October 28, 2011

Why do people have so much trouble understanding Herman Cain's smoking guy ad?

Back in 2007, we were able to get Mike Gravel's throwing-a-rock-in-the-water ad:

Maybe some day Mark Block — the smoking guy — will explain his ad the way Mike Gravel explained his ad here:

All right, now... try again. Here's the smoking guy ad:

Do you understand now? It is a little different, but there are similarities, and I don't just mean that both ads are weird and went viral as a result. Both have an old white guy, who seems pretty boring and rather surly, with his face right up in the camera. In both ads, you endure that face. How long must I look at this old guy?

Finally, something happens. In the Gravel ad, the old guy throws a rock in the water. Ah! In the Herman Cain ad, what happens is... the music comes on — "I am America!" — and the old guy starts smoking. It's absurd and still about oldness. This old man is doing that old thing from the past — smoking! What the hell? Then suddenly... Cain! He looks so fresh-faced, and he's not surly at all. He's got this slow-breaking smile. It takes 5 seconds for the smile to broaden to the point where the teeth begin to show. And those are not smoker's teeth. They are sparkling white teeth. We see that smile for 10 whole seconds.

And then you go on to talk about — not the 10-second long smile — but the smoker guy. Why was that man smoking?! You watch it again and get other people to watch it as your conscious mind dithers over the puzzle of the smoking man. And all along, you're falling — unwittingly — in love with the man with the beautiful smile.

Watch it again. See the smile. Sly!


Anonymous said...

But Block’s reputation was marred when he was accused of illegally coordinating state Supreme Court Justice Jon Wilcox’s 1997 re-election campaign with a special interest group that favored school vouchers. In 2001, he agreed to pay $15,000 and was banned from running Wisconsin political campaigns for three years to settle the case. Block
made no admission of wrongdoing in the settlement. Block told the AP that he had not coordinated with the group and called the charges “ridiculous.”
Unable to make a living in politics, Block paid the bills stocking shelves at a Target. He has the “Mark” nametag mounted on his desk at Cain headquarters.
Block said it was during those tough times that his home went into foreclosure and his personal life unraveled, resulting in two arrests for drinking and driving.
“That’s why I don’t drink anymore,” he said."

It's merely apples oranges apples oranges apples oranges.

Known Unknown said...

Did Cain come up with this? If so, he's in trouble.

This "ad" sucks.

pm317 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

I think that smoking guy is cool.

Curious George said...

"Alex said...
I think that smoking guy is cool."


traditionalguy said...

Professor, please don't give away the secrets of "The Man Who Cannot Be Nominated."

Herman has to connect over the "white noise" of Karl Rove's White Board on Fox listing why that Cain is losing...by winning in the polls. Hunh?

The Tea Party energy has always scared the Architect of reality. Rove went after Palin, Perry and now Cain. Only the sure destroyer of Tea Party energy at the polls is always approved by technocrat analyst "Mr Rodgers" Rove.

Herman mixes in a traditional leadership style that Trump calls amazing. And Trump rates men on intelligent ability to market a goal.

I'm Full of Soup said...

The old heads here will remember when, in the movies, everyone lit a cigarette right after sex. Maybe this old guy and Herman just had sex.

Ann Althouse said...

"But Block’s reputation was marred ..."

What does that have to do with anything I've written about here? How does that run counter to my point?

I'm just questioning your beginning your comment with the word "but."

edutcher said...

The significance of the smoke is that it's being blown in the faces of the nay-sayers.

Not to mention all the PC nanny-staters who know how to run the lives of all us little people.

PS The one-celled intelligence should note one important word missing in that paragraph copied from Fox.


Right, wrong, or indifferent, the man apparently wasn't convicted and there are plenty of cases where government has prosecuted someone when there was no real evidence.

Newt Gingrich, Ray Donovan, and Neil Bush come to mind.

WV "poloetri" Verse read while hitting a ball ahorseback.

Henry said...

That's a brilliant ad.

Who smokes these days? Working class people do.

Who else? The president does. And he's embarrassed by it.

Herman Cain isn't embarrassed by smokers. The nanny state can go hang.

Jeff in Oklahoma said...

It is an intriguing commercial. But as Block, discussing the ad, stated: "This country is going to hell in a handbasket and that is what we're talking about?"

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Coolest political ad I have seen in 40 years of watching politics.

I want that America back, the one where it was OK to 'smokem' if you got 'em'. Sort of - Don't tread on me.

Cain has got a chance.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I cannot come up with any rationale for the smoking. It's not even part of the natural flow, more like it was spliced in intentionally. The best I can come up with is that it does, in fact, invite controversy.

