(Photo: Reuters / Hyungwon Kang)
Herman Cain was the only Republican presidential candidate at the former Fox News host Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Courage” rally in Israel this week, demonstrating his “courage” as well as resilience after a poor showing at the recent Ames Straw Poll.
The straw poll may have given Herman Cain the fifth rank, but his supporters are all praises for him for his presence at Wednesday’s event in Jerusalem’s Old City where Beck, a Mormon, urged Israelis and their allies to courageously face a world “adrift.”
“What a pleasure to see you standing for Israel in Jerusalem!” Beth Jones, a supporter, said on Herman Cain’s Facebook page where the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza posted pictures from Israel Thursday. “Our White House does not seem to fully understand the importance of having a friend in Israel, nice to see that you ‘get it,’” wrote another fan, Adam Dincher.
Unlike former Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who withdrew from the presidential campaign after finishing third in the Ames poll, Cain, a Christian minister, carries on, banking not only on his reputation as a businessman but also showcasing his commitment to a cause held dear by many conservative Christians.
Perhaps Cain needed to attend Beck’s event more than any other Republican candidate did. After his remarks in March that he would not appoint a Muslim to his cabinet if he became president because he doubted their commitment to the U.S. Constitution, Cain met with Muslim leaders and apologized. Some saw the apology as “embarrassingly abject,” such as conservative blogger Pamela Geller. She said in a column in WorldNetDaily it was “his lack of spine and political will and conviction.”
However, Cain’s support of Israel now portrays him as a tough man. While Cain did not speak at Beck’s event, his mere presence was a strong statement.
Four presidential candidates, a few senators and many congressmen were expected to attend the event but only Cain showed up.
Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) said the House Ethics Committee had asked members not to attend Beck’s event due to its political affiliation, according to CBS News. This prompted Beck to accuse House Speaker John Boehner of “playing politics” with Israel “in their hour of need.”
Cain had earlier told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that he wanted to attend the event to commend that country’s people for their courage. “What Israel had to endure in that part of the world is nothing short of courageous... As a citizen and as a president of the U.S., I will provide our support for Israel because they are our best friends in that part of the world, and I don’t want these relations to get weaker. I want them to get stronger.”
Cain also claimed that he had been “more direct about my support of Israel than any of the candidates,” referring to his statement, “If any other country messes with Israel, they are messing with the U.S.”
“That’s not politically correct language, it’s just the common sense language. I feel very strongly about my relationship with Israel. I listened to some of the Muslim leaders, but it didn’t change my perspective.”
Cain also told Haaretz that unlike President Barack Obama he was not going to “pander to the Muslim world.”
“I am not going to try to pacify Muslim countries in belief that it’s somehow going to change their attitude towards the U.S.”
It seems Cain is determined to remain in the media at least until the Feb. 6 Iowa Caucuses.