Edit: Damn it.
A friend writes:
“9/9/9, even under the best of circumstances, is a sucker’s bet for a President to take. He basically just signed on as endorsing a national sales tax on top of income tax. What else might seem like a good idea that’s actually a smart, savvy legislature taking advantage of his inexperience? I think one might make the case that he’s likely to allow congress to write most of the legislation, since he’s had no experience…”
Why the assumption that a 40-year business executive with a stellar record of hard accomplishments will be less “savvy” than a bunch of yokels sent to Congress by their local party machines because they had good hair? I’m surprised and dismayed by the persistent underlying assumption–especially among free-market conservatives, who should know better–that succeeding in the unforgiving meritocracy of the market is somehow less of an accomplishment than being a politician.
This is something like Stockholm Syndrome. We’re never going to change anything if we can’t see through politicians’ insistence that they are terribly, terribly special and necessary. Cain is one of us, asking if we’d like him to go to DC to kick some serious ass on our behalf.
- Came from relative poverty, so no leg up from the start. Still, credits America and the free market for his opportunities. A powerful message from a powerful messenger.
- B.A. in Mathematics
- Masters in Computer Science
- Simultaneous with college, worked full-time in ballistics for the Navy (he’s a rocket scientist)
- In 1979, published in operations research academic journal (operations research=mathematical science applied to use of technology by organizations)
- Rose from computer systems analyst at Coca-Cola to Director of Business Analysis (IT executive) for Pillsbury by age 35.
- At 36, handed 400-store region of Burger King, its least profitable. Three years later, it was BK’s most profitable region. Pillsbury then-president: “He was an excellent bet. Herman always seemed to have his act together.”
- In 1986, at age 41, appointed President and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. Turned it profitable in just 14 months by cutting from 911 to 420 stores. (God forbid somebody like that is put in charge of the Federal Government!) Became CEO and co-owner in a leveraged buyout in 1988, and remained CEO until 1996.
- Credited by Bob Cohn of Newsweek in 1994 as one of the main saboteurs of Hillarycare, when he told Bill Clinton in a televised town hall that his calculations were inaccurate, visibly flustering Clinton (an exceptionally talented politician known for his smooth, controlled presentation)
- In 1996, became CEO of National Restaurant Association, a lobbying group. (Executive experience in a political body.)
- Member of board of directors of Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City from 1992-1996. Chairman from January 1995 to August 1996. (Again, executive political experience.)
- Senior economic adviser to 1996 Dole/Kemp campaign
- 1996 recipient of Horatio Alger Award. On Boards of Directors for various major American corporations (Nabisco, Whirlpool, et al).
- In 2006, beat Stage 4 colon cancer that had metastasized to his liver, despite being given a 30% chance of survival
- Fox Business commentator
- Syndicated op-ed columnist
- A successful political talk show, The Herman Cain Show, on WSB Atlanta, a massive major-market 50,000 watt clear-channel station heard throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Signature issues: strong national defense, the Fair Tax, tax cuts, capping gov’t spending, energy independence, and Social Security reform. (Having a talk show means that his political views have all been publicly articulated to the nth degree.)
- Spoke to over 40 Tea Party rallies in 2010, hitting all early presidential states
- Author of five books on leadership and motivation
- 43-year marriage
- Baptist minister and gospel vocalist
- Recipient of eight honorary degrees
- Massively charismatic and paternal in a not-weird way (very appealing, especially to women)
- Told the Wall Street protesters to go fuck themselves, and then didn’t back down from his statement
- Said African-Americans were brainwashed into being Democrats, and then didn’t back down from his statement
- Answers questions in a manner approximating that of an actual human being
- Is twice as black as Barack Obama*
And he’s not qualified because he’s never been a governor?
You guys have got to be shitting me. You should be shouting hosanna that Cain is even in the race, and all I’m hearing is nitpicking that he is somehow less fit to be President than…who? Mitt Romney? Rick Perry?
Both Romney and Perry and good guys, and they both pass the beer test with flying colors. BUT: both had fathers who were politicians. Can you say “spending a life making daddy happy”? These guys want to be president because, in their minds, political office is prestigious–if not entirely, then in large part. The point is, they have compelling personal reasons to run, which casts strong doubts on their philosophical/intellectual commitment–doubts which are amply confirmed by their official record.
Romney is the sixth generation of an political dynasty reaching back to the early 19th century, and was essentially groomed for this. That doesn’t disqualify him, but it does mean that his reasons for running are far less compelling than Cain’s. He grew up in privilege as the wealthy son of an auto executive and governor, a notable moderate Republican (i.e. RINO) whose notable accomplishments on the national scene were undermining Barry Goldwater for being “extremist,” losing the 1968 Republican nomination to a pale and sweating Richard Nixon, and expanding shitty, unworkable welfare and public housing programs with “missionary zeal” as Nixon’s HUD Secretary. I’ll credit Mitt with being a stellar businessman, but his father’s textbook well-meaning-but-horribly-misguided liberalism casts a disturbing light on Romney’s own policy initiatives, such as Romneycare. The question can fairly be asked: Does Romney view government office as a means to advance the “charity” agendas of both his church and his father? His governorship of Massachusetts and staunch defense of Romneycare is more likely the product of a methodical, lifelong ethos than that of a fluke.
Perry’s father was also a politician, though not as prominent a politician as Romney’s father, and I think it raises the same question: Is Perry running because he has something special to offer, or simply because little boys emulate their fathers? Perry graduated with a B.S. in animal husbandry and a 2.5 GPA. Notably, while Cain was helping to kill Hillarycare in 1993, Perry was supporting it, calling it “most commendable”. His retrospective explanation in 2005 was that he was only trying to get Clinton to pay more attention to rural health care (which is a transparently lame excuse). Obviously, he supported it because nobody had yet told him that this particular benevolent-sounding effort was actually an advanced form of socialism, and therefore philosophically incompatible with American conservatism. He shouldn’t have to be told that. For most of the 2000′s, Perry refused to pledge not to raise taxes, and public debt in Texas has more than doubled under his watch. He also signed legislation to create a $435 million fund to give grants to businesses, aka taxing the public and giving the proceeds to your campaign contributors. Terrible. He’s good on some things, but weak on others. I suspect that he’s well-meaning and has a conservative disposition, but is probably not all that smart, and relies on superficial signifiers rather than underlying principles when determining his positions, which is probably why he gets it wrong half the time (and why he comes across as 61 going on 25).
If you guys think Cain is less qualified than these two on the merits, then you’re smoking crack. And if you think he’s qualified but an electoral long-shot, then you’re irresponsibly feeding a false narrative. He is performing excellently in the polls, and the enthusiasm is driven by his record and presentation, not the novelty of an election season kickoff (Bachmann) or newly-announced candidate (Trump). Besides, our civic duty isn’t to amass a stellar track record at predicting races. Our duty is to get the best candidate into office, and you don’t do that by discouraging everybody into accepting the totally fucked status quo that got us into this horrible, horrible mess. Quit worrying about making restrospectively correct predictions, and start worrying about saving the country. And, right now at least, our best shot to that end is Herman “Here I Am, Rock Me Like a Herman Cain” Cain.
Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
*Not a qualification per se, but presents a huge problem for race-baiting Democrats, which both enhances our chances at victory and will be massively entertaining to watch