Politics Is What It’s All About

The opportunity to celebrate our nation’s heritage and independence provided a welcome relief from politics-as-usual, but those opportunities don’t last long enough. Leading up to Independence Day, we were treated to a number of political moves by President Obama as he seeks reelection. Remember his press conference where he chided Republicans in Congress for not getting to work while he was always busy with the nation’s business? He then left for another of his numerous vacations and a new round of fundraisers. It’s always nice to see such dedication.

The president did make a number of decisions in the past few weeks, one of which was to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. Interestingly, his withdrawal timetable has them all out just two months prior to the 2012 elections. What a coincidence.

He also tackled the high gasoline prices by releasing oil from the nation’s strategic reserves. Wait a minute . . . isn’t that oil supposed to be kept there for national emergencies? What could have possibly led him to tap into it, thereby reducing the amount available should an emergency occur?

Cartoonists have had a field day with this one:

It’s a good thing we have the mainstream media keeping the public informed about these vital issues and holding the president accountable for his actions:

It’s nice to know they’re out there doing their job.

Herman Cain: For Real?

In 2008, most commentators treated Mike Huckabee as a fringe candidate who had no chance of winning anything. When he won the Iowa caucuses, they were stunned. He was the last candidate to stay in the race with McCain. He performed well above expectations. For that reason, he was considered one of the frontrunners this year until he decided not to make that run.

I mention the Huckabee example as a preface to writing about another such candidate this time around: Herman Cain. No one among the “official” punditry gives him any chance of winning the Republican nomination, yet he has shown surprising strength early on. In polls focusing on primary voters, he has consistently been in the lead or very close to it. At the mini-debate that took place recently among five of the contenders, the focus group at the end was virtually unanimous in declaring him the winner.

Just who is this man? Is he for real, or will he be no more than a footnote once this campaign ends?

Cain has never held public office. He tried once to receive the Republican nomination for senator from Georgia, but fell short. Why, then, does he think he can be successful in this quest?

Herman Cain says he is running because God wants him to do something significant with the rest of his life. He survived stage IV cancer, and shares a heartfelt testimony of how God led him through that ordeal and brought him out on the other side cancer free.

While that is great, and an inspirational story, what has he done with his life up to this point that makes him think he can be president?

Cain has a broad background in business. He began as a business analyst for Coca-Cola, then, with the Pillsbury company, rose to the level of vice president. Pillsbury owned Burger King at the time, and put Cain in charge of four hundred of those fast-food restaurants in the Philadelphia area, a region that was the least profitable in the country. In three years, he had made it into the most profitable.

Pillsbury was so pleased with his success that it gave him a new job—save another of its subsidiaries, Godfather’s Pizza, from going under. As CEO of that company, Cain worked his business magic again, making it profitable within fourteen months. He eventually left Godfather’s to become CEO of the National Restaurant Association. In addition to all of that business acumen, he was appointed to the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, where he served as chairman one year.

In other words, Cain is not a nobody; he has a resumé of success in the business and financial world.

What about the issues? Where does he stand?

On economics, he is a Reagan-style Republican devoted to less regulation and lower taxes. In fact, as with Huckabee, he is a supporter of the Fair Tax proposal, which would do away with all income taxes and go to a consumption tax instead. Bottom line: you keep all your money and then pay taxes only on what you decide to buy.

As a dedicated Christian evangelical, Cain opposes abortion and seeks to defund Planned Parenthood. He opposes same-sex marriage and supports the Defense of Marriage Act.

He’s also vocal about his concerns that there are some in the Muslim community who desire to construct Sharia law in the United States.

Education? Performance incentives for teachers; charter schools; voucher systems.

Energy? Drill more on our own land, even in ANWR; allow the private sector to develop alternative sources without government interference.

Healthcare? Repeal Obamacare and let the free market rule.

Immigration? Secure the border; no amnesty.

Cain is pro-Israel, pro-Second Amendment, and says his favorite Supreme Court justices are Scalia and Thomas.

If he can communicate effectively, who knows what might happen? I am not at this time declaring my support for his nomination, but I do believe he deserves a closer look. Will he be able to withstand the pressure that comes from increased scrutiny? Will he avoid a major gaffe along the way?

He has developed some significant grassroots support. Is it enough? I’m going to be watching with great interest.

Enjoy Your Saturday

It’s not really my intention to turn each Saturday into a cartoon-fest, but if you consider that bothersome, you can always go somewhere else on the Net—there’s a whole world that awaits.

But for those of you who choose to stay with me today, here’s my tribute to really well done political analysis via illustration. Let’s focus today on the many wonderful policies emanating from this administration and their consequences.

Obamacare, of course, has been the highlight of the past year. Have you read that there are now more than 1000 waivers that have been granted? If you need that many waivers, is it at all conceivable that the legislation is pretty awful to being with?

Energy policy has been gearing up lately. Obama is a strong proponent of green technology. Where will that lead?

If you don’t mind, I’d rather not go there. Of course, we can always do nuclear power, but everyone seems to be afraid of it after the Japan earthquake:

It would be nice to get our “fear priorities” straight. Continuing with the nuclear theme:

Why, we can’t cut programs, we’re told—they are all so effective. In what dream world might that be?

Even NPR is sacrosanct:

If you’re not sure what’s good for you, your friendly neighborhood progressive will be only too happy to inform you.

Enjoy your Saturday.