By Dick Morris on September 26, 2011

Insiders and political pros never recognize a superstar when they see one. Herman Cain is just such a star. Now that Rick Perry has been unmasked as a weak debater and an even weaker opponent of illegal immigration, conservatives are turning their lonely eyes to Cain. A stellar debate performance on Fox News led to a smashing victory in the President5 straw poll in Florida and a strong third place finish — behind Romney and Perry — in the Michigan straw poll. Both Michigan and Florida are likely among the seven states that will hold primaries or caucuses in February (and they are the two biggest of the seven).

Here is a man who offers an alternative to Obama’s class warfare. His life story shows that Obama’s route to the top — through affirmative action, community organizing, and a climb up the political ladder — is not the only one available to minorities. His combination of hard work in the private sector, entrepreneurial initiative, and managerial skill can also get you there. He embraces the successful as role models not as objects of envy. He does not hate rich people. He wants us all to become rich.

In a sense, Cain’s rise and Mitt Romney’s are parallel trajectories. Each has based his appeal on the idea that life in the private sector is better than a career in government service to equip one to solve America’s economic problems. Both say that their hands on experience at job creation qualify them to be president in a way that Perry’s lifelong political immersion does not.

Now, as Perry fades and Romney rises, Herman Cain is on the cusp of front tier status in the Republican nominating contest.

Cain has a grip on the Tea Party grassroots. No matter how diligently the establishment tries to ignore him, he keeps popping up, impelled by his charisma, oratory, issue positions, and broad based appeal.

See my interview with Herman in today’s Lunch Alert! — Click Here!

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