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TheStreet Open House

Herman Cain Couldn't Care Less About You

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- What's not to love about Herman Cain? He's emerged from nowhere to best Mitt Romney in some polls, and there's nothing Americans adore more than the champion who comes out of nowhere. Think National Velvet. Think Secretariat.

Besides, this particular entry in the Presidential Triple Crown is succeeding where the rest of the Republican field fails in every crucial respect, falling short only in such trivia as having competent advisors and a coherent program.

Let's face it, folks, Cain is the best -- as well as being arguably the worst -- of a gawdawful Republican presidential field. Love him or hate him, you have to admit: Here is a guy who knows how to manipulate the media without even trying. And let's face it, how else can you become president nowadays? If I were assigned to write a profile of him, I know perfectly well what would happen. Like the rest of the media, I would drool. (True, the media is definitely drooling over those sexual-harassment charges, but I suspect that this contretemps will soon pass.)

The savagery of his message, the inhumanity of his soak-the-poor-and-middle-class "9-9-9" tax proposal -- the biggest giveaway for the wealthy since Kemp-Roth rewrote the tax laws in 1981 -- would fade away beneath the sheer charm of his persona, his baritone voice, his cute Internet commercials.

The rest of the Republican presidential candidates aren't in his class. Look at them: Romney, who looks like the corporate suit who brings you into his office, with security, to tell you to clean out your desk; Rick Perry, whose "bad lip-reading" viral video makes more sense than his speeches; Ron Paul, who would rewrite A Christmas Carol to make Scrooge a good guy; Darth Vader in the person of Newt Gingrich; and the rest of the field, capable politicians who too often sound and act like sloganeering and, worst of all, predictable automatons.

God love him, Cain is an individual. He is the Howard Roark of this contest. Roark was the hero of Ayn Rand's novel The Fountainhead, and the champion of capitalism is the spiritual godmother of today's Republican Party. Cain is the candidate who comes closest of any in the Republican field to what Rand idealized as "Money-Makers." In an article in Cosmopolitan in 1963, she distinguished between "Money-Makers" and "Money-Appropriators," clearly favoring the former.

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