On the other hand, Cain shows that he has a great smile. People instinctively trust a smile like that. Picture Romney or Perry attempting the same thing. Their lack of spontaneity pretty much guarantees that their smiles would come out as leers or stupid grins.

In any case, Gravel's ad predates YouTube. As a TV commercial, it was just weird. People allow more latitude for things they see on the web.

traditionalguy said...

I am amazed by the reversal of the political parties attitudes.

Block is a perfect Democrat type out of the 60s through 70s reaching blue collar men and blacks.

While Obama's men ( 100% Soros approved) are all international wealthy elites stuck in temp jobs of destroying/remaking the USA, which is what the Northeaster liberals like Rockefeller were in the 60s through 70s.

The Smoking Man ad reveals that like Paine's Common Sense revealed the new political reality of 1775. Powerful.

write_effort said...

I thought the Cain smile at the end said, "I'm not serious, but I am enjoying myself."

Anonymous said...

Ann, you are right, the word, but should not be there.

coketown said...


That closing music is awful.

My theory: Cain is applying his Godfather's Pizza expertise by target marketing to select groups with each ad. This ad's target audience is smokers and drag queens.

For smokers, Cain is like that first, flavorful hit early in the morning--that exhilarating inhalation that calms the nerves and soothes the headache of the last four years. Plus it reminds people: Remember when Obama raised taxes on your smokes? How regressive of a tax that was? Vote for me! I won't do you like that.

As for the other group: What drag queen in America didn't immediately fall in love with Cain after hearing that closing music? "I am -- Amer-i-ca!" Look out, Gloria Gaynor.

Kevin said...

Why was that man smoking?!

To emulate the President?

Henry said...

A number of 19th-century UK and US politicians were described as having the attitude of "you-be-damnedness" that appealed to the common man.

An example. Rapid Tory F.E. Smith's declaration against prohibition: “Better England free than England sober.”

Cain is defining his base.

Mary Beth said...

Uncool smoking, he barely inhales.

traditionalguy said...

I read a comment from a Tea Party guy about Rove's propaganda. It said , "I don't care if he smokes babies at Gitmo, if he will defeat Obama."

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Lady Bracknell: Do you smoke?

Jack: Well, Lady Bracknell, I am bound to say, yes, I do smoke.

Lady Bracknell: That is well. A man should always have an occupation.

Sofa King said...

He's smoking because smoking is cool.

Mark O said...

Dearest Ann Althouse,

We regret to inform you that your essay of literary criticism does not meet the standards of our publication.

Andy said...

This ad will definitely help Cain to win the campaign of selling more books and increasing his motivational speaking fees and getting a job on Fox News.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Why was that man smoking?!

Because he can.

It isn't illegal.....yet.

MadisonMan said...

I like watching them without sound. In the Cain ad, there's an old man very earnestly talking about something, looking upset. Then he takes a drag.

Then Cain comes on and smiles.

It's a puzzle.

MadisonMan said...

It isn't illegal.....yet.

Oh, as if the Feds are gonna give up tobacco tax revenues. I have to ask if you believe they will: What are YOU smoking? (g)

traditionalguy said...

AndyR...You are stuck on stupid. Cain does not need any publicity for his career. He has been on nightly AM Radio talk radio for several years and has all of the wealth he can ever need.

Herman is giving all he has because he wants to restore the USA to an intelligent reality based politics.

That does not interest anyone who wants to see the ship of state go down so the can be vultures on the wrecked hulk.

Zachary Sire said...

For me it was never about the smoking...it was always about Cain's creepy smile. He's trolling everybody, and that self-knowing smile proves it. This man has no intention of being President of the United States...but he'll gladly rake in millions for as long as can.

Chip Ahoy said...

It looks to me like that guy swallowed the smoke. I expected him to exhale smoke at us but I saw nothing come out of his face.

At work he'll be stinking up the place with smoke without benefitting from full inhalations. Can you imagine working with the guy and his stinky smoked up weave jacket and his cigarette/coffee breath?

An attractive woman in upper management smoked on her lunches and breaks but kept her lit cigarette under the dining room table to conceal it and politely have it out of the way of nonsmoking people. Problem was, the smoke crept underneath the table emerging on the other side coiling like a snake onto the lap of another employee. Like me. I'd push away from the table to escape the fumigant. Now of course they're all banished. It seems so anachronistic.

Chip Ahoy said...

That's what kills me about the Sartorialist. Judging by his photography, smoking is still very chic.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Oh, as if the Feds are gonna give up tobacco tax revenues. I have to ask if you believe they will: What are YOU smoking? (g)

Oh, I'm sure that they won't give up that revenue even though it really falls upon the least affluent portions of the population. Same thing with the soda tax, junk food tax etc.

