I love Herman Cain. He impresses me greatly, a true rags-to-riches story that is the essence of the American Dream. If Herman Cain gets the nomination, I will be thrilled to pull the lever for him.
But I’m not a Herman Cain guy.
Lest you consider those two statements contradictory, allow me to explain. The most important thing that can happen in the 2012 election is that we get Barack Obama out of the White House. And while I have people I like more, and people I like less, running on the Republican side of the ledger, there is nary a one of them that wouldn’t be a significant improvement over this President. Herman Cain could potentially be an outstanding president. He could also potentially find himself in way over his head, a la our current prez. But I reiterate: the most important thing that can happen in the 2012 election is that we get Barack Obama out of the White House.
With that in mind, let me give two reasons why I hope Herman Cain does not get the nomination. First, and fundamentally, I don’t believe that President of the United States is an entry-level position. OK, OK, I get it: we are sick of career politicians. Yep, so am I. But there is a fundamental difference in voting not to re-elect Representative Windbag for his 17th term, for that reason, and deciding to vote for a political neophyte for the most important and powerful political position in the entire world. Said another way, if Herman Cain were running for House of Representatives, governor of Georgia, even maybe United States Senate, maybe even Vice-President, his lack of experience in elective office could be a plus, a neutral at worst. But we’re not talking about any of those positions; we are talking about the one position that really calls for at least some level of experience as an elected official, some level of experience on the inside of government: the presidency. Now, does a neophyte like Cain win my vote over an “experienced” Obama? Yes, any day of the week and thrice on Sunday. But it doesn’t mean that it would be a wise thing for Republicans to nominate him.
Second, I don’t believe Herman Cain would actually win the presidency against Barack Obama. “What, Harvey, can’t you read the polls? Don’t you know that polls show that Cain would run at least even with the President, would according to some polls beat him? What do you mean you don’t believe he can win the presidency?” I will reiterate: I don’t believe he would win…and the most important thing that can happen in the 2012 election is that we get Barack Obama out of the White House. First, polls taken in October, more than a year from the election, are worthless. Worthless. They mean exactly nothing. Second, Herman Cain’s inexperience will prove to be his undoing. Like it or not–and I frankly don’t—we as Americans do not really like it when people speak frankly, say what’s on their mind, shoot from the hip. We may say we do, and viscerally, we actually may, but the media will seize upon any perceived “misstep” to create in our minds enough doubt about the sanity/suitability for office of a person making such “missteps” that the result at the polls is likely to be defeat. And make no mistake: Herman Cain will make a number of gaffes in months to come. He’s already made several, and if he were to get the nomination, the spotlight would be so stepped-up on him that such gaffes would prove deadly. I admire him very much, and think he’s an American hero, but his tendencies to not speak clearly on issues (abortion), to backtrack (9-9-9 is now 9-0-9 on the poor), to employ provocative ads (his chief of staff lighting up in an odd commercial), etc., are all emblematic of a guy who lacks the requisite political seasoning to be elected president. And remember, the most important thing that can happen in the 2012 election is that we get Barack Obama out of the White House.
And that is why I am not a Herman Cain guy.
Now, want to talk about Herman for Secretary of the Treasury? Sign me up…