Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain likes to quote movies. And not just any movies, but movies based on cartoon franchises. As reported by our sister blog, AnimeJihad, Cain quoted a song from Pokémon: The Movie 2000 during a debate last August. As any political analyst could tell you, it was a brazen dog whistle for the highly-coveted otaku crowd (a move popularized by Lee Atwater’s so-called “Shounen Strategy”). Which apparently worked, because he soon shot up to frontrunner status.
Well now the Cainster is at it again. During a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Cain wheeled out his new talking point, telling his supporters “We need a leader, not a reader.”
Once your mind is done reeling from the fact that a presidential hopeful just championed voluntary illiteracy as an asset in leadership, you might recall that line appearing in 2007’s The Simpsons Movie and pretty much every trailer thereof. In case you’ve forgotten everything about that movie aside from SpiderPig, here’s the scene: EPA administrator Russ Cargill presents President Arnold Schwarzenegger with “five unthinkable options” for the containment of Springfield. Schwarzenegger instantly decides on option 3, leading Cargill to ask “You don’t even want to read them first?” Schwarzenegger boldly declares “I was elected to lead, not to read.” (You can see it for yourself on YouTube, until the lawyers find out.)
It appears Herman Cain is basing his electoral strategy on “unknowingly” reciting Simpsons quotes, with all the irony sucked out, in the hopes that America’s love for The Simpsons will subconsciously make us gravitate to him. It’s a bold move, perhaps unprecedented. If he starts talking about his boyhood dream of becoming a baseball and twirling towards freedom, then it’s time to start worrying.