I have never smoked.....cigarettes :-D. Smoking is not only unhealthy it is gross. But, you have the right

It IS illegal to smoke in many locations and circumstances. Personally, I'm ok with banning smoking in buildings and restaurants where it is an annoyance to those who don't smoke. However, the banning is getting ridiculous in some States.

I don't get the 'horror' that people project over seeing a man using legal product when movies and television show people using illegal drugs etc without the pearl clutching vapors overcoming the watchers.

G Joubert said...

Cain's ad is very good for one reason: it's attention-getting. He's way ahead of the other candidates in marketing. And, yes, it probably is because of his CEO of Godfathers Pizza background.

Love said...

Cain is no more going to run for President than Palin.

It's ALL about the down the line dough for speaking engagements and of course appearances on Fox.

Psychedelic George said...

It means be a rebel....it appeals to people who are fed up with government regulations and political correctness, even though they may loathe tobacco...it appeals to older white male voters...and the smile shows him to be a smart, happy and non-threatening black guy and a wisenheimer, too.

Love said...

G Joubert - So any campaign ad that garners "attention" is good?

For what purpose...other than the attention.

You think this ad and the other crazy yellow flowers ad will make people vote for him?


Palladian said...

Smoking is just as cool as an adult wearing his hat crooked.

Palladian said...

The music over this ad is horrendous and I couldn't watch it because of that.

The Crack Emcee said...

Gravel's ad spoke to Zen, while Cain's speaks to America's sense of freedom - of course, progressives aren't going to get it. Theirs is a run from America, not to it.

The ad is slyly brilliant if you're in touch with real American values.

M.E. said...

@Ann -- the reason Mitochondri-Allie's comment starts with "But" is that she lifted it completely, mid-article, from this.

@Mito: When you want to smear somebody, you ought to at least cite the source.

Love said...

Every time some "rebel" or "maverick" surfaces, the conservatives go ape shit. It happened with Palin, now nothing more than a money grubbing nothing, Bachmann, a fundamentalist loon, and now Cain, a carnival barker of a candidate whop says he'll eliminate damn near all government and make the whole world wonderful...but with literally no specifics at hand.

He'll be gone in a matter of months and it will be Romney...the only sane one except for Huntsman, who is even more sane.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Shame on you, Mitochondri-Allie. There's a word for that, and it rhymes with "slagiarism".

Love said...

Crack - "America's sense of freedom"

The conservative constantly tout America as being the best country in the world, people dying to get here...yet you and others suddenly
fell we're being denied "freedoms."

What are you not free to do, Crack?

What can't you do...that you feel you should be able to do? What country on the planet offers up the freedoms of America?

Is there somewhere else you would like to reside?

Because as you know, you're "free" to leave.

Tyrone Slothrop said...


You libs are so good at picking Republican candidates. You gave us John McCain. So let me play. I think the Dems should nominate Joe Lieberman. You know in your heart he has a better chance than Obama.

Love said...

Tyrone -Liberals gave you McCain?

I have absolutely no idea what you're referring to. The GOP picked John and he destroyed any chance of victory with Palin.

And where does Lieberman come into play?

He's not even a Democrat.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

The Crack Emcee said...

Gravel's ad spoke to Zen

If it's Zen, it's fake Zen:

"Whenever anyone asked him about Zen, the great master Gutei would quietly raise one finger into the air. A boy in the village began to imitate this behavior. Whenever he heard people talking about Gutei's teachings, he would interrupt the discussion and raise his finger. Gutei heard about the boy's mischief. When he saw him in the street, he seized him and cut off his finger. The boy cried and began to run off, but Gutei called out to him. When the boy turned to look, Gutei raised his finger into the air. At that moment the boy became enlightened. "

Tea Party at Perrysburg said...

I'm not saying it's brilliant. I just LIKE the ad, just as I LIKE Cain.

I am sick to death of the politicians and their manipulative lies. Hey, everyone laughed about Trump, but the reason people liked him was that his honesty was refreshing and rare.

This was real speaking "truth to power," and we see so little of it in the prepared statements of the cocktail party Republicans like Mittens and never at all from the hopen change magician that Cain is naturally appealing.

Have you read his resume? It's impressive. A master's in computer science? A mathematician? A rocket scientist? A distinguished businessman? A writer?

Hey, that dude has a lot more experience than the African American Howdy Doody.

Love said...

"Hey, everyone laughed about Trump, but the reason people liked him was that his honesty was refreshing and rare."

Donald Trump in the same sentence as the word "honesty?"

Do you have any idea how many lawsuits are pending against this fool via investors, banks and other financial interests in his property/golf course/hotel "developments?"

