Herman Cain's Metrodome moment

Herman Cain: This is the Metrodome!
Herman Cain: This is the Metrodome!

Herman Cain is suddenly, remarkably ascendant in the Republican Party. That the Godfather's Pizza guy has shot to the top of the pop charts may say more about his competition -- including Michele, our belle -- than about Cain's own viability as the guy with the nuclear codes. But for now, Cain is still forcing America to consider the image of a liberal black president answering the door of the White House, only to find a conservative black pizza delivery guy who's got a large order of pepperoni, mushrooms, and tax cuts for the wealthy.

So! While we've got Cain on the brain, let's do a bit of learning. For example, Cain spent some time around these very parts when he was a big muckety-muck executive at Pillsbury Company.

In fact, one of the defining moments of Herman Cain, as told in Cain's new campaign book, happened right here in our fair city. It turns out, as Minneapolis was watching the Metrodome's original collapse in 1981, Herman Cain was thinking about something much more important: Herman Cain!

(It should be pointed out that City Pages is pretty much obligated to use surprising punctuation after Herman Cain's! name, because the man is so exciting and weird that you just feel like mixing it up. Herman Cain?)

Last year's collapse of the Metrodome was God's endorsement of Herman Cain.
Last year's collapse of the Metrodome was God's endorsement of Herman Cain.

Cain's remarkable moment of vanity, as highlighted by New York Times columnist Gail Collins on Saturday, deserves to be pushed further into the American consciousness, until voters look at Herman Cain and wonder, "Wait, is that the guy who thought he was the Metrodome?"

Here, via Cain's amazing new autobiography, "This is Herman Cain!" (subtitle: And Other Useless Exclamations!) is the relevant passage in its entirety:

"After the headquarters project turned out successfully, I was once again bored. Life was good -- Gloria and I were healthy; we now had a daughter and a son; we lived in a nice home; we had even started taking vacations, which we had never done much earlier in my career. I was even singing in the church choir and recording with a Minneapolis gospel singing group. But my motivation had collapsed.

I was sitting in my new office on the thirty-first floor of the World Headquarters one day when I looked out the window and saw that the inflatable dome of the new Minneapolis stadium had collapsed.

Oh, hey! Teacher, I know this one! The Metrodome collapse was a symbol of urban blight, a failed monument to public spending -- a lesson in flawed structure. Something like that, right Herman?

I realized, as I sat there, staring out the window, that what had kept me happy and motivated was the excitement, challenge, and risk of the past few years.

Oh. So instead, the 1981 collapse of the Metrodome was actually about how Herman Cain had gotten bored with biscuits, and needed to move on to his life's work: Pizza... and, when he gets around to it, saving America from its own liberal tendencies. And, of course, Muslims.

Cain's book doesn't include a passage about the most recent spectacular collapse of the Metrodome, but we can assume that that, too, was about Herman Cain. Also about Herman Cain was the I-35W bridge collapse, the fall 2010 flooding of St. Paul, and the astonishing meltdown of the Minnesota Vikings' 1998 season. 

Herman Cain is the Metrodome, and he feels the Metrodome's fate in a way you cannot imagine. Whatever happens to that hideous, decades-outdated piece of cement, happens deep inside Herman Cain -- who wants you to think, whenever you cast your eyes upon the Metrodome, "This is Herman Cain!"

In a related note, Herman Cain lost to the Chicago Bears 39-10 last night.

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