Neil Sinhababu has this one right, if Herman Cain is wondering who’s leaking negative stories about him to the press the answer is almost certainly “Rick Perry supporters” rather than “liberals.”
I think the way to look at the GOP primary at this point is this. Mitt Romney is ideological unacceptable to a large swathe of influential Republican Party actors, but Herman Cain is clearly unacceptable as the standard-bearer for a political party that is very likely to win a presidential election in 2012 unless they do something bizarre. Consequently, if it ends up being the case that Romney is the only viable alternative to Cain, then Romney wins. But if it ends up being that Perry is the only viable alternative to Romney, then Perry still has a very good chance notwithstanding a thus-far-underwhelming campaign. But either way, Perry desperately needs to get into an “it’s me or it’s Mitt” race, and the infatuation of certain segments of the mass electorate with Cain is muddying the waters in a way that’s very unhelpful to his cause.