It is starting to look like the Republican primary fight is going to come down to Mitt Romney and Herman Cain. In a way, that makes sense. The Republican Party is fundamentally divided into two camps: The "blue bloods" and the conservatives. Both factions have their place, particularly in national elections where the candidates are evaluated by the widest spectrum of voters, beliefs, and experiences.
Mitt Romney is an excellent representative of the blue bloods. He is an East Coast moderate who believes that government can and should fix people's problems without becoming socialist. The blue bloods have been successful in presidential politics winning the party nomination for Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, and John McCain.
The other primary candidates are all jockeying for the support of the party conservatives.
Gov. Perry effectively ended his campaign by trying to win both factions causing both wings of the party to have reservations about his commitment to their side of things. Newt Gingrich should be a natural fit for the conservatives, but he has too much baggage and caries a feint odor suggesting that his time has passed. Ron Paul, wearing the Republican label, is really a Libertarian; a political philosophy which has never really become mainstream.
Considering candidate Bill Clinton was accused of raping Juanita Broadrick and had a "bimbo eruption" squad, I don't think that "a gesture that wasn't overtly sexual but made her uncomfortable" in the 1990s will significantly effect Herman Cain.
The standard bearer for the conservative wing of the party is Ronald Reagan. Before Reagan, there was the unsuccessful bid by Barry Goldwater. Before that, you may have to go all the way back to Calvin Coolidge or William McKinley to find a Republican president representing the conservative wing of the Republican Party.
It may be me, but I have been noticing that Herman Cain has important traits in common with Reagan. Herman Cain is 67-years-old. Ronald Reagan was 69, the oldest person elected to the presidency. This suggests life experience and wisdom.
Before politics, Ronald Reagan was an actor. As a candidate, Reagan was known as "The Great Communicator." Herman Cain had a very successful talk radio show on WSB in Atlanta. Cain is a very powerful speaker.
Ronald Reagan was charismatic, had a great since of humor, and was genuinely optimistic believing that America's finest days lay ahead. Reagan also gave straight answers to tough questions; none of the politician's tap-dance. You can't help but notice that Herman Cain apparently comes from the same mold.
The primary points of Ronald Reagan's platform was: Lower taxes to stimulate growth, less government in people's lives, strong national defense, and restoring the dollar to the gold standard. He was also an ardent believer in federalism; what he called "states rights."
Herman Cain's platform is longer, but in similar spirit. According to his website, Cain's platform is: Strengthen national security, reduce government spending, his 9-9-9 tax reform, secure our borders and enforce immigration laws, develop domestic energy resources, reduce regulation to encourage economic growth, repeal Obamacare, re-do financial regulation, return education to the states and local communities, and "In God We Trust." http://www.hermancain.com
What does Mitt Romney stand for? On his website, Mitt Romney points out our strengths and acknowledges our problems. However, there are no substantive statements on what he stands for or what he would do. It all appears to be calculated to offend the fewest while being consistent with the principals of the Republican Party. http://www.mittromney.com
Mitt Romney has governing experience, an established political organization, and is a proven fundraiser. Romney has run a presidential campaign before and clearly knows how to be a contender. He is the odds-on favorite of Republican insiders. Herman Cain has business experience, but no governing experience, a very small political organization, and modest, but growing, fund raising experience. Cain insists that message is more important than money. He has an up by the bootstraps personal story and a compelling personality and vision.
In this horse race, Mitt Romney is the favorite. In horse racing, the smart money usually bets on the favorite. The favorite is the favorite because they are most likely to win. We are 12 months from the election. Will this be the race for the long shot? I think the odds makers might be wrong.