This is not ‘jumping’ the shark. This is using a parasail to hover above the shark, all the while throwing chum at it.
Background: Cain’s Chief of Staff Mark Block went on the air today to admit, yeah, it really couldn’t have been former Cain staffer Curt Anderson who leaked the original Cain sexual harassment story to Politico, given that Anderson’s denied it in Politico – and is now giving permission to every reporter that Anderson’s ever talked to about Cain ever to reveal the details of those conversations. For those unfamiliar with the way Washington, DC works: that’s either suicide or supreme self-confidence… and the fact that Anderson is still upright and walking around kind of suggests that it wasn’t suicide. So, that issue’s over at least, right? Nope! Herman Cain went on the air after Block did and indicated that he still suspects Anderson. Because, you know, Perry Perry Perry Perry Perry.
And, oh yeah: they’re going to think about suing Politico. Because they weren’t grinding metal on this story enough already.
The Washington Post spells it out for folks at that point: “Cain’s statement completely contradicts the assertions of Block, who stated Thursday that he no longer believes the source of the leak was Anderson.” Through sheer force of will the author of the piece managed to avoid too-publicly goggling at that particular breach of message discipline, which is likely to ensure that when we write the books on the 2012 Presidential election this entire sorry episode will get its own chapter. Simply put: a Chief of Staff for a campaign is often treated as a surrogate for/extension of the candidate him- or herself. If the Chief of Staff says We think X, then the assumption is that this position has been already vetted by the candidate. Which means that a reporter doesn’t need to check. What Cain did here was to call into question everything that Mark Block says from now on; which means that Cain now effectively has to be his own Chief of Staff when it comes to communicating with the Media from now on, in addition to everything else that the man has to do.
All in all, now would be a good time for Cain to take Friday off and instead spend the weekend (at least, the parts of it not actually spent in doing Saturday’s debate) fixing his campaign communication infrastructure before it does any more damage. Listening to the professionals would probably be a good idea, too: or at least realizing that maybe, just maybe, there are actual reasons for all of those odd Beltway communications / public relations practices…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: Meanwhile, back at the ranch…
For his part, Rick Perry, in Iowa today, told CNN that there was no need for his campaign to apologize to the Cain campaign, as Block insisted earlier, before reversing course.
“Our campaign didn’t have anything to do with it,” Perry said.
Bolding mine. And that’s a pretty bold statement for Perry to make, there. One hopes that he’s prepared to be equally bold when Cain brings it up in the CNBC debate. Which Cain almost certainly will, despite the fact that it won’t have a darn thing to do with economic issues.