He and Cain are of the same carnival barker mode.

It's ALL about THEM.

traditionalguy said...

The meme that Herman is not running for President is beyond ignorant, or it is wishful thinking.

The Atlanta middle class black culture has been strong for over 100 years.

They learn social skills and meet great leaders at churches where they are mentored by fine Pastors and Educators. Herman was HS class valedictorian and then went through Morehouse College.

Morehouse was started in in Atlanta in 1879 as Atlanta Baptist College and has always been a scholastic high achiever among black men's Colleges. It is famous for the Morehouse Mystique that produces black male graduates of high skill, and even higher ideals ideals, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. (class of 1948)

Many intelligent young black men have grown up in Atlanta, including the NBA's Dwight Howard and the NFl's Cam Newton.

And the best of them all is willing now, at age 66, to run for President. But you geniuses just know from his smile that he is a fake Pizza salesman. I suspect that is because you haven't met that high class of man before, black or white.

madAsHell said...

Hey Professor!!

Did you see that the AP found that Mark Price has roots in Wisconsin??.....and that he...gasp....worked for the Koch brothers!!!

I'm really starting to like this Herman Cain guy!!

Tyrone Slothrop said...


The press loved McCain as a reach-across-the-aisle candidate, aka RINO. This kind of pandering by the MSM, coupled with open primaries in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Michigan, gave Democrats the candidate they wanted to run against.

The Dude said...

Trad guy - that is funny. Have you ever heard Cam Newton speak? He is a mush-mouthed idiot. Sure, he attended college, but he sure didn't major in English.

ricpic said...

Remember, 9-9-9. Because...it's MAGIC!

AllenS said...

Palladian said...
Smoking is just as cool as an adult wearing his hat crooked.

That was good, real good.

ricpic said...

I'd rather keep my finger and stay unenlightened.

Michael said...

Love: It's OK not to like Cain, most Yankees don't like black people and especially conservative ones. Here in Atlanta the Yankees live out in the gated burbs as far away from the resident blacks as they possibly can. Cain is the real deal and an affront to progressive "thinkers." You should open your mind to the fact that there are independently thinking blacks and that a major city like Atlanta is filled with like minded blacks and whites. Blacks, of course, run the city.

traditionalguy said...

Herman lives in Stockbridge, Georgia conveniently locate a 20 minute drive south down I-75 from the airport, in his home inside a gated country club named Eagles landing.

It is a comfortably integrated private club.

gadfly said...

Smoking on a video! A declaration of the end of political correctness and governmental interference in the lives of its citizens - and the return to seeking liberty and pursuit of happiness and prosperity as in the days of yore.

Peter Hoh said...

For some reason, the Cain ad reminds me of Jesse Ventura's 1998 gubernatorial ads.

Here's Jesse, the Mind so you can compare for yourself.

Peter Hoh said...

Ventura ran for the hell of it. In an interview, he just about admitted that. If I recall correctly, it was election night that he said to his wife something like, Honey, there's a chance that I might actually win this thing. Prior to that, he was pretty confident that he didn't stand a chance.

ricpic said...

A comfortably integrated private club
Where the lawn jockeys all are white.
Where a Nob asks a Tom, "How's it hangin', bub?"
Colonel an' Step 'n Fetchit's tight.

MadisonMan said...

Parody is good.

gadfly said...


Herman lives in Stockbridge, Georgia conveniently locate a 20 minute drive south down I-75 from the airport, in his home inside a gated country club named Eagles landing.

It is a comfortably integrated private club.

There are sixteen gated golf communities surrounding Atlanta - and perhaps not coincidentally, the wealthiest blacks can be found South of the city.

Chuck66 said...

I think it is part Film Noir, part giving a big F.U. to the PC weinies.

Chuck66 said...

Jesse V had his election night party at a casino/horse track. A lot of people got involved in his election as kind of a fun party thing to do. No one really thought he would win.

Jesse ran as a Republican style libertarian. The more conservative Republican was second. The liberal Democrat came in third. In Humphrey/Wellstone's Minnesota.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Yup, you are right and I should've posted the link, I usually do unlike MOST of you. Hardly plagiarism since I had it in quotes, duh.

coketown said...

Yup, you are right and I should've posted the link, I usually do unlike MOST of you.

You are the whiniest little bitch I think I've ever witnessed.

Anonymous said...

I'm freaking out-

I saw something...not sure how to interpret it.

Not sure what it means.

Not sure how it affects me.

Not even sure if it matters.

Please--tell the 1% to pay the government to clarify my confused thoughts-


The 99%

(eat the rich...hehe)

Anonymous said...

MadisonMan said...

Parody is good.

How do you find this stuff-

Anonymous said...

