Why I like Herman Cain
By John D. Turner
29 Sep 2011

OK! Please stop! I am laughing too hard! My sides hurt! Ok, I guess she is supposed to be a comedian, and this has to be the funniest thing I have ever heard her say. (I really try not to hear her too much if I can help it, because it makes my head want to explode, but just saying…)

Unfortunately in this case she is not doing a comedy skit; she is trying to be serious. Personally, I think she should stick to comedy.

According to Janeane Garofalo, Republicans like Herman Cain because they are racists. In Janeane Garofalo’s tortured mind, Republicans hate Barack Obama because they are racists who can’t stand the idea of a black man like Mr. Obama occupying the White House. So, these same racists bigots like Herman Cain, an African American who is running for President on the Republican ticket, and who, if nominated and elected would be occupying the same White House, because they are racists who can’t stand the idea of a black man occupying the White House. My only question is, does she stay up late at night figuring out these convoluted conspiracy theories, or do they just come natural to her?

Republicans, tea party supporters, conservatives – give it up. You just can’t win. If you don’t like Obama, you are a racist. If you support another African American for President, you are also a racist. Let’s face it; you are just a racist no matter what you do or what you think or who you support. I guess we should all just accept it and move on. As far as I am concerned, the word “racist” has just lost all meaning for me. So call me what you like, it just doesn’t matter anymore.

Let’s back up for a minute anyway and pretend that the word “racist” does still have meaning. And let’s suppose that its meaning is exactly what most people would expect it to be; its dictionary definition:

Racist: 1: One who holds a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. 2: one who practices or ascribes to racial prejudice or discrimination. – Merriam-Webster OnLine dictionary.

Now, having said that, and having stated a common definition, do I think that there are no racists in the Republican Party, amongst tea party supporters, or in the general conservative population? No. I would admit that there probably are some. In any large group of people, there are, on a statistical basis, a certain number with heart defects. There are a certain number that carry a sexually transmitted disease. There are a certain number with AIDS. There are a certain number who cheat on their spouse. And there are a certain number who are racists.

Guess what? That includes the large group of people known as the Democratic Party as well. It includes the left, liberals, socialists, progressives, whatever you want to call them. It includes Blacks as well as Whites. It includes Hispanics, Asians, Japanese, Koreans and Canadians; whatever group you want to name. Racism isn’t about membership in a group; it is about individual thought and action.

In any particular audience attending one of Janeane Garofalo’s comedy shows, there are undoubtedly racists present. They may not make a scene. They may not shove, or spit on, or in any way take notice of or act out against those they are racist against; that wouldn’t be PC after all. But undoubtedly they are present.

As a Democrat, and a supporter of Barack Obama, I would assume that Janeane Garofalo is not a supporter of Herman Cain. If not, why not? Is she racist? By what logic am I a racist because I do not support Barack Obama, but do support Herman Cain, but she is not a racist because she supports the reverse? Is it that my candidate isn’t an “authentic” African American? By what measure? Is it because her guy got there first? Or is it perhaps because my candidate is a Republican – something that is not “proper” for a “real” black person to be?

Do we go by skin color? We are apparently basing these things on skin color in the first place. If so, well, as was pointed out by a coworker the other day in a joking manner, “my candidate is darker than your candidate.”

How about parentage? Barack Obama’s mother is white. And he was raised by his white grandparents. Doesn’t that make Barack just as “white” as he is “black?” Herman Cain on the other hand boasts two black parents. Doesn’t that make him “blacker?”

How about upbringing? Herman Cain was born in Memphis, Tennessee. His father was a chauffeur and his mother was a cleaning woman. Herman Cain is not from a well-to-do background. He has a pretty good idea of what it is like to grow up in the black community in the United States in the 1950’s and 60’s, having done so himself. He has given first-hand accounts of what it was like sitting behind the white/black demarcation line on buses. Did Barack Obama have that experience in Hawaii?

Herman Cain is well-spoken and articulate, but you don’t have to see him to know that he is black; you can tell from his speech.

Barack Obama’s one black parent comes from Kenya. He isn’t even an American citizen, and didn’t stick around for long in Barack’s life. Barack Obama grew up in Hawaii, raised by his white mother and grandparents. Blacks are not real thick on the ground in Hawaii, and while I am sure he ran into some race prejudice growing up, I would doubt that his upbringing was anything like Herman Cain’s. Did they even have segregation in Hawaii?

As for the way he talks, well I know what his voice sounds like. And I know he’s black. So it’s hard for me to be completely objective on that one. But I would say that there is a difference between how Barack speaks and how Herman Cain speaks and it is noticeable.

But so what? Instead of talking about race, let’s talk about something more tangible. Let’s talk about qualifications.

Education? I have to go with Herman Cain on this one. Both are well educated, but Herman Cain has a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics, and a Master of Science in computer science. I have a Master’s in computer science myself, and an Associate’s degree in mathematics, with a bachelor’s in Computer Engineering. I know how difficult these subjects are. Not saying law isn’t difficult; it is. But it's not math and computer science. And Harvard certainly isn’t an easy school, but then again neither is Purdue, where Mr. Cain got his Master’s.

