman Cain's ego, not the women, that killed his campaign. The GOP's fatal arrogance.
It's the end of the line for the hit (for a month anyway) situation comedy The Herman Cain Show--as something worth tuning into, anyway. As the obituaries are rushed to press, most of the experts will chalk the demise up to the candidate's inexperience and his staff's ineptitude. It's not that those things aren't true, but they miss the real point. The real culprit is Cain's bottomless vanity, and even though he may no longer be very interesting, there is a lesson in his collapse for all the candidates.
First, on the subject of the Herminator (a nickname he seems to have bestowed on himself, which is always a bad sign). I urge you, when you next find yourself in a bookstore, to pick up a copy of his newish book, This Is Herman Cain!, and flip through it. You need only reach page three to read how he "redefined campaign history" (he may have, but not in the way he means). Then flip ahead to the closing chapter to read how Cain will handle his first 90 days in office. The tone of serene self-adulation leaches so fulsomely out of every page that it practically gets on your hands. Many pundits have assumed that Cain wasn't really "serious" about his candidacy--that he was just trying to raise his profile, sell some books. But the book, it's clear from page one, is not the work of man who wasn't serious about his candidacy. He thought that the presidency was his destiny. Actually, I wouldn't be shocked if he still thinks it.
"CEO of Self" is Cain's pet phrase. He even wrote an earlier motivational book with that title. He invokes the phrase with regard to practically everything, from how he ascended the corporate ladder to his decision to eschew the tonsorial establishments of Atlanta and cut his own hair. But the question we'll never get an answer to, from him anyway, is how such a disciplined man could behave in such un-CEO-of-Self-like fashion as to think that the stories of Ginger White, the woman who claims she and Cain had a 13-year affair that he ended just recently, and the women who accuse him of harassment would never see the light of day. …