Coke town, go have a quickie with Dust Bunny.

J said...

That he might cut your taxes and you'd probably f**k him are not good reasons for supporting Herman Frankencain, Ann.

Anonymous said...

BDQ said-

Personally, I'm ok with banning smoking in buildings and restaurants where it is an annoyance to those who don't smoke.

Who's buildings?

What is an "annoyance"?

Banning annoyances?

To those who don't smoke what?

Are those who DO smoke allowed to be annoyed?

I'd like to ban everyone from doing things that may annoy me

Follow the yellow brick road...

(I took you for being more intelligent than what you posted.)

caseym54 said...

The twenty percent of Americans who still smoke WILL get the ad, and remember it long after the rest of us have forgotten: Herman Cain doesn't much like the Nanny State.

Juxtapose this with the closeted smoker in the White House.

Anonymous said...

Last, but not least-

traditionalguy said...

I am amazed by the reversal of the political parties attitudes.


However, steady as she goes...for the progressive movement.

caseym54 said...

Do you suppose that it is a coincidence that 9-9-9 would wipe out all the federal tobacco taxes?

Anonymous said...

caseym54 said...

Do you suppose that it is a coincidence that 9-9-9 would wipe out all the federal tobacco taxes?

Do you suppose that standing in the rain, and getting wet is a coincidence?

Answers.com-2010 the U.S. tax code is 71,684 pages in length.
Above information comes from the below Related Link enclosed website address.
It was 16,845 pages in Y2006.

rhhardin said...

Physicist's explanation of the Gravel ad:

The rock area becomes wave-free before the travelling waves die out because there's a minimum water wave speed.

Longer waves travel faster the longer they are owing to gravity.

Shorter waves travel faster the shorter they are owing to surface tension.

So there's an expanding area that no wave can be left in, corresponding to the minimum wave speed, that follows the rock waves out. That area is waveless.

Matt said...

Herman Cain is 65 years old. His campaign manager is 55. So it is sort of backward to say the ad shows the 'old guy' smoking countere with the a 'fresh faced' Cain. They are both old!

Anyway, the ad at least has people talking about Cain - so it has some effect. There is no question the smoking part is deliberate. The use of slo-motion zoom in with the start of the music is not an accident.

I think it means Cain is not really running to win. [He is blowing smoke...] He is just extending this fun run as long as he can. It's almost like that Redford movie 'The Candidate' - except there will be a different ending.

M.E. said...

@Mito: Sorry, but you didn't have it in quotes. You had a stray end quote at the very end; no beginning quote.

Just sayin'.

Cauphy P said...

I came across the Cain "smoking man" ad and thought it was unappealing to say the least and that it was bad judgement on Cain's group to use it. My husband brought it up again when it was becoming controversial and I replayed it. This time I liked it even less. I thought the music was terrible, the old man off-putting and Herman's smile looked sly (and not in a good way). After reading your commentary, I revisited the ad a third time. In spite of myself, I found I saw the thing in a new light. Cain did look... refreshing. Minutes later, in the comments, my attention was drawn to the yellow flowers ad. What in the Sam Hill is going on there besides craziness? Please, what happy thoughts in that one, Ann?

Known Unknown said...

Herman Cain is an X-Files fan?

Guildofcannonballs said...

Some people get it more than others:

Following the drafting of the U.S. Constitution, the 55 signers celebrated the birth of the fledgling nation with a full-bore blowout, putting away 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, eight bottles of whiskey, 22 bottles of port, eight bottles of hard cider, 12 beers and seven bowls of alcoholic punch large enough that, according one observer, “ducks could swim in them.”

It needs to be noted that the notorious traitor and all-around weasel Benedict Arnold didn’t care for drink and looked askance at drunkards. Which should be surprising to no one...

-Richard English

wv bedget ?

rcocean said...

Yep, Richard they went for the gusto. Drafting a Constitution is no kids game. And when its time to relax its Miller and Claret Time!

Phil 314 said...

I don't know why but I bet

the truth is out there.

B said...

Coketown said...You are the whiniest little bitch I think I've ever witnessed.

Isn't that the truth. I think we're dealing with a frowsy late mid-life empty nester who's never had much need for sharp wits.

I mean, really, her response to you was 'Coke town, go have a quickie with Dust Bunny.'

And this vacuous, preening bint wants us to laud her for her smart and accomplished liberal progeny.

Henry said...

Zachary Paul Sire wrote: This man has no intention of being President of the United States...but he'll gladly rake in millions for as long as can

Put that in past tense and you have our current president. The plan had just one flaw.

Steve Austin said...

Why do we keep referring to Mark Block as the "old man"?