Executive experience? Until he became President, Barack Obama had exactly none. His career resume includes being a community organizer, teaching, Illinois state Senator (7 years), US Senator (3 years), and President of the United States (currently).

Hermann Cain worked full-time for the US Navy in ballistics. It was at this time, while working full time in a demanding job, that he earned his Master’s degree in a very demanding field. After completing that he left the Navy and began working for the Coca-Cola Company as a business analyst. He went from there to Pillsbury, rising to the position of Vice President. He left Pillsbury to work for Burger King, which was a Pillsbury subsidiary, managing over 400 stores in the Philadelphia area. In three years under his leadership, the region went from being the least profitable region in the franchise to being the most profitable. He was then appointed President and CEO of another Pillsbury subsidiary that wasn’t doing so well; Godfather’s Pizza. Fourteen months later, after bringing Godfather’s Pizza finally to profitability, he and a group of investors bought the franchise from Pillsbury in a leveraged buyout. Cain continued as CEO for another eight years, after which he became the CEO of the National Restaurant Association.

In 1992 Hermann Cain became a member of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He served as chairman of that bank from January 1995 to August 1996, resigning to become active in national politics.

While he might not have “executive experience” in the arena of elected politics, he certainly has executive experience. And anyone who thinks that there are no politics in the upper echelons of American business or the Federal Reserve System is out of touch with reality.

In addition to the impressive resume above, Herman Cain also worked as a commentator for Fox Business, as a syndicated columnist, and until February of this year, hosted a radio talk show in Atlanta. While none of these are “executive” in nature, they do bring the following to the table; an acknowledgement of business expertise, an ability to communicate and “face-time” with the people of this nation. As anyone who has ever listened to talk radio knows, this means two-way communication with “common folks”, some who agree with you and some who disagree. Not in a controlled format, but live – where one literally never knows what will happen next and you have to be able to think on your feet.

Hermann Cain has business experience. Like Mitt Romney, he has experience in taking companies that were failing and turning them around. Unlike Mitt, he is not a professional politician; a plus in my book. He also doesn’t have a history of “flip-flopping” on issues, which Mitt has, fairly or unfairly. He also isn’t a Mormon, which for some reason still seems to be a factor in electability.

What is the main problem facing our nation at this juncture? Jobs, the economy, and overspending by the federal government come to mind, although someone on the left might have a different list. The current president does not seem to have a good handle on these problems. Unemployment is still over 9%. The economy is barely growing. Spending by the government is completely out of control with trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, and over $16 trillion in total debt so far. There seems to be no tangible plan to deal with the problems except more of the same, which hasn’t worked to this point, and keeping our fingers crossed.

My assessment is that neither President Obama, nor his advisors have a handle on how to fix these problems. I think we need a person who understands business; someone who has a track record of fixing broken companies and returning them to profitability. There are only two such candidates in the race; Herman Cain and Mitt Romney. I think that either of them can do the job. Between the two of them my pick would be Herman Cain. Why? He doesn’t carry the negatives that Mitt Romney does.

Do I like everything Herman Cain says? No. I am not a big fan of his 9-9-9 plan. I do agree that we need a radical change in our Byzantine tax system. But I don’t agree with 9-9-9; I most definitely do not want to see us have both an income tax, even at a flat 9% rate, and a national sales tax. No thanks! One or the other please! I have noticed that Mr. Cain is a proponent of the Fair Tax. That would be fine! But not both; future administrations can wreck too much havoc with that!

Herman Cain avoids some of Mitt Romney’s, as I see them, big negatives. He has not changed his position on abortion. He doesn’t have “Romney Care” hanging over his head. Don’t get me wrong, I understand his arguments on how it is different than Obama Care, and I pretty much agree with them. I also understand how changes made in the Massachusetts health care system since he left office really cannot be held against him as he did not make those changes. But that is how government programs work; they change, and usually not for the better. That’s my problem with a flat tax. Good idea, but there is no way you can guarantee that it will stay flat, particularly when history shows extreme resistance to it doing so.

Herman Cain doesn’t seem to have a hidden agenda. A lot of the people I talk to about Mitt Romney just don’t seem to trust him. It’s something about the way he presents himself. The term “used car salesman” comes to mind. This is probably unfair to Mitt, but there you are. Oh yes, and Herman Cain is a Baptist, something most Americans are perfectly comfortable with, not a freaky Mormon, and as far as I know, Mr. Cain has never taken a family trip with his pet dog strapped to the top of his car. He also understands our banking system, having been chairman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank.

So this is why I like Herman Cain. I like him for his political views, and because I think he is the right man at the right time for the job that needs to be done. Is he perfect? No, no politician is. Does he know everything? No, but then again, he knows that. He is smart. He also knows that’s why presidents have advisors. I don’t like Herman Cain because I am racist; what a stupid idea! It would take someone like Garofalo to come up with something that bizarre. Race has no place in a presidential election.

I like Herman Cain not because I am a racist, but because when it comes to politics, (and everything else by the way), I am raceless.