(photo: Stewart Smith)

So, let’s see… where did I leave off when I last posted here, two weeks ago?  Oh, yeah, something about how the short-lived front-runner status of GOP presidential wannabes like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry demonstrated that “there’s something inherent about Republican party politics that makes being new and untested a plus and sustained public exposure a problem.”

But even then, you could have won every penny of my vast corporate financial holdings if you’d bet me that Herman Cain would be the new polling leader in less than 14 days.  Like most people, I underestimated the savviness of Cain’s strategic choice to fly under the radar by coming across as a joke candidate.

In fact, after some observers were fooled by Bachmann’s rise and even more (including myself, to be honest) by that of Perry, there’s an understandable reluctance to take Cain all that seriously yet–especially given his lagging fundraising and organizational strength, not to mention the tentative nature of his poll numbers.

So, I’m willing to accept in advance the notion that Cain will wither under increasing scrutiny from the media and attempts at character assassination by his rivals.  I’m just wondering, though, how unsubtle the latter will be.  How inventive (or not) will Perry, Bachmann, and Mitt Romney be in pointing out to the (ahem) less-than-diverse GOP base that Cain is a… well… I mean, you know… hey, just look at him, okay?!

Are they going to have to start juxtaposing his picture in ads with blonde women before the rabble gets the message?  And if so, how blatantly?   The longer Cain stays on top in the pre-primary polls, the more you can bet on things getting ugly.