I try not to get too political on Freethunk, but I am wondering out loud about Herman Cain and I’m sure I’m going to upset people with my thoughts. Cain, if you’ve had your head in the sand, is running for the Republican presidential nomination and has recently been seen in the Jim DeMint Forum in South Carolina and in the Republican Debate aired on MSNBC. I watched them both and noticed that the hype was all about Rick Perry (who didn’t even get to attend the DeMint Forum because of Texas wildfires) with Mitt Romney coming in a close second and yet here was an intelligent moderate that had actual ideas. You may not agree with Herman Cain on his solutions, but he didn’t seem to be pushing tired platitudes and doubletalk. In addition, he spoke with more passion than the other candidates with maybe the exception of Ron Paul.
Now maybe that’s just my subjective observation, but I’m thinking, “Why not Herman Cain?” for the Republican nomination? Liberals will object to calling him a moderate, but unless he’s hiding something every answer he gave was what I would expect a moderate Republican to say. What surprised me about the debate, and maybe I missed a certain moment by making a run to the kitchen, was the lack of enthusiasm for this candidate. He had a few moments but the focus kept coming back to Mitt and Rick.
Cain did get a better reaction within the DeMint forum, but I still came away feeling like, let’s face it, that he was the token black guy. And is that what’s going on? I’m not saying Republicans are racist, what I’m wondering is if they are having trouble identifying with a black guy? Because Cain has all the qualifications Republicans are looking for. Per Wiki, his mother was a cleaner (I assume they mean maid) and his father was a chauffer so he came from humble beginnings. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in mathematics and a Master of Science (computer science) and worked in ballistics in the Navy. He then worked his way up in business until he was CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and turned it around so it was profitable again. Lastly, the man serves as an associate minister at Antioch Baptist Church–which doesn’t impress me as an atheist, but what about conservative Christians?
So here you have a candidate with a background in science and math, the military, and religion. And to top it off, Cain was instrumental in blocking Clinton healthcare reform in the nineties. Why aren’t Tea Partiers clamoring for this guy? Or why not average Republicans? I guess I must be missing something. He seems to me a guy who started with next to nothing and worked his way up, an example of the American dream. Sure, I bet it wasn’t as simple as all that, but he didn’t have success handed to him or inherit a fortune.
Wouldn’t it be insanely cool to see a black Republican run against a black Democrat? Alright, we have to judge a man by his character and not by his skin color, but I’m proposing that Cain shows more intelligence than the candidates getting attention like Bachmann and Perry. Is this the media’s fault? Or is this the Republican base? Previously Alan Keyes was ignored (another black Republican) and so is it just a building up of acceptance for black Republicans in general? Remember that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson both made democratic bids that went nowhere, however, eventually Obama came along with the right amount of charisma and a message people liked. Was the stage set for Obama to take the nomination as a result of Sharpton and Jackson?
I’m probably still voting for Obama in order to avoid the fusion of religion and capitalism that the Tea Party is pushing these days, but Cain (and Ron Paul for that matter) would give me pause. I can’t fully agree with any political party so I know I will find fault with him on several issues (anti-abortion being one), but I can find fault with Obama too. I guess what disappoints me is that Republicans should pick the best man or woman for the job and I think Cain should be amongst the top three choices instead of all the hype over less sensible candidates or candidates that just say what they think what the base wants to hear.
Oh well. You know who will probably be the candidate is Mitt Romney just because he will let the hype burn out his competition. It will be interesting to see Christian conservatives back a Mormon. Where I grew up as a conservative Christian kid, Mormonism was a cult plain and simple and conservative Christians wanted nothing to do with a leader with ties to the Mormon church. So even there, Christian Republicans will choose a white Mormon versus a black Christian Baptist. Very interesting… No offense intended, I’m just thinking out loud.
SIDENOTE: I did find Tea Party support for Herman Cain in the Georgia Straw Poll in this blog report from August, though Cain is a Georgian native. Maybe he lost momentum. Too bad.