IN MY MANY years of political reporting, I never thought that it would be nice if Harold Stassen returned to a presidential campaign in spirit long after his death. After all, the ex-governor of Minnesota had run effortlessly for the Oval Office a dozen times without a hint of success.
Still, it would be nice to have him back this year as a civilized counter-balance to the hysterical sideshow the Republicans are offering day after day. Where to begin?
Well, Herman "The Hermanator" Cain has already achieved his immediate goal with his profitable "non-political" book-signing tour. He has slickly made the New York Times' best-seller list which, of course, only reflects sales and not literary excellence. There is even some thought being advanced that his skirmish over sexual harassment charges will benefit him among some male types who grope their secretaries' shoulders. He also operates sin-free thanks to the gang at Fox News that immediately circled the wagons around him for his nightly appearances.
And how about that odd Cain commercial in which his puffing chief of staff, Mark Block, blows cigaret smoke into the screen? That reaffirmed it for me: Block, parroting his boss, is not the only one blowing smoke these days.
Meantime, among the other none-of-the-aboves, there was Rick Perry in a strange melt-down before a conservative audience, mugging with silly grins and wild arm gestures to make a point or two. It was the strangest performance I've ever seen from a presidential candidate. Some of his friends thought he might be reacting to pain-killing medication from back surgery. I don't think so. The man is nuts.