Tea Party Republican primaries are headed toward their logical conclusion. With Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana bowing out and Pizza Man Herman Cain stepping in, political experience is becoming a liability for GOP candidates.
Cain won the first Fox debate boasting that he was unencumbered by government service, a political virgin whose purity would enable him to solve all the nation’s problems just as he had successfully marketed a cheese pie named for a Mafia head and gone on to talk radio prominence.
Unlike Romney, Pawlenty et al, Cain would present a clean slate to voters, not having to explain away previous positions on health care reform, cap-and-trade and other troublesome issues down to their records as governors issuing pardons, reviving the Willie Horton issue that helped sink Dukakis in 1988.
With Donald Trump exiting as the prime ignorance-is-bliss candidate, Cain will have to worry only about competition from half-term Gov. Sarah Palin and possibly Michele Bachmann, if political experience on another planet counts.
Gov. Daniels, whose possibly entry into the race had professional GOP pulses pounding, now declines with a remarkably personal explanation: “On matters affecting us all, our family constitution gives a veto to the women’s caucus, and there is no override provision. Simply put, I find myself caught between two duties. I love my country; I love my family more.”
The Republican leftovers have no such qualms, leaving the nomination contest a race to the bottom. If Cain turns out to be the choice, Democrats can revive the Hillary Clinton commercial against Barack Obama in 2008.
If the red phone rings at 3 A.M. in the White House, President Cain will be ready on Day One to respond with a barrage of pizza deliveries.