Herman Cain, After Suspending Campaign, Stands to Do Well as Speaker

Political strategists and heads of speakers' bureaus contend that the former presidential candidate remains viable as a well-paid speaker.

Posted: 12/08/2011 03:58 PM EST
Herman Cain

Although Herman Cain has suspended his presidential campaign, his long-term prospects as a highly-paid spokesman for the Republican right remain bright, according to a number of political analysts and officials of speakers bureaus.

“I believe that Herman Cain will remain viable in the same way that Sarah Palin has been able to remain viable,” said Tiffany Raspberry, president of YorkGroup Associates, a political consulting firm based in Manhattan.

“He can certainly be a commentator on political shows and give speeches all over the country,” Raspberry said. “He’s in a good position to remain a spokesman for the right, especially the far right. He’s likely to remain in that position because, as an African-American who is conservative, he continues to fill a void that exists within the Republican Party.”

Cain suspended his campaign for president last week, after a series of allegations of sexual harassment and a long-term affair rocked his campaign. Cain has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Mark Castel, president of the Boston-based AEI Speakers Bureau, said that Cain had regularly received upwards of $25,000 a speech before his presidential campaign and that the former Republican candidate could continue or exceed that level, so long as the public is forgiving in its assessment of Cain.

“You have to remember that Herman Cain was already a successful speaker before he ran for president, with his story of success at Godfather’s Pizza and running the National Restaurant Association,” Castel said. 

“Would he be able to make as much now as he did before? Quite possibly. The public’s memory can be quite short. And in terms of the public’s view of the controversies, it’s pretty much a matter of this, too, shall pass.”

Castel added that Cain’s financial prospects as a speaker would be greatly enhanced if he managed to acquire a position as a commentator on a major television network, much in the way of Palin and Mike Huckabee.

Hasan Kwame Jeffries, an associate professor of history and political science at Ohio State University, said that Cain is likely to reemerge on the lecture circuit within six months or so. However, Jeffries predicted that the former candidate is unlikely to gain much additional support from African-Americans.

“Cain stands to do well as a potential commentator on television or being a speaker at gatherings of politically conservative audiences,” Jeffries said.

“But there is nothing that particularly endears him to the black community or the progressive community. He’s a part of the political right wing. And while [there] may be higher visibility for him by groups like the Tea Party and others on that end of the political spectrum, his support is not likely to come from African-Americans.”


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