Yesterday, when we received news that the boss had passed, I didn’t know quite what to say. Obviously, we weren’t taking his situation lightly, but just a few days ago we were told that we should expect a full recovery. To say that we were gobsmacked is a bit of an understatement.
I set about writing of our time as friends and colleagues, and I honestly didn’t know quite where to begin.
The last decade has been such an honor – such an important part of my life – that it seemed impossible to put into a simple blog post. This morning, when a friend at WMAL’s “Mornings on the Mall” asked me to talk a bit about my time with Herman Cain, things clicked.
Herman, I said, was always sharper and smarter than the press gave him credit for being. He was funnier, more generous, more caring and more loyal than the public would ever know. His faith in God was absolute, his political beliefs were deeply held, his love of his family and country was unquestioned and, above all, he was relentlessly, unflinchingly positive.
It’s that last one that I struggle with. I’m . . . not that guy. Like a lot of people in politics, I’m sardonic, I’m sarcastic, and I often suffer from what Arthur Conan Doyle called “black moods.” I get deeply cynical and if you take a swing at me, I swing back.
Herman wasn’t like that.
Sure, there were people and things he didn’t care for. Yes, he was out to defeat forces he believed were damaging the country. But he never hated his opponents, nor did he let any of it drag him down into the mire of anger and depression.
No matter how ugly his detractors got – and if you’ve seen HC’s Twitter feed since his death, you know how ugly that can be – he smiled, rallied and pressed on. The nastiness, the vile slings and arrows, were like water off a duck’s back. Whether it was simply his personality, or his belief in a higher power, he walked around in a happy-go-lucky suit of armor that deflected it all.
So when I’m asked what I’ll take from my time with Herman Cain, I no longer need to search for an answer.
I’ll carry the memory of that sense of humor, that big smile, and that cheerful booming voice with me for the rest of my life.
And I’ll work on following his relentlessly positive example.