Enter the Smoking Man


The Cain campaign released a head-scratcher of a political ad several days ago.  It was originally circulated by email, rather than the campaign’s official YouTube channel, so it took a few days to go viral.  Every source I’ve read agrees that it’s a genuine bona fide product of the campaign. 

By all accounts, this is indeed Mark Block, Herman Cain’s chief of staff.  I don’t know why a campaign ad would feature an endorsement from the candidate’s own chief of staff.  I think it’s safe to assume chiefs of staff all endorse their candidates – at least until they are either fired, or the candidate loses an election, at which point certain back-stabbing rituals are often observed.  Normally, a campaign rounds up some average Americans to endorse the candidate on-camera, and they don’t do it like… this. 

I’m not even going to attempt describing the ad.  It’s only a minute long.  Watch it for yourself, shake it off, and we’ll meet again beneath the video embed.

So: a brilliant attempt to gain viral real estate by producing the most surreal minute of video since Lost went off the air?  Was Block trying to goad the media into talking about this by dragging on a cigarette at the end?  (If so, it’s working.)  Is this just Cain, or his equally jovial campaign, having some fun in the middle of a tense primary?  It seems a bit too heavily produced to be a random artifact of Block and a cameraman goofing around during a smoke break, and somebody did put it on a private YouTube channel and start emailing the link around.

If Cain thinks he can attract the attention of people like me by producing intensely weird and unsettling video that defies rational explanation, he’s absolutely right.  I’m hoping for either a disco-dancing dwarf or the Log Lady next time.

For another taste of the general air of jocularity surrounding the Cain campaign, here’s Americans for Cain tapping into nostalgia for a classic kid’s toy (and perhaps grabbing the coattails of a currently popular movie that seems to have been loosely based on it) to offer their critique of Herman Cain’s principle rivals.