Tag Archives: Bloomberg

A Comment on Citizen Cain


The Black Walnut strikes again. Just two days ago, Herman Cain, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and Republican presidential candidate, shocked the political world by coming in second in a Bloomberg/Washington Post poll. All the talk was about whether this was for real. Then today in a Wall Street Journal poll he’s leading the field. That’s right according to the Wall Street Journal, Herman Cain might just be the front-runner in the Republican race for president. It’s much to early to be sure, but this race is getting interesting. I have a lot more to say about Herman Cain and his stance on the issues, but as I was reading this article on the WSJ website I noticed there were three hundred or so comments. I decided to read a few. I came across the usual Obama-hating stuff like this by “Joseph Wootten”:

“Herman Cain is by far the most genuine person to be a serious presidential candidate since Reagan. The Bushes were Harvard / Yale elitists. Clinton was a “Rhodes Scholar” (ok maybe his mamma hooker had something to do with that). Obama is a full-fledged “Affirmative Action” case president (I would love to see his transcripts). And Romney is the perfect Hollywood “Country Club Republican”. It is truly refreshing to see an actual accomplished human being have a chance to become president. I am fully on board the Cain Mutiny!”

I love that he put Rhodes Scholar in quotes like it’s not a real thing. Anyway, one commenter called “John Mason” called Cain, “the right wing’s answer to the Rev. Al.” I thought that was pretty funny.

Normally I don’t read the comments on major publications because they tend to be absurd. There is a lot of people saying what they believe while giving no support for their arguments, and a lot of people just being childish. So you will understand my surprise when I came across this comment by “Li-Shi Chen”:

“Certainly Cain makes this GOP race interesting and he is throwing ideas, such as his 9-9-9 proposal out there for debate. This is a good thing.

However, most US voters and in particular more recently GOP voters seem all-to-often willing to anoint some superhuman and elect him (or her) to ride in like a knight in shining armor to solve all of the US’s problems. I am sorry, but the problems the US faces today are far beyond the scope of a one-man show to fix them all. It is not even an issue of leadership anymore as we have seen that the party opposite the president in power (in the Bush years, the Democrats and in the Obama years, the Republicans) will only do what is good for them and not put what is good for the country first. Perhaps that is why people suddenly like Cain, whose statements seem to suggest he is not going to compromise, with his background and attitude more in like with the tradition of a tough-talking CEO.

However, this tough-talking omnipotent CEO image is a dangerous one though for a democracy like the US. In a company, a CEO may talk tough, but his constituents are often either paying customers or shareholders who invest in the company for similar, often narrow reasons. A country and its citizens are anything but that and unlike a company, which can be bought out, the leader of a nation has to ensure that the nation lives on forever, long after they step down. CEOs today are definitely not such long-term thinkers, nor do they need to be. Presidents have to be such long-term thinkers, however, as well as also understanding that global politics is not necessarily addressed in terms of market share nor win-loss.

I am sure Cain will continue to say the right things on the economy and that is no unimportant thing as the economy is in a shambles. However, voters will also need to see a much more substantive debate on his views over issues such as North Korea, Israel, terrorism, the US’s dependency on foreign oil, Russia and a variety of military threats around the world, among other things. America really should not ignore those issues just to get a candidate it thinks it likes now to throw out of the of White House a candidate it thinks it no longer likes.

This is not to say Cain is the wrong man. However, presidential candidates as well as presidents need to be both flexible on the murky issues and steadfast on the clear ones. If Cain can be this, then good luck to him. Meanwhile, voters may want to keep in mind that the candidate they often admire before November as being steadfast and firm often translates into being hardheaded and stubborn after the following January.”

That was an unusually thought out comment. Chen (who I assume would just be considered a Communist by “Joseph Wootten”) makes some very good points.  The debate in this race has so far centered around the economy which is probably the issue that the candidates can influence the least. Foreign policy will be very important in the coming years. The Israel-Palestine problem has shown no inkling that it is going away. Republicans and the public as a whole need to think about that and not let the economy blind us into a bad decision.

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