I think he is younger than Althouse.

ambisinistral said...

Consider that ad, with the camera moving in and out and the person jumping around the frame, have you seen it before?

Do the same camera work, only with young hispter stars in front of a white background and you've seen it a gazillion times in the last few years.

Whoever dreamed it up was subverting that image -- and older guy nobody knows against a brick wall and ending with that most uncool of acts, puffing on a cigarette.

I don't know if it will work or not as a political ad, but it is an exercise in contrast. Anybody who has rolled their eyes at the ersatz coolness of yet another white background ad probable gets the joke at some level, even if it is a subliminal level.

Cain's impish smile is the icing on the cake. You're going to get him, not some focus-group tested BS a marketing department dreamed up

William said...

I'll go with Phil's statement at 8:16. Perhaps an allusion to Cain as the truth that's out there and and Cain's alien qualities only enhance his truth--the stranger in a strange land.... But perhaps the point was to generate all this pointless speculation.....One thing I've noted is that all the liberals are agreed that it is wrong to use a smoker in an ad. However, it's fine for the Prez to sneak a drag in the Oval Office when no one's around. The capacity of liberals for hypocrisy is their greatest survival skill.

J said...

Amazing Cracki with an astute historical observation--why,yes tobacco, American as like...RE Lee.

Cain's most likely getting a sh*tload of shekels from RJ Reynolds (what was RJR).

Synova said...

I saw the ad a couple of days ago. I couldn't see what was supposedly so great about it and the fact that the old guy's forehead and chin are blurred was really distracting to me. I kept wondering if that was a common trick to keep the focus on someone's eyes. I assumed that it's the top and bottom of the whole picture that are blurry.

The ad might not have done much for me, but every time I hear someone utter vapid hostility about Cain I find I like him more. That includes bringing up Block's non-conviction of anything at all. I don't really care if he thought he was getting away with something, was falsely accused, got innocently caught in campaign law complexities, or was doing what everyone else does only not as well. I don't care. Ten years later the guy deserves a chance to work. The fact he worked a crap job at Target isn't an insult (unless you're an elitist Blue) but is a recommendation. He's not a sex offender so maybe we don't need to punish him for the rest of his life, you think?

Also...hypocrisy alert!..a minor campaign peccadillo hardly even begins to approach some of the sins excused by liberals among their own.

Also...bringing up an irrelevant personal history, and it most certainly is irrelevant, is argument by ad hominem. Instead of addressing Cain, the reputation of this other fellow is shown as proof that Cain should be dismissed from consideration.

This is the weakest possible argument. But maybe that's all anyone has.

So it makes me like Cain more. Also, I admire someone who gives someone who had his reputation marred another chance.

Synova said...

"Cain is no more going to run for President than Palin.

It's ALL about the down the line dough for speaking engagements and of course appearances on Fox.

And if this was true, is it bad?

People run for president in order to give their ideas a soap box, to influence public opinion and discourse and to nudge other candidates toward their ideas. And since there is nothing wrong with making some money on speaking engagements to further promote their ideas, I fail to see how this is a criticism.

I also fail to see any evidence that it's true. Speaking to another person's supposed true motivation ought at least to have some corollary evidence available or it's just blowing hot air out your ass.

When Forbes ran I thought it was probably just to get his ideas about a flat tax into the public consciousness. I think that Rand and Kucinich run for the same reason. It's certainly why the minor parties in the US name a candidate... it gets a spokesperson on TV a few extra times to talk about their ideas.

But is Cain really running for President? I think he is. He's not advocating ideas that are out of the ordinary, not even 9-9-9. Not really. He already could do inspirational speaking as a profession for the rest of his life.

Not liking him isn't proof that he doesn't mean it.

Geraldus Maximus said...

You made good points. But I figured that saying that someone who is in the Republican debates, making campaign speeches and has a campaign website and staff isn't running for President doesn't really require a response. Such a person is so clearly disconnected from reality that no response will convince them. They already saw all of the above evidence with their own eyes and dismissed it. Why would they listen to you or me when they won't even listen to their own lying eyes?

Synova said...

Heh... just noticed I wrote Rand instead of Ron Paul... got a brain hiccup with Rand Paul for a moment.

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carnifex said...

Crack Emcee gets it. Its npt about smoking, its about what smoking represents.

@Love you asked what rights have been taken from us. How about the right to open a restaurant that allows smoking?

Its all about the "Nanny State". If I want to open a restaurant with smoking WHY IS IT ILLEGAL?

I'm not forcing any non-smoker to come into my establishment. Its about choice like the rant from "Demolition Man" by Dennis Leary. The governments authority is specifically spelled out in the Constitution, and it has been grievously trampling our right to choose since it was signed.

