, , , ,

Stacy McCain writes in today’s American Spectator piece:

Karl Rove went on the Fox News “America’s Newsroom” show Monday morning to explain that recent gaffes by Herman Cain have created the perception that the Atlanta businessman is “not up to the task” as a Republican presidential candidate. Rove used a whiteboard to illustrate his verdict on Cain’s inadequacy, citing polls as evidence that the Tea Party-backed candidate had “peaked” Oct. 6-10 and telling host Martha MacCallum that the impression created by Cain’s gaffes was “really deadly.”

Republican voters evidently aren’t in much of a mood to take advice from Karl Rove these days, because scarcely had the former top Bush strategist pronounced Cain’s doom than new polls showed the GOP front-runner still going strong. A CBS/New York Times poll released Tuesday had Cain leading former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by four points (25%-21%) and, as if to put an exclamation point on the refutation of Rove’s verdict, a Fox News poll released Wednesday showed Cain with the same four-point margin (24%-20%) over Romney. Both of those polls were taken after the Oct. 19 debate in Las Vegas and the Fox poll was taken after Cain had spent several days embroiled in a controversy over his views on abortion.

Cain’s momentum has clearly slowed since the astonishing three-week surge that followed his upset victory in the Sept. 24 Florida GOP straw poll, but such a pace could scarcely be expected to continue forever. Rather than saying Cain has “peaked,” however, it would seem more apt to say that the past two weeks have solidified his status as the 2012 front-runner. As of yesterday, for the eighth consecutive day, Cain maintained a narrow edge over Romney in the Real Clear Politics average, despite constant criticism from Rove and other pundits who never miss an opportunity to declare that the political newcomer can’t possibly win. And according to all the standard measures, Cain’s candidacy does look impossible. But from the beginning, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO has vowed to run an “outside the box” campaign and the standard measures may not be applicable to such an unorthodox strategy.