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Is Smoke-Friendly Herman Cain & Mark Block's Campaign Fake?

Some of the news this week (and previous weeks, actually) regarding Herman Cain is sort of surreal. It makes one wonder if he is running a fake presidential campaign. Seriously, though, Cain and Block seem completely lost. “Common sense” tells me it’s completely impossible that Cain could ever even have a shot of becoming the president of the United States. That relaxes me for a second. But then again, I thought that about George W. Bush (..twice).

Anyway, what got me thinking along these lines? A few things…

First of all, if you haven’t seen this Herman Cain campaign video below, it’s a must-see (in particular, the last few seconds):

Seriously, WTF? That’s a campaign video? That looks like a homemade failure-of-a-video promoting Marlboro or something. Plus a couple of pictures of Herman Cain smiling oddly at the end. That’s going to win over the hearts of America? I doubt it (and certainly hope not).

Of course, this follows Cain’s absurd 9-9-9 tax plan, which was actually created by Sim City developers to give game-players more time for fighting off giant lizards.

Cain is getting money, though. He’s received $3 million in October! (More money than he received in all of the 3rd quarter.) He’s gone from 30,000 donors to 65,000 this month. So,.. apparently, ridiculous tax plans from computer games and ads that look like they’re promoting smoking as much as a presidential candidate make people think you’d be a good president (or easily bought, perhaps).

What’s Cain doing with his campaign cash. Supposedly, he’s working on winning over the early primary states… but he’s actually in Alabama, which is not an early primary state, and the campaign has ignored some early primary states to go on a book tour instead. Seriously, let’s go back to my initial conjecture — is this a fake campaign?

Herman Cain Smoking Campaign Ad

Back to the smoking campaign ad — what was that about? It was just “Block being Block,” campaign manager Mark Block said. Apparently, before debates, Block tells Cain: “Herman, just be Herman.” So, in the making of the campaign ad, Cain told Block: “Block, just be Block.”

“I mean, I don’t condone smoking,” Block says. “I wouldn’t encourage anybody to do it, but it’s my choice. And it’s kind of a joke on the campaign trail – especially with reporters now that try to find me. If they go outside of a hotel during a break, I’m usually there with my iPhone and a cup of coffee and a cigarette.”

It’s not really clear if this wildly popular (because it’s so ridiculous) campaign ad or Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan that heavily benefits the rich is responsible for his surge in the polls (and fundraising). If it’s the 9-9-9 tax plan, I imagine it’s because rich people know it would be good for them (and Cain is on their side) or it’s because people are that simple and think it sounds good (even though it is likely to screw them).

If it’s the smoking ad, my guess is that people like someone who’s willing to make themself look like an idiot and make them laugh, there are a lot of smokers who feel too shunned by society, lobbyists think they can convince Cain to go along with anything, and/or people are just sick of politicians and like to see a “normal” guy and a homemade-looking campaign ad (even if Cain is really just a millionaire looking to rob the country).

Block’s Sketchy Past

Before closing this piece out, I’d just like to point out one more thing: Block was fined $15,000 and banned from running Wisconsin political campaigns (for 3 years) in 2001 because he supposedly illegally coordinated the 1997 re-election campaign of state Supreme Court Justice Jon Wilcox. This is the guy you’ve got running your campaign. Illegal campaigning, highlighting smoking in your campaign ad, and taking you to book tours off the normal campaign trail while others are in early primary states — that’s the way to win elections! (Did I mention that Block later stocked shelves at Target because he couldn’t make a living in politics and was arrested twice for drunk driving?) Is this one big joke?

For more on Block’s outside-the-box (and maybe outside-the-law) past, check out this Boston.com article.

Other sources for this piece include: the LATimes, the Washington Post, and CSMonitor.com.




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