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Davis, California

Friday, March 1, 2024

Column: Presidential clash

A smooth-talking, very likable black man who promises stark economic change from his would-be predecessor is the current favorite to win the Presidential nomination … with the Republican party.

Herman Cain, 65, is a business executive, syndicated columnist, radio host and associate minister in Georgia. He has never held public office but has spent time as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and as Chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. Despite his limited political experience, Cain has launched himself into the presidential discussion.

Cain is labeled as a tremendous public speaker and a downright likable guy and, like any good politician, he knows how to turn a negative into a positive.

When asked about his lack of political experience, he replied, “Most of the people who are in elective office in Washington, D.C., they have held public office before. How’s that workin’ for you?”

For the most part, these labels make sense and can be summed up with one quote.

When discussing the feasibility of erecting a fence along our borders to prevent illegal immigration, Cain said, “If they would have put me in charge of the fence … it would be about 20 feet high, it would have electrified barbed wire on top and then on this side of the fence we would have a moat. And yes, Mr. President, it would have alligators in it! If they can out-swim the alligators after they get over that fence and that electric barbed wire, I’ll give them a job at Godfather’s!”

It’s comforting that Cain has a sense of humor, but is there any substance to back up his style?

One of the most talked about aspects of Cain’s candidacy is his 9-9-9 federal tax plan. Under this plan, the current tax code would be thrown out the window and replaced with flat 9 percent business, personal and sales taxes countrywide. According to Cain, “The 9-9-9 plan would resuscitate this economy because it replaces the outdated tax code that allows politicians to pick winners and losers, and to provide favors in the forms of tax breaks, special exemptions and loopholes. It simplifies the code dramatically.”

Opponents of the 9-9-9 plan focus on the 9 percent federal sales tax, claiming that such a tax would hit the lower and middle classes the hardest.

Cain even debunks our modern “PC” culture when he says, “I am an American. Black. Conservative. I don’t use African-American, because I’m American, I’m black and I’m conservative. I don’t like people trying to label me. African-American is socially acceptable for some people, but I am not some people.”

The real question through all this clutter is, does Cain have a shot at un-seating Obama?

Ultimately, I think that Obama will be re-elected regardless of who the Republican nominee is. However, Cain has the best shot at defeating the incumbent Obama for a few reasons.

Cain claims to have a penchant for getting results, something that Obama has ostensibly failed to do. Cain can work a crowd and put together a clever, coherent retort to a tough question — two of Obama’s best qualities.

The unfortunate truth is that Presidential elections rarely come down to who the best person for the job is, but who is the best at getting votes.

Cain will gain votes because he survived stage IV colon cancer. He will lose votes for criticizing the now-mainstream “Occupy” protests. His 9-9-9 plan, though innovative, will likely lose him votes because of the political faux pas that surrounds the idea of taxing the “poor”. The fact that he is a minister will gain him hoards of voters in the bible-belt. The list goes on and on.

However, Obama has one quality that Cain simply cannot match: he’s mainstream.

Ultimately, Obama will again be seen as the cool kid who plays basketball and dances on Ellen while his opponent will be viewed as just another old guy who wants to help out his rich CEO buddies, regardless of the results he would deliver.

Don’t worry, Herman. MARK LING isn’t mainstream either. Send him your cool kid hate mail at mdling@gmail.com.


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