Why I’m not excited about Herman Cain

As you may have heard, Herman Cain is planning on forming an exploratory committee for a presidential run in 2012. I’m not surprised. Cain has always held ambition to hold elected office. He ran for the United States Senate here in Georgia in 2004; losing to now-Senator Johnny Isakson without a runoff.

Many don’t realize that this isn’t the first time Cain, who once served as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, has discussed a presidential bid. As Matt Lewis has noted, Cain ran for president in 2000.

Like many conservatives, Cain has used the tea party movement as a platform to build up his name and slam the policies of Barack Obama and Democrats. Unfortunately, the criticism of Obama and friends inside the tea party movement is no longer limited to economic policy.

However, Cain was largely silent during the six years of runaway spending under the Bush Administration and a Republican-controlled Congress. Like most Republicans, he only acknowledged his party’s failings after it was too late to do anything about it.

He backed the Wall Street bailout, or according to Cain, the “recovery plan,” as he called it on his radio show. Cain wrote that nationalizing banks “is not a bad thing.” He even went as far as criticizing opponents of the bailout, calling them “free market purists” and absurdly claiming that no valid criticism had been brought forward.

Fast-forward two years and we see that the bailout did little to help the country recover, especially since most of the “troubled assets” remain on the books of banks. Of course, Cain and other backers of the bailout still wrongly claim that taxpayers have seen a profit from TARP.

The advantage of him running is that he likely takes at least some of the wind out of Tax Hike Mike’s run as Cain is likely to get support from his fellow talk show host Neal Boortz, author of two books on the FairTax; a plan that Cain has also vigorously advocated. If you recall, Huckabee was able to court FairTax supporters in 2008, who seemed unconcerned about his record of tax hikes, support of cap-and-trade and nanny-statist policies, launching him to contender status.

Cain is an excellent speaker and will no doubt draw comparisons to Ronald Reagan. Unfortunately, the similarities end there. At least Reagan read F.A. Hayek (one of his favorite book’s was The Road to Serfdom) and understood Austrian economics. Cain doesn’t have those influences; at least if he did, they aren’t beliefs he holds today.

On a personal level, Cain is a nice guy. Very easy to talk to and doesn’t mind a difference of opinion. While he has been a successful businessman, he is also a reactionary, inconsistent and somewhat of an opportunist. No doubt, we all recognize these as the traits of a good politician.


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