Herman Cain is not fit to become our country’s next president.
Yet, he now is “The Great
Black Hope,” in a life-does-not-imitate-art ironic twist. Let me explain. In the 1970 movie The Great White Hope James Earl Jones plays the role of a black boxing champion who faces opposition from a white boxing establishment that wants to defeat him. Today, in real-life America, this black presidential candidate has been embraced by a white-majority GOP electorate (according to various new polls, he is now the most popular Republican presidential candidate) through his ultra conservative policy proposals which he packages in simplistic, catchy terms. For instance, he calls himself an ABC: American black conservative. His 9-9-9 plan sounds more like a pizza special from his days as Godfather’s Pizza CEO than like a plan for overhauling the federal tax system.
Unsurprisingly, the plan (much like pizza-chain pizza) sounds good, but when you get your teeth into it you realize it’s just junk. This must be due to the fact that Rich Lowrie, who Cain calls “my lead economist,” helped develop the plan. Lowrie is not an economist, and only holds a Bachelor’s degree in accounting. Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post reports, “…while on paper Cain is promising a tax cut, in reality tens of millions of lower-income Americans would face tax increases. People in high tax brackets — 28 percent and higher — would likely see big tax cuts…” The Daily Beast explains that, “His ‘9-9-9’ plan would shift the tax burden so that 30 million Americans who currently make too little to pay any taxes at all would suddenly find themselves owing Uncle Sam.” But Cain defends this by stating, “How do you define poor? I define poor [as] you have no money to eat and you have no shelter. That’s poor.” In other words, in Cain’s world, you have to be homeless and lining up at a soup kitchen in order to be considered poor. He makes George W. Bush, with his compassionate conservatism, look like Mother Teresa.
Despite obvious shortcomings, Cain is riding high in the polls. Does Cain have a real chance at the GOP presidential nomination, or is he just having his 15 minutes of fame, much as Bachmann and Perry did not too long ago? Who knows? The Republican party is suffering from some kind of tea-induced, extreme right lunacy where anything is possible. In the meantime, we’ll have to watch the spectacle of a candidate who believes that his experience managing a pizza company qualifies him for the presidency of the world’s most powerful nation. Herman Cain likes to attribute his success to his spontaneity. He likes to say, “I think of this stuff as I go.” The bad news for him is that we can tell.