Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich Will Face Off Saturday November 5th in The Woodlands, Texas

This Saturday, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain will debate each other in a one-on-one modified Lincoln-Douglas style debate.

Newt Gingrich:

There is no doubt Gingrich is a master Politician and sometimes he can capture that yearning desire for conservatives for someone who can articulate conservative positions and tie them into practical policy solutions. He can explain proposals, positions and their intended consequences like no other Republican except Paul Ryan. He would neutralize Obama's "intelligence" and force the media to acknowledge our advantage in that department. His problem is overcoming the Scarlet letters of legitimizing the entire climate change machine while sharing a love seat in an ad with Nancy Pelosi, and throwing Paul Ryan under the bus, who sometimes has been a lone voice in the entitlement wilderness for conservatives. To be conservative is to take on a heavy calling of higher standards. When you appear to betray this base, it is difficult to ask them to forgive and forget.

I'm one of those conservatives who cringed when Newt Gingrich sold out Paul Ryan. It will be interesting to see if Gingrich can leverage his greatest strength which is debating and articulating policy positions into a compelling reason to vote for him in the primary. The idea of crushing Obama publicly while smiling might be something to relish for charged up conservatives, but you still have to find a way to compel the base to go  all out, mobilize and work for the final push. I don't think Gingrich can overcome the damage caused by his own political and personal missteps, but it would be nice to see him cash his rising stock in for a cabinet spot as Secretary of State in a Rick Perry Administration.

Herman Cain:

I can't sleep at night thinking all Cain is, is Alan Keyes on steroids. I campaigned for Keyes in 2008 and I can tell you, I have tasted the powerful drug of an orator who speaks to your anger and seems like he can render every social problem and policy dilemma defeated before his aggressive and unabashed fingerpointing. Cain can speak. But the drug is exactly that, it helps you escape reality, which is dangerous. Keyes was pummeled by Obama and only received 27% of the votes. This was the worst defeat in Illinois history in a US Senate race. Cain singing reminds me of Keyes with his singing ability, and using the media to spontaneously break out into song. Speaking the truth is easy, winning hearts and minds of those who don't believe you is the hard part.

Cain's strength lies in the effectiveness of his emotional appeals, quickly through his words channeling the angry conservative's desire to just "say it like it is." Like Keyes, he can talk and talk, but we already have that skill in full display, right now, in the White House. This debate marketed in the style of Lincoln-Douglas will reveal the pedigree of Cain's ideas and talking points. There lies the problem, Cain will have to explain his positions, and unlike Gingrich, he won't be able to get into the details of how he plans to help pass policy on entitlements. His ability to excite might be rendered useless as his campaign has pulled back the reins on his freestyle skills. Media outlets will be hanging on his every word attempting to continue their mission of bringing attention to his campaign's troubles. Where I think Cain will show his talent is to take the discussion and personalize it through a great story telling ability.

A good friend of mine who is a brilliant Republican strategist told me over the phone this week that Herman Cain made a crucial mistake allowing Newt Gingrich the chance to shine and work off of Cain's stature as temporary leader of the pack. The debate described on the website as a "conversational" style dialogue will benefit Gingrich greatly.

Saturday I will be eager to see if the conversation on entitlements follows the narrative set forth by Paul Ryan and Governor Perry, both courageously speaking publicly about the entitlement crisis.


Related Content: Cain-Gingrich Debate

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