[Update: I swear that I was going to leave this in diaries - but, given the agitation that it's sparked on my other site, I'm thinking that it really needs to be fronted after all. - ML]
Cain last visited Iowa on Oct. 22, and Tuel said the next time he expects the candidate back in the state is Nov. 19. Tuel also noted that plans are in the works for an early December bus tour through the state, much like the one Cain took ahead of the August Ames Straw Poll. Campaign sources said the tour might include a “mega town hall meeting,” with thousands in attendance.
During a lunchtime visit this week to Cain’s headquarters, located in a shopping center in the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale, reporters from ABC News found about a dozen volunteers telephoning potential supporters, many of them older Iowans. When ABC returned in the evening — a time when local campaign offices would usually be packed with an after-work crowd — only two volunteers remained in the office. They said that others were at home making placards for Friday night’s Iowa Republican Party Dinner, which Cain does not plan to attend.
ABC News visited the same campaign headquarters last month and found the office quiet and empty.
That passage represents a kindly ABC News writer/editor team - yes, they do exist - coming as close as they dare to frantically waving off the campaign while screaming "DANGER! DANGER, HERMAN CAIN!" Because you can talk about national campaigns and moneybombs and heck, even polling all you like: but if you're not currently being forced to squeeze volunteers into your campaign offices any which way then you're doing it wrong.
Let me explain. In 2004, Howard Dean had money. Howard Dean had polls. Howard Dean had a national campaign going. What Howard Dean did not have was a functional Iowa organization designed to bring people to the precinct polling stations and keep them there for up to two hours, which is why he came in third place. And to forestall the immediate objection: in 2003 Dean supporters were more than happy to explain why the lack of a ground organization didn't matter, too. Up to the the moment where Dean lost.
Free advice for Team Cain: in that article Cain's Iowa campaign manager says "Of course Mr. Cain cannot move to Iowa any more than he can move to New Hampshire or South Carolina, and he’s got a busy schedule." I suggest that they convince the candidate to abandon that Of course and get him to Iowa for the next two months. Because if Cain loses Iowa at this point it is going to have an impact infinitely worse than if he had never been expected to win Iowa in the first place.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: What? Oh, yes, the system is absurd. Particularly the expectations that Iowan voters have with regard to Presidential candidates.