The Corner

My Quick Take On the Debate

Is actually up at another blog (I feel so dirty!). One point I made I thinks deserves expanding:

As for Mr. Cain, what’s not to like? Well, for starters, (as Jim Pethokoukis notes below) his 9-9-9 plan. But Cain did just fine last night. He didn’t get flustered. He didn’t back off. And he has one thing that no one else in the field has. He’s sunny.

It’s amazing. For all the talk among conservatives and Republicans about how we need another Reagan, Cain is the only one who seems to understand that being upbeat, happy and joyful is hugely important. Everyone else in the field (with the slight exception of Gingrich who you can at least tell enjoys being on stage), is either mean, angry, whiny, defensive or too self-serious. I doubt its calculation on Cain’s part. He’s just a happy warrior and that goes a long, long way.

I think the same thing could be said about Chris Christie. One of the reasons why Christie is (or was) so popular is that he seems to enjoy himself. He can make himself laugh in a way that doesn’t seem like he’s giddy that the joke he bought from a consultant worked.  Cain, in his own way, is an even happier warrior. When he says this country needs to learn how to take a joke, it’s impossible not to like him. He even manages to make his relentless hawking of 9-9-9 into a catchphrase you want to hear again just to hear him say it. Heck, he can make you forget that Godfather’s pizza is some godawful pizza.

This trait is so important for Republicans in particular because of the tendency to cast conservatives as joyless scolds and the tendency of too many conservatives to live up to that sterotype. For good or ill, people want their politicians to be likable. To one extent or another all of the Republicans in the field forget that to their detriment more than they should, except for Herman Cain.


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