Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why Herman Cain Could Actually Become President. Or (Prolly) Not.

I wrote this post prior to last night's GOP Debate, so it's entirely possible Herman Cain's reign on the top of the GOP field could be short like leprechauns. Then again, the fact that a black guy with zero elected government experience is even near the top of the GOP polls says something. But what exactly?

No need to lie, I find the guy, and his effect on Conservatives very intriguing. I like his boldness, unapologetic blackness, and willingness to speak his mind, no matter how stupid or hateful the thought. I guess that whole thing about 65 year old black men not having a "filter" applies to Cain.

Here's a handful of very random thoughts about the phenomenon that is (was?) Daddy Green Herman Cain...

Why's He Really On Top?!? - I think it's very possible Cain's just the flavor of the month. Period. Let's not forget, he was also toast of the town after the first GOP debate, then disappeared. He really hasn't been vetted at all yet, and his time as frontrunner has been so brief he has mostly flown under the media radar. This will obviously change soon. I can't help but think he's a "placeholder" of sorts for people who wanted Palin and Christie to run, and are momentarily off the Perry bandwagon. This, of course, can change, and probably will.

The Dreaded "Race Card" : Take I - Some will say Cain's ascent has much to do with him refusing to play the "race card", which isn't terribly different from Barack Obama's race-neutral approach in 2008. There's some truth to that, but honestly, Cain does play the card pretty frequently (see: "brainwashing", "Real black man", "Black Walnut", the "no Muslims" thing) if you really think about it. Of course, since it's usually played against liberals, it doesn't hurt him.

Colorful Character - No need to lie, with Miss Sarah and Big K.R.I.S. out of the running, I was a little worried about having good blog fodder for the next few months as this GOP candidate is chosen. Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry have basically ethered themselves already. Newt never even got off the ground. Romney and Huntsman are about as exciting as listening to NPR. Cain, by virtue of having perpetual verbal diarheaa is about the most bloggable guy left.

The Dreaded "Race Card" : Take II - The notable exception here was when Cain walked right into a "lamestream" media death trap and spoke out against Perry's infamous "N*ggerhead" sign. Rebuke from conservative pundits was swift and severe. Folks were incensed that Cain merely stated his offense at something, well, blatantly offensive. Cain quickly walked the comment back the next day before it could make the evening news cycle. Crisis diverted. I think that said basically all you need to know about the racial tolerance of conservatives in post-racial America.

He Isn't Really An "Outsider" - Cain frequently trumpets his status as a government outsider as an asset, and anti-government Tea Party voters seem to be eating it up. This is obvious ignorance since Cain once headed the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, briefly ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, and ran a losing Georgia U.S. Senate campaign in 2004. He once worked for the Navy as a civilian employee. He also served as CEO of the National Restaurant Association, which is essentially little more than a lobbying organization. He was publicly in favor of TARP. Dude has essentially either been a government employee or failed at trying to win government office for the past two decades. Not exactly an outsider.

The Dreaded "Race Card" : Take III - It's easy to dismiss Cain as attractive to conservatives because he doesn't "challenge" them on issues of race, and thus makes them feel better about themselves. But if we have to be honest, isn't that more of less what Obama's appeal was to liberals in 08'? And just as Cain's "N*ggerhead" dust up proved how tenuous a candidate's fortunes are when they talk about race, don't Obama's post Gates-gate approval ratings show liberals are equally queasy? It's something to think about.

Business Experience Doesn't Equal "Job Creation" - Yes, Cain ran a string of rib shacks Burger Kings, and spent a decade as CEO of Godfather's Pizza. But did you know Cain essentially "saved" Godfathers' by immediately closing more than half of its stores? When's the last time you saw a Godfather's, let alone ate at one? It's been a couple of decades for me. And Cain's main role in the "rescue" of Godfather's was from a marketing standpoint, not a financial one. Not exactly a record of "job creation".

Can't Hate This Guy - Yes, he says a lot of ignorant sh*t (or maybe he's right and I'm just "brainwashed") and his insistence that racism essentially doesn't exist anymore infuriates me. But Cain, for lots of reasons, doesn't annoy me nearly as much as your typical "woe is me" black conservative. He happens to be pretty affable, and, well, he looks just like my Grandaddy. You can't possibly hate on a guy who looks like your Grandaddy, can you? That's un-American.

He Can't Win. Period. - Sorry, you and I know this guy won't make it past Super Tuesday. He knows it as well, but everyday he's in double digits in the polls, that eventual Fox News weekend show host contract just gets fatter and fatter. That's his end game, and honestly, there's nothing wrong with that.

Question: How much do you really know about Herman Cain? Once media scrutiny over his record intensifies, do you think he will maintain his frontrunner status?

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