Cain’s moment.

On paper, Herman Cain does not belong in the top tier of Presidential candidates.

His first debate performances were unsteady. He has faced money challenges and still does. He’s had some staff turnover. He has had trouble building the kind of national infrastructure required of a top tier candidate. He doesn’t have near the staff or financial assets of Romney or Perry.

Yet he now leads the Republican field in one poll and is near the top in many others.

There are several lessons in this for those who are running for political office.

The most important of them is this–a good candidate with a powerful message will survive an inexperienced and challenged staff. The greatest staff in the world will not save a challenged candidate.

There has always been a market for the assets that Cain brings to the table—authenticity, a candidate comfortable in his own skin, one with some new and refreshing ideas, an outsider with an interesting narrative, a populist who can connect with people on Main Street, a speaker who can lift and inspire an audience and touch both head and heart.

In politics, if you are what the market is looking for, the market has a way of finding you. And being what that market is looking for is more important than any other commodity.

“He may only have a matter of days — or at most a few weeks — to turn his recent momentum into something more durable,” says Politico.

Maybe. Maybe not. As long as Cain doesn’t stumble and keeps his cool under the pressure of the white hot lights now on him, he’ll be in for the long haul. The money will find him. The talented political operatives will be lined up asking to come on board. The volunteers will appear and help make up for the organizational shortfalls of his young and inexperienced staff. The reason is Herman’s narrative and his message, the greatest assets any candidate for public office can have.
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