True, George Washington didn't "get down" with the people either. But that was 1789, when it was enough just to do things right, with no obligation to be pleasant. Americans in the 21st century want to be led by someone they can like, even as he goes about the business of solving their problems. That so many took Cain for that kind of man indicates to the surviving Republican candidates how they might reshape their own presentations.
The ascent of Newt Gingrich is the narrative of the moment. I have the odd feeling, actually, the moment could be right for the return of Rick Perry, if our governor -- I am a Texan -- could contrive to become less boisterous and fast-off-the-mark. Perry has strong convictions and decisive qualities inadequately appreciated. He has, moreover, a good-ol'-boy touch -- a zest, an enthusiasm, a quick way with a smile - that one could call, in a sense, Cain-like.
This isn't a Perry endorsement. It's an appraisal of the evidence that flies around like campaign-trail dust. The present campaign isn't especially enjoyable -- not with a country's fate awaiting the outcome -- but if you look steadily, you can read America's story: a great and various people, vexed, anxious, worn-out; ready, nevertheless, to pledge allegiance and go back to work in what used to be called the spirit of America.
The candidate who can best understand that yearning and tap it, is the man who will lead the country through its present crises.