A shift is taking place in the polls for the Republican presidential nomination race. In case you haven’t been watching, Herman Cain is either tied with or leading Mitt Romney in the latest surveys. This turnabout has stunned the establishment of the Republican party. They continue to consider Romney the inevitable candidate. On paper, that should be true—but paper truths are not always real.
I’ve written previously of Cain’s many positives. Critics will raise negatives that must be taken seriously. They are correct when they say that he lacks foreign policy experience. They are correct when they say he is a political novice, having never held public office before. Although I like his 9-9-9 plan, the one big question about it for me is whether he can keep it from expanding into a 15-15-15 plan, or something worse. It is risky to introduce a national sales tax without first eliminating the income tax.
Yet there are answers to these concerns. First, as Cain notes, the man in the White House currently has made a mess of foreign policy. Herman Cain won’t apologize for America whenever he goes overseas. Neither will Cain abandon Israel; he sees the need to remain a staunch friend of our only real friend in that region. He has stated countless times that he will call friends friends and will not hesitate to call enemies what they are. He knows the difference between the two.
While not having held political office can be a liability, it also may bring a fresh new approach to politics-as-usual. It’s not as if Cain has never worked with people or never had to manage difficult situations. In business, he brought an expertise that turned losing enterprises into winners. What real-world practical experience has Obama brought to the office of the presidency?
And even if there are questions about how he could make the 9-9-9 plan a reality without the possible drawbacks, I appreciate his willingness to break the mold and seek to refashion our entire tax code. He sees 9-9-9 as only the first step toward elimination of the income and corporate taxes, leading to a national sales tax that will replace all the federal taxes we now pay. Even this first step would wipe out the Social Security and Medicare taxes. Lower income people who pay nothing now in income taxes will pay 9%, that is true. Yet they will no longer pay the Social Security and Medicare portions. It will broaden the tax base: instead of 47% paying no income taxes, everyone will pay something. That’s genuine fairness.
One of the latest polls shows Cain losing to Obama 49-38. Some of that is due to lack of name recognition; only 61% of those polled even knew who he was. That would change, and I would dearly love to watch him debate Obama—the current black president who plays the race and class card whenever possible vs. the black aspirant who dearly loves his country and holds no bitterness about the past. I think the majority of the American people would find him refreshing.
Could he win? Well, he would have the conservative base solidly in his corner, for sure. I also believe he would peel off many black voters who would vote Republican for the first time. Although Obama would maintain the majority of those votes, Cain would bring more into the Republican fold than anyone else. As for the independents, polling shows they are alienated by the Obama policies and are turning more conservative. Why wouldn’t many of them relish the independence that candidate Cain represents?
Will it happen? Odds are still against it, but the possibility is no longer far-fetched. Could Cain be the solid hope and change many have sought? At the very least, maybe we can finally put the race issue behind us if Cain is the nominee and people can vote without regard to race this time:
Wouldn’t it be nice to lay this to rest once and for all?