It is hard to imagine, even with the Republicans’ desperation, that Herman Cain (following Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannBoehner says he voted for Trump, didn't push back on election claims because he's retired Boehner: Trump 'stepped all over their loyalty' by lying to followers Boehner finally calls it as he sees it MORE) could have ever attracted so much support.

Is this some sort of suicide mission they are on? Have they totally lost their marbles that they would even consider someone like Cain, or Bachmann?

Forget the repeated sexual-harassment problems (though who can?). From the start of his campaign there has always been, for many of us, the larger question of why is he here, on stage to begin with?

The bigger issue is how could someone who acknowledges and even mocks his ignorance and inexperience in foreign policy be a serious candidate for president? Cain even compares it to his role as a pizza-man — he says he knew little about making pizzas but he learned; same thing with foreign policy!

And, my gosh, we all better worry about China getting nuclear weapons. Heaven forbid that should happen!

And, of course, there is the business of neoconservatives who drove the Iraq war bus over the cliff, whom he seems to not have heard of over the past decades.

Cain must have been on another planet for the past quarter-century.

The truly scary thing is that this telegenic man with his 9-9-9 plan (is it 9 pizzas, in 9 minutes, for $9?), is catapulted into the lead for the Republican nomination with so little substance, so little knowledge, so little experience.

In any normal political year, his candidacy would have been viewed as ludicrous from the very start. Not in 2011, when Republicans are hungry for a “none of the above” candidate.

But it also says something about the state of our politics where people are so cynical and so angry that they could be swayed by candidates such as Cain and Bachmann.  

What would have happened if the timing was right, if these sexual harassment allegations did not surface, if Cain’s rise was timed closer to the primaries, if he actually had managed to capture the right-wing electorate by storm and secure the nomination?

Ides of March, anyone? Scary.