Herman Cain Campaign: Mark Block Won’t Be Fired

Herman Cain's bizarre loyalty to his Campaign Director is one of the reasons he is unfit to be President.

As I noted yesterday, Herman Cain’s Campaign Director/Chief Of Staff Mark Block embarresed his candidate once again on Monday night when he falsely claimed that one of Cain’s accusers, Karen Kraushaar, was related to a reported at Politico. It wasn’t the first time he’d gone on television and basically made stuff up that he later had to retract. The logical thing to do at this point seems to be that Mark Block should be fired, and replaced with someone who both knows how to run a Presidential Campaign and who isn’t going to go on television and sabotage the campaign. Not surprisingly, there were calls from many conservatives yesterday for Block to be fired, and Red State’s Erick Erickson went even further than that in an Open Letter to Cain:

It is abundantly obvious to a lot of us Herman that you are not living up to your own words. You said you would surround yourself with the best people — the competent people to help you.

Last week, J.D. Gordon had a disastrous performance on a Blackberry on Geraldo’s show. His performance set the tone for the Monday news shows, all of which pointed out that your own communications vice president would not deny the story.

Then Mark Block went on TV to blame Curt Anderson only to walk it back the next day.

This week, Mark Block again went on TV, said he had verified the identify of a reporter as the son of your accuser, and got it totally wrong. But he said it was verified. It was a lie.

Herman, you said you’d surround yourself with the best people and you’ve surrounded yourself with Class A failures. The problems you are facing are problems of campaign staffing. You’ve failed to live up to your own standard of hiring the best people.

I still believe you can win. But to do so, you must fire your staff and start over.

Well, despite all the advice, despite Mark Block’s false accusations against two people over the sexual harassment story, despite the fact that he was suspended for three years in Wisconsin for violating campaign finance laws, and despite the fact the he is at the middle of what looks like a serious campaign finance law violation by the Cain campaign itself, Mark Block is staying:

Apparently, Block is staying put with the Cain campaign. A highly placed Cain source sent the Water Cooler an e-mail: “This is a hysterically funny rumor. The Inside the Beltway crowd is in the midst of a nervous breakdown regarding the success the Cain campaign is having with the American people. Mr. Cain believes in the old adage, ‘You continue to dance with the one that brung ya’ to the dance.

Ed Morrissey puts it best, I think:

Loyalty is an admirable quality, but flat-out incompetence and the failure to correct it is not, especially in an executive.  Herman Cain may very well be innocent of these accusations, but Mark Block offered two unsubstantiated accusations in less than a week, both of which the campaign had to retract, in response to the allegations.  If Block went off the reservation to do that, the proper remedy for an executive would be to replace him immediately, especially after Block’s pompous declaration that he had “confirmed” that Josh Kraushaar worked for Politico and that he was Karen Kraushaar’s son.  Not only were neither true, a simple Google search would have shown that Josh Kraushaar works for National Journal, a competing publication, and has since 2010.

Moreover, as I noted before, Cain has said in response to many domestic and foreign policy questions that, as President, he would surround himself with advisers who were experts in their fields and make his decisions based on what they tell him. I’ve already written about the danger of a President who relies too much on his advisers, but this also brings up another point. With a candidate who has never held executive office, the best guide you often get to how they’d be is President is by watching how they run their campaign. Looking at who this candidate surrounds himself with, how they interact with the public and press, and how they and the candidate handle a crisis are at least some clue as to how they’d respond as President. It’s not always a perfect indicator, of course. For the most part, for example, Barack Obama ran a near-flawless campaign for the Democratic nomination and the General Election. Unfortunately, that near perfection did not translate very well to the White House, and Barack Obama only seems to really be “on message” when he’s out campaigning. Governing, and responding to and dealing with the leaders in his own party and the opposition, are things that seem to elude this President and the people he surrounds himself with. So, it’s not a perfect indicator, but it’s one of the only ones we have.

