Now, it's Herman Cain's turn in the barrel

Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain (Reuters)

The last sound after the end of the world may well be Herman Cain’s inexhaustible voice, touting his “9-9-9” plan.

He grabbed the microphone at Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate and never let go, even during commercial breaks, taking advantage of his status as the latest conservative favorite to challenge Mitt Romney for frontrunner status.

Scrapping the tax code in favor of a 9 percent corporate and personal income tax, plus a 9 percent federal sales tax, is just the bold step needed to resuscitate the economy, Cain argued.

The phrase is destined to join the roster of memorable debate lines, such as “There you go again” (Reagan) in 1980; “Where’s the beef?” (Mondale) in 1984; and Al Gore’s Social Security “lockbox” from 2000.

So trivia buffs in 2025 will be able to recall Cain, at least. Now that the former pizza executive has surged to second place in the polls, he’s going to get plenty more scrutiny – and that examination will determine whether he will get the chance to be remembered as something more than a Jeopardy question: A Republican nominee, or even president.