Thursday, June 23, 2011

Herman Cain...Where do I start?

I have thought of writing something about GOP Presidential hopeful Herman Cain in the past but decided against it..

But today one of the members of the Facebook group I administer brought up the idea of Herman Cain being having a real chance of winning the GOP nomination and it started a conversation that has encouraged me to finally write a piece on Mr. Cain.

Now I will be the first to admit that my first impression of Herman Cain was a good one. He struck me as charismatic and very confident in himself, generally considered to be good things in any politician and especially in those who wish to win the highest office in the land. However, as first impressions normally go, it was premature.

And that change of opinion was pretty abrupt.

Firstly, like many less serious Presidential contenders, Mr. Cain is quite vague when it comes to policy specifics and like many Presidential candidates is a bit clueless on certain issues. The first area of problems Mr. Cain has to deal with is foreign policy.

Now on the issue of Afghanistan, Mr. Cain in the past freely admitted he didn't know enough about the conflict to have a proper opinion and I give him credit for that since most politicians simply choose to speak out of their asses.

Sometime later, he was asked by Fox News host Chris Wallace about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which was in the news at the time. Specifically he asked Herman Cain about the the issue of the Palestinians claim of a "Right to Return", which for those who don't know is the idea that the descendants of the Palestinian Arab refugees who fled what was the British Mandate of Palestine after Israel declared Independence and the armies of the neighboring Arab nations invaded should be allowed to return to their former lands, which are largely now in what is the State of Israel. For fairly obvious reasons, the now nearly 5 million Palestinian refugees are not welcomed by the Israelis because should they all be allowed to return Israel will cease to be a "Jewish State".

Herman Cain at first seemed admittedly clueless about what the "Right of Return" was and that is fair and many Americans probably don't much about the conflict other than what they hear about in the news. But then Chris Wallace gave Herman Cain a brief description of the issue (as I just did) and Mr. Cain's response was as follows: “I don’t think they have a big problem with people returning,”. Now as he did with Afghanistan, Mr. Cain probably should have just said he wasn't sure but he didn't. Now that alone is not all that damning, as I said many Presidential contenders know very little of foreign policy but I do give Herman Cain credit for not talking out of his ass on things he clearly knows next to nothing about.

The second issue Herman Cain has run into is the issue of the debt and economics in general. Now this is a real problem for Herman Cain because he is using his background as the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza as a major element of his candidacy. However, recently he went on the O'Reilly Factor and discussed how to possibly end the current debt crisis here in the US that is threatening to destroy our economy..and lets just say it didn't go well.

Now as my readers know I am not normally a huge fan of Mr. O'Reilly though I do enjoy his show from time to time, but when Bill O'Reilly schools you on the very basics of government finances and does so very convincingly as he did with Herman Cain, you've got a seriously problem. This is largely because "Bill-O" is not only seen as a major conservative voice out there, his audience is made up of not just Republicans but also independents and as such ALOT of Americans probably watched that interview and wondered, "Does this guy have a clue?" And that's a very good question and one Herman Cain is going to struggle with for the next year or so (assuming his candidacy lasts that long) and if he can't convince Bill-O he knows what he is talking about and is qualified for the highest office in the land, then good luck winning the GOP nomination let alone the General election.

And finally, Herman Cain seems to have any issue with people asking and poking fun of public statements he has made during the campaign. At a campaign stop here in my home state of Iowa (in the town of Pella more specifically), Herman Cain made a comment that Congress shouldn't pass bills that are thousands of pages and promised that as President he wouldn't sign any bill over 3 pages long. And ever since he made that comment, the media and comedians alike have had a fair share of fun with the statement. Mr. Cain in turn called these reporters "stupid" for taking what he said seriously. I personally have watched a video of that speech and to me it does seem Mr. Cain was simply trying to make a point about overly lengthy congressional bills and such anyone who honestly though he was serious is in my mind an idiot.

However, comedians are another matter. Since I think Mr. Cain was just joking, it makes good sense that comedians to have a little fun with his statements. As such, Jon Stewart poked fun at his statement and did so in a manner that to some may have been seen as a bit risky. Apparently so much so that Herman Cain called Jon Stewart's jokes "racist" and claimed it was because he is something of a rarity in American politics, an American Black Conservative. Now for anyone who watches Jon Stewart's show, accusing him of making racist remarks are pretty unfounded and just shows that Herman Cain either has no sense of humor or just doesn't watch Jon Stewart's show very often. And for Herman Cain to pull the race card so early in the campaign in a situation that is quite clearly not so..

As such, my overall opinion of Herman Cain is that while very charismatic, he seems to lacking in the areas that are truly vital in this next election: Foreign policy and the economy. Personally, I find him to be the political opposite of Tim Pawlenty. Mr. Pawlently is often the butt of many jokes because of his lack of charisma but is recognized as being pretty well versed in the most the major issues of the day including the economy. Funny enough, in the short term Herman Cain will get more headlines than Mr. Pawlenty because of his charisma and his occasional gaffes, but Pawlenty will likely survive longer in the GOP primaries because of his knowledge of the issues...Or at least that's the traditional political thinking.

All of these problems are seemingly adding up and Mr. Cain is likely going to have a rough road this Presidential season and I personally don't see him as having much of a chance of winning th nomination and to me that is a good thing because while the man has charisma, this election we need a man who knows the issues and Herman Cain just doesn't seem to have a clue.

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