In Herman Cain’s case, we have a candidate who has surrounded himself with what appears at this point to be a bunch of amateurs who are headed by a charlatan. The campaign atmosphere is bizarre to say the least according to reports from former insiders, and the leader of the campaign is content to let it continue while ignoring the reality that they have no ground operation in any of the earlier primary states. Neither the campaign director nor the candidate have demonstrated any ability to handle a crisis, as the last two weeks have demonstrated. Add to this the lies and other bizarre behavior we’ve seen from Mark Block and the campaign’s Communications Director J.D. Gordon, and the only conclusion that one can reach is that Herman Cain is appallingly bad at picking advisers. If these are the people he picks to run his campaign, then his supporters are being blindingly naive to think that he’d hire competent advisers in the extremely unlikely event that he became President.

Herman Cain may continue to stay at the top of the polls, I’m not going to predict that he won’t at this point because the GOP selectorate has been acting bizarre throughout this entire campaign. Leading in the polls, though, doesn’t make you prepared or qualified to be President, and this is yet another example of how Herman Cain has proven himself to be unfit to be President.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. legion says:

    Well, of course Block’s still got a job. The object of this twit parade was never to get Cain elected to anything – it was simply to get his profile elevated enough to keep him in high-paying conservative-welfare jobs post-campaign, since his performance as Godfathers’ CEO was poor enough that he was likely to never get a top-flight job in the corporate world ever again. Block has handled that flawlessly. You expect too much from these insipid clowns, Doug.

  2. Not to mention that if the best defense against these allegations by the Cain campaign to date are two fabrications, that doesn’t speak too well to the entire enterprise.

  3. Ron Beasley says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Are they fabrications or just the result of “research” that was done in the comments sections of right wing blogs?

  4. @Ron Beasley: Well, they were ultimately untrue, and hence fabrications. Whether Block knowingly perpetuated fabrications, I could not say.

  5. Hey Norm says:

    Cain is not running for President…he’s selling books. I’m guessing book sales are strong…and Block is safe.

  6. Has anyone else noticed how weirdly parallel the current situation at the Cain campaign and Penn State seem to be?

  7. @Stormy Dragon: One thing I have noticed for sure is that all the major stories at the moment seem to be about sexual misconduct.

    Taking my kids to school of late I have often wanted to change the station when NPR is talking about Cain allegedly putting his hand up someone’s skirt to ESPN I think have to hear about boys being raped in a shower–neither story is one I want to expose my 11 year-old to.

  8. EddieInCA says:

    Dr. Taylor –

    Perhaps a better choice of words than “…to expose my 11-year old to.” could have been used.

    Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

  9. Brian says:

    A scarier question and only half-joking thought would be if this is the strategy of Cain. Both these lies, while walked back, didn’t seem to hurt him at all. He still has a fairly high standing. Perhaps this is how he plans on going on: telling things to rile up the base and play to their worst ideas (OF COURSE this isn’t true, it’s Perry’s lies/a media witch hunt!) and skate over the problems. Trust the bubble of many Republicans and apparently his supporters to not pop from truth, and coast his way forward. And if his people are following his plan, why would he fire them?

  10. ponce says:

    Being critical of an underfunded campaign that has managed to put its nobody candidate in the lead for the Republican presidential nomination with less than two months to Iowa is strange.

  11. Because if Cain had fired him a week ago you would have noted that as evidence of his being qualified to be president? Your obsession is a sad joke at this point.

    Oh, and for those of you trying to impugn Cain with the Sandusky criminal acts? Really? Have you no shame, sirs?

    Jeebus, what a sewer this place is becoming.

  12. @charles austin:

    Oh, and for those of you trying to impugn Cain with the Sandusky criminal acts? Really? Have you no shame, sirs?

    To be clear, Charles, all I was noting that all of the major stories in the news at the moment revolve around sexual behavior.

    How that observation of empirical fact equals a sewer transformation is beyond me.

  13. anjin-san says:

    Jeebus, what a sewer this place is becoming.

    I have never, not even once, seen Steven be anything other than fair and reasonable. Plenty of folks here play in the mud, but he is not one of them.