Friday, November 4, 2011

Breaking Down Herman Cain and Why He Bothers Me

I’ve waited a while to write this because I’ve tried to study Herman Cain’s moves closely. I didn’t want to seem like I was hating on a Black conservative just on principle. But I now I think I can safely say that Cain’s campaign is one big joke.

Honestly my beef with Cain isn’t his race. It’s another one of these business folks who think they can buy their way into the White House and run it like the corporation they’ve built up. Throughout history, business-minded Presidents scared me because they tend to be pro-business, pro-super rich and less-worker/middle class. Considering there’s more of us than CEOs and business owners, it’s a lose-lose for most of us.

Also businessmen who think they can be politicians usually have zero clue how the game is played. William Randolph Hearst bought his way into the House of Reps but unsuccessfully tried to do so in the Senate and the NY Governor’s seat. The best way to the Presidency is through political experience and when you don’t have it, you have the embarrassing spectacle of Arnold Schwarzenegger as your governor.

Anyways, Cain sounded reasonable when I saw a GOP debate. I usually ignore most Black conservatives because unlike Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell or JC Watts, they don’t sound reasonable and just sound like another conservative. Like Chuck D said, every brother ain’t a brother.

Yet the more Cain spoke, the more I was troubled. He sounded snappy and witty. He had a Southern flair to him yet he didn’t have any plan for being president. He was opposed to Occupy Wall Street and gave a typical wealthy response to folks who are struggling and opposed to big banks.

Don’t blame Wall Street. Don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself.”

There’s some truth in there but Cain forgot two things. 1) People don’t like to hear the harsh truth about themselves. 2) A leader has to be sympathetic to what his people are saying. That sounded unbelievably detached and what’d you expect from a man with a self-made fortune.

Point No. 1 isn’t his fault, it’s true for most situations. Yet Point No. 2 is important. It 1) forgets that a lot of people inherit wealth or are in great circumstances to attain it instead of build it solely on their own (something Tim Wise points out here in detail) 2) forgets that most people don’t want to be rich, just live comfortably and meet basic needs, 3) shows that he’s willing to point fingers instead of come up with compromise. Consider how Barack Obama addressed it by saying people are frustrated.

(Cain also forgot that we are in the midst of a recession where plenty of hardworking people aren’t finding jobs easily, not just people who want handouts.)

I tried to read up on his 9-9-9 economic plan and my lack of knowledge on these matters kept me from understanding it. I know an accountant came up with it, not an economist. It seems like a decent plan but I yield my views to this CNN non-partisan study on it

I also don’t appreciate how Cain has treated the Black vote. He wants to be seen as a Black candidate and claims he can get the Black vote but he has yet to target the Black vote. He has been offered opportunities to speak to Black America but he has refused. At least Michael Steele as chairman of the Republican National Convention reached out several times to spark dialogue. It shows me Cain wants to be close but not all the way.

What’s made it worse now is that Cain seems like he’s more interested in the spotlight than being a legit candidate. He has flipflopped on several positions due to pressure and now he’s poorly handling these sexual harassment cases that have come back to haunt him. His jokes n

Not to mention that his foreign policy knowledge is as sharp as a dull pencil. You cannot expect to be President in this globalized era and not know the world around you. You see that President Obama has had to spend most of his first term achieving foreign policy victories as opposed to domestic ones. To be isolated from the world to only focus on jobs here is a nice idea but an impossible reality. A President must do both.  

But what makes this worse? Cain has started singing on the microphone. And more worse? Negro Spirituals!!! Every Black leader who strived to be accepted as a man of dignity who avoided those stereotypes. Yet imagine my shock to see Cain do this at all of places, the National Press Club, in reference to his situations.

This is the last straw. I am offended as a person of color that a presidential candidate would dare singon his own. Where is the dignity in calmly handling it with poise and moving on. No, you have to sing??!!!!! And not a song that everyone sings together, you’re singing on your own. Like something Uncle Ruckus warned about in a Boondocks episode.

(I'm also a man of faith mind you. And yet, I find this disturbing on that level. If you sing, sing with dignity. He comes off as if he's using his faith to hide his faults instead of share them. Similar to Eddie Long's 1st sermon after his scandal broke)

Imagine if Obama did that in 2007/2008 or if Michael Steele did that when he won the RNC nomination. Eyes would have rolled and I would’ve said Lord have mercy, can we not sing for everything! Bad enough, McDonald’s has been showing us singing for our supper in their commercials.

Herman Cain is the dangerous type of Black person. He says and does things that White people want to hear and won’t say because it would sound different. He’s safe because he’s wealthy and fits the conservative narrative. People will point to him and say ridiculous things like Ann Coulter did and think they are cool.

He’s the type of Black candidate people want to prop up because he’s the anti-Obama. He’s in the category of Ward Connerly and Black conservatives who say the stuff about the race but say it to the mainstream instead of to us. It might be truth but you have to consider your audience and the danger in spreading that philosophy.

You have to worry about someone who has the support of Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and that ilk. Somebody who calls their sexual harassment claims a liberal smear job instead of handling it with dignity and rising above it is a scapegoat instead of a problem solver.

20 years after Clarence Thomas, we have Herman Cain. A flavor of the month who’s a witty gentleman, appears sincere in parts, fits a narrative, but unfit to be President unless he proves he’s more than charm and buzz words.

He’s still doing speaking engagements and appears to be in love with the spotlight than trying to prove his credentials as a leader qualified for one of the most important jobs in the world. He’s nothing more than a token figure who isn’t showing much reason to see him as anything but another candidate.

(Cain is also close to the rich Koch Brothers, the same folks who have been linked to funding the Tea Party and made me question who's running that show. For the record, the Koch Bros. have also donated to Mitt Romney's campaign.)

This is not a critique of Cain’s success, his background and selfmade endeavors. It is a critique of his campaign and how he embodies everything wrong with reactionary politics, an idea that you can just copy a success with a clone who lacks the soul of the original. I criticized the Obama campaign initially because I felt he was too inexperienced as a junior senator to be President.

Herman Cain not only doesn’t have my vote, I hope he goes back to his life before politics because here, he’s a fish out of water that everyone will enjoy for a spell before they throw him back with the others.

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