When a debate spends about a third of the time debating your plan, you win.
Score this one a knockout for Herman Cain and his 9-9-9 plan. Yes, Mitt Romney had another solid performance. Michele Bachmann was focused and strong. Newt Gingrich came off as the smartest guy in the room as usual. Rick Santorum was solid. Jon Huntsman was improved. Rick Perry got stronger rather than weaker throughout the night, reversing his usual debate trend. And, Ron Paul was Ron Paul.
But the guy who is in the spotlight right now, the guy who has launched himself to the top tier of most polls, the guy who got most of the questions, the guy who spent most of the night talking about his plan or answering questions or attacks on his plan, is the guy who won.
Most people keep wanting to put a caveat or an asterisk by Herman Cain. There’s a general view of Cain that is dismissive. Well, sure he’s up in the polls, but that won’t last for long. Sure his plan sounds good, but it would never happen.
Herman Cain has been surprising people all his life. And he surprised more people tonight. He was poised. He was confident. And he made his 9-9-9 plan sound like a lot more substantive than some cheap rhetorical trick he pulled off the shelf.
Herman Cain is going to be around for a while, and people should start taking him seriously. If he’s not president, he could be vice president. Or bet the under and just start calling him Mr. Secretary.