Who’s surprised by Herman Cain’s rise in the polls? Herman Cain.

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It’s official. Or at least as official as four polls can be.

Herman Cain, Atlanta’s very own pizza CEO/lobbyist/singer/talk radio host has risen from joke candidate to front-runner for the 2012 GOP Presidential nomination in about two months. The RealClearPolitics.com average of polls now has Cain at 25 percent and Mitt Romney at 24.3 percent. In distant third place and fading fast is Texas Governor Rick Perry, whose hyped candidacy has yet to recover from Perry’s severe inability to hide from the public what a terrible candidate he is

How is it possible that a candidate who has never been elected to anything, displays no apparent serious interest in perennial policy issues (foreign or domestic), and has no meaningful campaign infrastructure in key early states is the current GOP favorite to battle President Obama next fall?

I don’t know. Luckily, there’s no shame in not knowing—especially not in this instance. After all, it seems clear Herman Cain himself doesn’t know how he got here. For pizza’s sake, the man scheduled a major book tour in the middle of the campaign. Is that the act of a man who believed he’d even be in contention, much less ahead of Romney and Perry, this late in 2011?

Between now and the end his campaign (whenever that may be), I’ve been tasked with blogging about Cain’s candidacy for Atlanta magazine. I can’t imagine Cain’s candidacy is going to last through the end of January. Then again, I also predicted no one would buy the iPad, so my ability to imagine the future is limited.

Speaking of imagination:

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