Ill-fated GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain just launched his own online news network over the July 4 holiday entitled “CainTV.”
The description reads, “From the mind of Herman Cain, America’s favorite CEO, comes a new online network of programming designed to give you the other side of popular culture, politics, entertainment – CainTV!”
Just... what we have been waiting for?
As is obligatory for conservative media, the network provides the antidote for liberal indoctrination, including “... critical reporting on stories and events that aren't available in our current one-sided mainstream media” and stories "... the liberal press has no interest in bringing to the forefront.”
The site features blogs, short videos, and a 10-part documentary, the first of which critiques the US environmental movement (promptly drawing the inevitable “Yeah, global warming is a hoax!” crowd). The main feature is a short video series of Cain himself discussing a variety of issues, including the 9-9-9 plan as an alternative to raising taxes on the rich and a vaguely conspiratorial look at the botched “Fast and Furious” operation.
Blog topics range from Cooking to Immigration to Religion/Spirituality -- though the latter should probably be renamed “Christianity.” The site even has something for children: a video featuring “Tex the T-Rex,” a small patriotic dinosaur who hatches out of a red, white, and blue egg and tells extremely sanitized versions of American history.
With its clean design and glut of self-congratulatory patriotism, the website itself looks quite sophisticated, unlike some earlier efforts. But the big question, of course, is: Why?
Why go through all the trouble and expense if you’re no longer running?
It’s possible, of course, that Mr. Cain still has presidential dreams or other political aspirations and is burnishing his image in preparation for 2016. A more likely scenario is that Cain, like any businessman, is simply trying to expand and capitalize on his popularity to gain some clout, land some lucrative speaking gigs, or snag another book deal.
He wouldn’t be the only political figure to foray online with great success. After Glenn Beck was booted from Fox News when his ratings slumped, he started his own online TV network, which has a large, dedicated following.
However, Cain needs to be careful about how slick he gets. The main reason people genuinely like the man is the same reason some don’t like him: his “rough edges.” In a world where the image of politicians and celebrities is carefully constructed and managed, Cain seems to honestly speak his mind. (Vice president Joe Biden also seems to have this quality, much to the chagrin of Obama's campaign staff.) While other 2012 GOP candidates seemed more poised, no one seemed more genuine than Cain. Even those who disapproved of his abysmal foreign policy knowledge and alleged sexual misconduct appreciated his apparent authenticity.
There’s no telling for sure what the multitalented Cain has planned, but his future depends on him gaining a broader appeal without compromising his candidness. How he balances it all remains to be seen.