On Thursday night, the GOP had its first debate of the 2012 election cycle. The headlines going into the debate were calling for it to be a boring night, with no major headlines expected to be made. Most analysts and other political pundits were looking at Former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), and whether he could separate himself from the rest of participants who were considered long shots, at best. However, some strategists believe that Pawlenty just needed to stay alive, keep his head above water. That is exactly what he did. He was not stellar, but he proved he belonged on stage. I have a feeling he will be much tougher in his rhetoric and policy answers when the presumed front-runners join the race such as Former Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, business mogul Donald Trump, former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney. The real story of the night had to be the former CEO of Godfathers Pizza, Herman Cain. The relatively unknown Cain has become a star overnight. Herman Cain’s answers were well thought out, and fairly mainstream. Post debate Fox News Focus group declared him the winner (which I did not see). After watching the debate once, I was not quite sold. I forced myself to watch the debate again, and I could see now what the focus group saw. They saw a man who carried himself more so as a professional than a politician. He spoke directly to the American People, specifically primary voters. He even had the courage to not raise his hand when the group was asked if they would release the Bin Laden pictures. He was the only one.
Herman Cain is not your run of the mill politician, especially since he has not held office before. Some Republican strategists have cautioned people not to get their hopes up too high for Cain. He is still very much an unknown, who has yet to go up against someone formidable, for example, Newt Gingrich who is considered a Policy heavyweight. Few believe he has what it takes to gain enough support to continue to past Iowa, let alone win the nomination. However, it would seem after this debate that his stock is rising, along with his base of support. He has recently announced that he would be making a very important announcement in Atlanta on May 21.
All in all, Herman Cain is a candidate that people should keep their eye on. He is not what people would call the “stereotypical” Republican. He is an African-American from the southern state of Georgia. He is widely considered to be a moderate, and could attract some independent voters in a head to head matchup with Obama. I will be watching the next debate very closely. It is assumed that by the next debate, which takes place June 13 in New Hampshire, the field will be close to filled if not entirely filled. That means that the overnight sensation in Herman Cain could see the thunder stopped, before it even had a chance to start. For someone who is political junkie, all I can say is I will be watching very closely.