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Herman Cain never really had a chance of becoming the GOP nominee

Updated: December 9, 2011 8:23AM

Now that Herman Cain has been accused of groping a Chicago woman, too, I guess I’ve finally got an excuse to chime in with my two cents.

And here’s what I want to know:

Is there anybody out there who ever seriously thought the Republican Party was going to nominate Cain to be its presidential standard bearer in the 2012 election?

Herman Cain?

In a year the Republicans have a real chance to reclaim the White House?

The black guy whose competing claims to fame are hosting a talk radio show and running Godfather’s Pizza once upon a time?

It was never going to happen. Never.

I don’t care how influential the Tea Party has become in the Republican Party.

I don’t care what the polls say.

I don’t care how many white Republicans would like to prove they aren’t prejudiced against black people just because they don’t like Barack Obama.

Herman Cain never had a real chance to become the Republican nominee.

The stakes are too high. Cain’s credentials are too thin. The Republican Party is too white.

That’s why I almost feel guilty about piling on. Why blow a candidate out of the water who is just destined to fade away?

I’m sure some day Republicans will choose an African-American to lead this country. If Colin Powell had run earlier, he might have even gotten himself elected.

But Cain is not that guy.

His ideas may appeal to a segment of the party. The delicious ironies of an Obama matchup may appeal to others. But that was never going to be enough to get Cain through the gantlet of primary politics.

I’m making no judgment on the veracity of the accusations against Cain, which he vehemently denies, although they do seem to fit a pattern.

Forget the sexual harassment allegations for a moment.

Long before the first hint of them, Cain’s candidacy was the stuff of make-believe.

I could barely bring myself to read up on his background, so convinced was I that the rug would soon be pulled out from under him.

If it wasn’t sexual harassment, there would have been something else. Heck, there probably is something else, though digging more dirt on Cain at this point seems like overkill.

Further revelations from here on out will only endanger Cain’s future as a Fox television host.

That’s no knock on my journalism colleagues who have turned up these stories. As long as Republicans want to pretend Cain is a serious candidate, we have to play along and afford him the same scrutiny as the first-tier candidates, who haven’t proved all that much more impressive.

This is always the problem with trying to recruit candidates who haven’t been vetted at earlier stages of their career.

I mean, have you ever eaten Godfather’s Pizza? Actually, I’m kidding about that part. I used to like Godfather’s Pizza many, many years ago when I was stranded far from Chicago with no better options. But that was long before the company hit the skids and Cain was brought in to rescue it.

His performance with Godfather’s apparently qualified Cain as the kind of guy Republican muckety-mucks were comfortable using as a minority director on their corporate boards. That’s to his credit.

For all I know, he’s a great businessman, and obviously, he talks a good game.

But that doesn’t get you to the top of the Republican ticket. It couldn’t even get Cain a Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate from Georgia when he ran in 2004.

Now he’s got another obstacle. Sexual harassment is serious business, even to Republicans. The Republican Party may not have many African Americans in its ranks, but it does have women.

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