Its progressed to the point of Americans being executed for exercising their 1st Amendment Rights without even a trial. Just ask Anwar al-Awlaki.(spelling?)

He got put on a secret list for saying somethings the government didn't like. The CIA sees him driving down the raod,and ices him with a missile up his you know what.

1) al-Awlaki was an American citizen.
2) at the time, he was not engaged in an activity that would result in the death or injury of others.
3) he didn't get a trial.
a] he didn't get to face his accusers
b] he didn't get convicted by a jury of his peers
c] he wasn't Mirandized
He was executed because someone said he was a terrorist, so he was but on a kill list.

Granted this is an extreme case, but that's why we have the Constitution. So the president is set now. If someone in the government sez you're a terrorist, they can kill you, period, dot, end of sentence.

J said...

Cain does have ties to big tobacco:

As the New York Times pointed out on Sunday, there's another side to Cain: lobbyist. And as a lobbyist for the National Restaurant Association in DC in the 1990s, Cain was one of the tobacco industry's best friends on K Street. His group received big bucks from major cigarette manufacturers, and returned the favor by opposing things like smoking bans. When he left, meanwhile, an R.J. Reynolds lobbyist, Rob Meyne, penned an internal memo on Cain's future prospects..... (MotherJones )

That's not ad hominem either (until one says something like.. none of Cain's political ideas can be considered since he backs tobacco). A candidate's history/policy views--and character--, are obviously relevant. The ad won't likely help his campaign, Syn. Tobacco's not that popular anymore. Demos won't approve, nor will ...most GOP centrists (like Romneyites)

(hey "Carni" maybe link to a real blog and profile. Or maybe yr just another cowardly stoner-troll from Sac, aka Belcharoni? Yeah looks like it)

Synova said...

Tobacco not being popular isn't the same as people thinking that it's right that the government decide for individual businesses, particularly restaurants and bars, that they can not have people smoke in them.

For example. I don't smoke, never have, don't care to be around people who do, think it's bad for you and smelling and disgusting not to mention an incredible waste of money.

Does that mean I automatically agree that it's reasonable for the government to ban smoking in bars or restaurants?

We used to be able to defend the freedom of people even when we disagreed with what they were doing. No more?

And does my dislike of smoking mean that I automatically am going to accept the implication that as a lobbyist for restaurants that Cain was representing tobacco against what the restaurants would otherwise have promoted?

That's just silly... and it is the implication you're making.

I was alive then, you know. And bars and restaurants fought the bans because they felt that their customers wouldn't like it, that customers went out to relax and for many people that meant smoking. I don't know how uncomfortable smokers actually are, they don't seem uncomfortable, no one seems to have stopped going out to eat, and I have to admit that I like not being around smoke, but none of the concerns were unreasonable at the time.

And I can still recognize the principles of freedom and of government intrusion involved in smoking bans.

Indigo Red said...

It doesn't mean anything at all. It's name recognition. There's nothing beyond, "Hey, did you see that really odd Cain ad?" Now everyone has heard of Herman Cain. Name recognition.

Splinter Faction said...

Just an aside, but the suggestion someone made that Cam Newton is a "mush-mouthed idiot" should not be left unchallenged. That statement is simply nonsense. On the larger issue, I am amused that this ad has generated such a frenzy of deconstruction. One might suggest that such a thing bespeaks no small wit on the part of its creator.

The Dude said...

Splinter - have you heard him speak? I live in North Carolina and he is on the radio constantly. He needs an interpreter. Seriously, he can't speak English. He may be intelligent, who knows, but he certainly cannot form grammatically correct sentences.

Michael said...

J. "tobacco" will do instead of " big tobacco". There isnt a little tobacco any more. It just sounds better to make it big as in big business etc? Really ineffective rhetorically.

Darcy said...

You nailed this, Althouse. I came away with a very similar sense of this ad. And the same feeling about the smile at the end. Herman Cain captured me there. I smiled back. Now, he's got my attention, which is the whole point of advertising.

Darcy said...

And hahahaha...I don't know why the word "bint" tickles me. I rarely see it anywhere, and it always sounds/reads so mild and inoffensive at first to me. Until I remember what it means.

J said...

Health concerns are not so silly and that's one reason smoking was banned in restaurants. And it is an infringement of sorts--ie, the smoker's intruding.

The tobbaco lobby's still around and they give money to politicians. It's powerful. Ergo,Big Tobacco. Maybe you can send an op-ed piece to MJ, Mikey. (the point was made in the NYT as well)

Phil 314 said...

The Palinization of Herman Cain

___________ cannot run for President as a Republican. Therefore, he/she must be evil, stupid, extreme etc.

You can fill in blank with woman, attractive woman, black man, etc.

