In 2008, Barack Obama was a relatively unknown fringe candidate until he received a surprisingly good showing in the Iowa caucuses. From there, he used a glib tongue, a lot of funding, and a campaign light on specifics to catapult over a very strong Clinton candidacy.
The latest Iowa Caucus polls, although this contest is still an eternity away in political time, have Mitt Romney in the lead with Sarah Palin six points behind in second. Tied with her is Hermann Cain, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza who also once ran the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
Cain, according to pollsters, came from almost nowhere to challenge Romney's lead. He has almost no name recognition, but is outpolling Newt Gingrich and other GOP stalwarts. Cain is running on an economic conservative platform and has attracted support from many Tea Party groups. He has a sound record in business, rescuing Godfather's Pizza from bankruptcy.
Cain's success shows just how fluid the contest for the Republican nomination is at this point. Winning that prize will come down to conservative credentials. Who can demonstrate the strongest commitment to fiscal sanity and real changes in government that will reduce our debt? That is the man or woman who will win the nomination of the Republican Party. Cain has shot himself into a contending position, now can he mobilize enough supporters and funds to sustain his momentum?