UNITED STATES: by Joseph PoprzecznyNews Weekly
New Republican candidate for the White House
, October 15, 2011
When Herman Cain threw his hat into the ring in May for next year’s US presidential election, most assumed he was just another soon-to-drop-out hopeful. However, that early conclusion is now being reassessed.
It is now dawning on the pundits that Cain could sweep the Republicans back into the White House.
Herman Cain is the biggest gust of fresh air to have swept America’s conservative political scene since Ronald Reagan declared his candidacy in November 1979. And what’s more, Cain’s eloquence is increasingly being seen as on a par with the Great Communicator’s.
As the 2010 presidential primaries approach, Herman Cain is increasingly shaping up as a winner.
The Democrats are expected to renominate Barack Obama. However, this isn’t a foregone conclusion because of his dismal record in managing the US economy and his poor polling.
Some have considered replacing him with a more credible candidate, such as current Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
But who is Herman Cain?
Cain, who refuses to wear on his sleeve the fact that he’s black, has a highly successful business background, and is a noteworthy columnist, author and radio host in Georgia. He holds a mathematics master’s degree and was a navy ballistics expert.
After military service he joined the Coca-Cola Company as an analyst, then became manager of one of Pillsbury’s subsidiaries, Burger King, and later headed another of its divisions, the Godfather’s Pizza chain. Cain transformed both the latter into profitable operations.
He and a group of investors would acquire Godfather’s Pizza in 1988, where he remained CEO until 1996, after which he became chairman of the National Restaurant Association. At this time he served a term as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
Cain currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and serves as an associate minister at his Baptist Church.
Last month he surprised pundits by winning the Republican presidential straw poll in Florida, beating favourite, Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Independent commentator Kyle-Anne Shiver said: “The first time I heard Herman Cain refer to himself as ‘the dark-horse candidate’, I knew that man had the kind of character and wisdom which smart people look for when picking a leader.
“Cain has risen so far above the superficiality of racialist, skin-colour thinking that he makes those who pander to it or run from it look like a bunch of kindergarteners hurling spitballs.
“Yes, until this weekend, Herman Cain was a dark-horse candidate, given very little chance of winning the nomination by everyone who is anyone.
“Well, that was then and this is now. Not even Herman Cain can call himself a dark-horse candidate after Florida’s Presidency 5 vote, where Herman pulled in the winning 37 per cent of Republican Party activists to Perry’s dismal 15 per cent and Romney’s even worse 14 per cent.”
In Cain’s just-released book, This is Herman Cain: My Journey to the White House (New York: Threshold Editions, 2011), chapter 12 is entitled, “The Cain Administration: The First Ninety Days” and carries the following passage:
“As in every executive position I’ve ever undertaken, I will determine the parameters of my activities. And while I respect those who have served before me, I will not follow in their footsteps. I will create new footsteps.
“I will reduce the number of protocol-oriented events that presidents are seemingly required to attend. At a time of deepening national crisis, I simply cannot afford to allocate valuable time to things that do not advance solutions to this nation’s problems. That’s why I have decided to sharply decrease the number of inaugural night balls.
“Instead, Mrs Cain and I will host a series of celebratory occasions, and they will be spread out during my first months in office.
“My guest lists for state dinners and other important occasions will be light on A-list celebrities and heavy on normal Americans who work each day to restore our nation to greatness. And unlike the practice of certain previous administrations, there will be no ‘paying’ guests staying in the Lincoln Bedroom.
“Once each month I plan to invite small groups of average citizens to join me for dinner and conversation. As someone who will have to spend most of my working hours in Washington, these events will make it possible for me to take the nation’s pulse on the pressing issues, as well as to stay connected to the people.”
In interviews Cain stresses he’s fallible: “I don’t claim to know everything.” He pledges to assess all issues on merit, and adds: “I don’t pander to groups.”
And he’s set to be disliked by America’s powerful leftist establishments, including in the media. “I am terrible at political correctness,” he says.
The Cain campaign is being built around an unprecedented tax reform which he’s called Herman Cain “999 Plan”, to be implemented in two stages.
It seeks to achieve the broadest possible tax base along with the lowest possible taxing rate of just 9 per cent. He says: “It ends the payroll tax completely — a permanent holiday — includes zero capital gains tax; ends the death tax; and eliminates double taxation of dividends.”
Businesses and income-earners will pay a flat 9 per cent tax on their earnings. And there’ll to be a 9 per cent national sales tax.
On the question of how America’s black voters will respond to a black Republican, Cain says he’s optimist, although, as he has told CNN, he believes he starts with a disadvantage in appealing to the African-American community, because it has been largely brainwashed by left-liberal Democratic politics.
However, he adds: “Now, the good news is I happen to believe that a third to 50 per cent of the black Americans in this country, they are open-minded.
“I meet them every day. They stop me in the airport. And so this whole notion that all black Americans are necessarily going to stay and vote Democrat and vote for Obama, that’s simply not true. More and more black Americans are thinking for themselves. And that’s a good thing.”
Cain claims he is making inroads into the black vote and believes that if he becomes the Republican nominee, a substantial number of African-Americans would vote for him.
“I do believe a third (of African-Americans) would vote for me, based upon my own anecdotal feedback,” he says.
“Now, they won’t be voting for me because I’m black they’ll be voting for me because of my policies.”
Joseph Poprzeczny is a Perth-based historian and writer.
Herman Cain, This is Herman Cain: My Journey to the White House (New York: Threshold Editions, 2011).
Kyle-Anne Shiver, “Herman Cain sheds dark-horse status in crucial Florida”, Pajamas Media, September 25, 2011.
Roger L. Simon, book review of This is Herman Cain, Pajamas Media, September 28, 2011.