Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
After dropping out of the presidential race in November amidst an avalanche of sexual harassment allegations, Herman Cain has reemerged from his self-imposed exile. On Friday, he appeared on Bill Maher's HBO show, giving one of the first TV interviews since suspending his campaign. (Cain told Maher that Americans need to "lighten up.") He recently announced that he was planning to tour the country in support for his "9-9-9" tax plan. And now, Cain is scheduled to headline a "grassroots" rally on January 28 for congressional candidate and conservative talk show host Martha Zoller, who's running for a seat in Georgia's 9th district. In a press release announcing Cain's appearance, Zoller said:
We are thrilled to have Herman Cain join us in Gainesville for this important and timely rally. Like Herman, I believe that we need to completely transform the U.S. Tax Code, restore common sense and accountability in government, and end 'business as usual' in Washington. It is an honor to have Herman support my campaign for Congress and I look forward to sharing the stage with such a remarkable leader again.
Cain's resurrection is another sign that sex scandals need not be a career-ender. (See Eliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Sen. "Diaper Dave" Vitter (R-La.), and...well, OK, maybe not former Idaho senator Larry Craig.) But Cain's timing is exceptionally good. His return to the political spotlight comes just as comedian Steven Colbert's SuperPac has started running ads urging voters to cast ballots for Cain in South Carolina's GOP primary. (Despite suspending his candidacy, Cain is still on the South Carolina primary ballot.) The Colbert ads may be a spoof, but as Zoller's embrace of Cain indicates, he still has some extremely loyal followers, many of whom refuse to believe any of the stories about his alleged sexual improprieties. Who knows? Maybe Colbert will manage to fully rehabilitate Cain by boosting his prospects in a primary he's not really even trying to win. You can watch the Colbert ad here: