Lincoln Mitchell: Herman Cain and the Tea Party Legacy "In some respects, the main theme of the Republican primary has been the ascendancy and failure of various candidates seeking to represent the right wing against the more moderate frontrunner Mitt Romney. Various politicians, most of them not good candidates in any conventional sense, and a surprising number of them not currently holding any real job, including Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Cain, have sought this mantle. During the last year or two, leading candidates for this role, including Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, have emerged and collapsed. Cain has now emerged and appears to be about to collapse as a serious candidate. This raises the question of why no serious, experienced right-wing conservative has entered the race. There are a numerous right-wing Republican senators who, had they entered the race in earnest two years ago, would have had an easy time against the current weak field of conservative candidates, and would, along with Romney, be the frontrunner for the nomination. The role of the Tea Party is part of the answer to this question. During the height of its popularity and influence, the Tea Party was so extreme and unmoored that almost any radical right-wing assertion, from disputing the President's citizenship, to abolishing taxes, repealing all regulations on industry, or making labor unions illegal, became part of the Tea Party buzz. Naturally, politicians without serious jobs and who had very little to lose were drawn to this environment. Sarah Palin, who no longer had any role in Washington or elsewhere in politics, could meet the Tea Party appetite for extremist rhetoric more than even a right-wing senator like Jim DeMint, who still had a real job, could. Today Herman Cain is in a similar position. The requirements for being a Tea Party favorite and those for being a legitimate candidate for a major party nomination are significantly different. The former takes little more than allegiance to far-right rhetoric, willingness to say outrageous things and some media flair. The latter requires the ability to raise money, build an organization and make a plausible argument about winning a general election. None of the candidates for the Republican nomination has been able to do both these things, but Tea Party requirements are much easier to meet, so candidates who could do that got into the race." The requirements for being a Tea Party favorite are so much easier, being a legitimate candidate thats another story. You can't win a presidency solely of far right wing rhetoric. Good article and very truthful and unless you shathead rightwingers have a better argument, STFU and don't respond.