Herman Cain is a Republican running for the 2012 United States presidential nomination. A Tea Party supporter, he has been criticized for promoting tax policies that favour corporations over working people, discriminatory statements against Muslims, and absolute views against reproductive choice and equal marriage. He has also made a point of distinguishing himself as ethnically different from President Barrack Obama:
In an interview with Bloomberg view, Cain argued that he is a 'black American' rather than an 'African American' on account of being able to trace his ancestors within the US, describing Barack Obama as "more of an international...look, he was raised in Kenya, his mother was white from Kansas and her family had an influence on him, it’s true, but his dad was Kenyan". Interviewer Jeffrey Goldberg pointed out that Obama had spent 4 years of his childhood abroad, and that it was in Indonesia - not Kenya, at which point Cain revised his claim.
Cain is perhaps typical of the "businessman" style of politician, who has excelled in the private sector (as former Godfather's Pizza CEO) and believes that kind of thinking can make government more efficient. You can see this in the ads "no-nonsense" delivery. But why the conspicuous 1970s action movie style cancer stick drag by campaign manager Mark Block? Why be so weird about it?
Tom Murphy of Mother Jones gives this backstory:
"As the New York Times pointed out on Sunday, there's another side to Cain: lobbyist. And as a lobbyist for the National Restaurant Association in DC in the 1990s, Cain was one of the tobacco industry's best friends on K Street. His group received big bucks from major cigarette manufacturers, and returned the favor by opposing things like smoking bans."
So I guess that explains that. But not the slow-mo smile by Cain at the end. The Daily Beast's Michelle Goldberg Tweeted, "his smile at the end of this ad is the creepiest fucking thing I've ever seen". And it really is.
Next year's election campaigns are going to be really interesting. Especially from the sidelines.