Imagine the exploding heads when the 1st gay Republican runs for national office.

Deb said...

I LOVE all this talk about Cain. Do any of you think this man NEEDS to do this? Hell no. Read what TG wrote. Cain is a wealthy businessman. He doesn't need this shit. Atlantans have been begging Cain to run for a long time. And what they say about the yankees "Down Here" (that's what the transplanted Yankees have renamed the South) is true. They talk a good talk but they walk as fast as they can to the burbs: East Cobb and Roswell primarily. God forbid they should venture into South Cobb where the blacks and Hispanics live. All that progressive bullshit is fine and dandy as long as "those people" stay in their place. Herman Cain is SUCCESSFUL, can you understand that? Unlike the current WH resident, he does NOT need a job, or publicity, or a stint on Fox News, or any advice from Karl Rove or any other established politician.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And I can still recognize the principles of freedom and of government intrusion involved in smoking bans.

I can too. And I suppose making smoking banns a voluntary action would work in many places. Restaurants and Bars. Don't go if you object and it is a smoking allowed establishment

However, there are places that are not "voluntary" for people to go. For example at the work place where you are basically locked into a room with someone for 8 hours who is smoking.

Sure....People can quit their jobs if they feel that strongly about their own health. But most will not; especially people whose job options are limited. Again being the lower income strata of society. They would be forced by circumstances to endanger their health.

Health: the reason that companies ban smoking in the workplace is for monetary not altruistic reasons.

Group plans cannot discriminate on health conditions so a smoker or a person with diabetes is covered at the same cost as everyone else even though they are statistically more likely to have claims. This is why group plans are more expensive than individually priced insurance.

If you are forced to provide health care for your employees you want to have the healthiest employees and have the safest workplace so you don't incur costs.

It is a workplace hazard. Would you pure libertarians say that the boss should also allow asbestos and benzene fumes in the workplace as a matter of choice? Voluntary? After all the employee isn't chained to the workstation.

HEALTH: If you dispute that smoking harms other people be aware that when testing your blood for health insurance a person who routinely worked in smoke filled environments, (bars and casinos in particular when I was doing life insurance business), the resulting blood test would be as if they were smokers. Spending all day or night breathing second hand smoke creates the same health issues (long term) as smoking.

So voluntary avoiding places that allow smoking might be a solution for some. For others....not so much

Skipper said...

Cain's slow-burn smile reminds me of the movie versions of the Devil's after closing the deal on someone's soul.

Synova said...

"It is a workplace hazard. Would you pure libertarians say that the boss should also allow asbestos and benzene fumes in the workplace as a matter of choice? Voluntary? After all the employee isn't chained to the workstation."

That's why it finally came down on the side of smoking bans in restaurants, right?

What is wasn't was obvious, nor IIRC, the first argument for smoking bans that was made. From a libertarian stand point I think it's one of those issues with competing elements (like abortion). In theory people can and should be free to chose a hazardous job, but in reality how much freedom do they have to chose not to take it? This is why the issue warrants discussion of various view points. I don't know how I'd come out on that if I was the one who had to chose, to make the final decision.

What I object most to are the two implications that J made, that there wasn't room for argument from both sides and that no one would have made the argument if they weren't a sell-out to Tobacco.

cassandra lite said...

Ve hav ways of making you tok, American dog.

Splinter Faction said...

Sixty, I'll just respectfully maintain a mild disagreement on that point. Newton strikes me as thoughtful and perceptive, and, at least by pro athlete standards, clear of speech. (Darn, it's hard to make that point without using the word articulate!)

PatCA said...

I think we have entered the Euro art film genre of political ads. The Huntsman girls added comedy.

What next??

Audie Murphys Mom said...

Mitochondri-Allie said...
Yup, you are right and I should've posted the link, I usually do unlike MOST of you. Hardly plagiarism since I had it in quotes, duh.

You tell it Mitzie. You set all these Neanderthal conservatives straight!

I really loved how you ended your brilliant comment with "duh". My hero Jeremy used to do that all the time.

Are you guys related?

Are you married?

Does Jeremy also have a hero liberal daughter serving overseas in the armed forces even though she hates war and the Republicans that start them?

That is so inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who knows Mark Block personally will KNOW that this guy smokes at every chance. Does that make him a monster? Does that make him the most evil guy on earth? Well, depends on who you believe. I've stood out on smoking patios listening to Mark talk during breaks at various events, I know the guy has a lot of good ideas. Smoking to him is like those ever-present water bottles to many of you: a crutch. Him smoking in an ad is just...Mark.

Akai_Tsuki said...

I hate smoker :|
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