Political resume: Cain has run for President before, back in 2000. More recently, he ran to be a U.S. Senator from Georgia in 2004 and placed second in a three-person primary. He announced his exploratory committee on January 12, 2011, becoming one of the first to officially enter the fray, and made it official May 21. Currently according to RealClearPolitics.com he polls in seventh place of the top nine who get one percent or more in the polls, sixth among declared candidates. His poll numbers have slowly declined over the last few weeks, though.
On campaign finance/election reform (three points): Cain noted in Politico that “civil rights groups encourage voter fraud by opposing voter identification bills…all they’re trying to do is protect the voter fraud they know is going on.” He’s got the right idea so I’m giving him all three points.
On property rights (five points): He hasn’t said much on the subject yet, and aside from a brief mention of property seizure portions of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill on his issues page, there’s not much to go on. I’ll give him one point.
On the Second Amendment (seven points): Herman says he’s in favor of the Second Amendment, but a recent interview made people wonder if he was placing the issue too far into the lap of the states. I’m not quite sure what he means either, so I’m only going to give him four points. I think he’s on the right side, but I certainly don’t want a liberal state like Maryland overriding the clear language and intent of the Second Amendment.
On education (eight points): While Cain wants to “unbundle” the federal government from education and has a number of valid ideas about accountability and school choice, the one thing holding him back is not openly advocating for the elimination of the Department of Education – that’s a necessary component in my book. Six points.
On immigration (eleven points): Cain promises to “secure our borders, enforce our laws, and promote the existing path to citizenship.” That’s all well and good, but more detail would be helpful. Assisting his cause is that he stood foursquare against amnesty. I think he’ll get nine points.
On energy independence (twelve points): He seems to be an advocate for free-market solutions, and that’s precisely what we need. Key among his statements is that private industry needs to take the lead on alternative energy, which shows a good understanding of government’s role. Again, I’d like a little more specifics on the solution, which keeps Cain from hitting all twelve points – he gets eleven.
On entitlements (thirteen points): He starts down the right road, but doesn’t go all the way down it. Moreover, he advocates more tinkering with the tax code and that conflicts with some of his other positions. Nevertheless, Cain has the right ideas about who should be the safety net, though, so I’ll give him nine points.
On trade and job creation (fourteen points): The problem with this category for Cain is that it intersects so greatly with the next category because the linchpin of his job creation strategy is to lower taxes. So I’ll give him nine points here because he’s a relative free trader and wants to cut business taxes and regulation to stimulate the economy.
On taxation and the role of government (fifteen points): Here is where Cain shines most, as he’s devised what he calls the 999 Plan. It would cut business taxes to a flat 9 percent rate, cut individual income taxes to (you guessed it) a 9% rate, and finally begin the changeover to a system we’ve long been crying out for – a modest consumption-based tax of nine percent. The eventual goal is a full transition to the FairTax. The only quibble I have with Cain’s plan is the use of what he calls “empowerment zones” – unfortunately the government picks winners and losers there and that’s not right. He still gets 14 points.
Intangibles (up to three points): While Herman has stated he’s pro-life, believes in traditional marriage, and stands with Israel it’s tempered by his support for maintaining an outmoded affirmative action program. He still nets two points.
Total (maximum, 100 points): Cain vaults into the top spot thus far with 74 of a possible 100 points. I almost gave him another intangible point because of the way he promotes his lack of political experience, noting that those with political experience to spare have led us to our precarious position.
Yet those who point out Cain’s lack of experience also note that the current Oval Office occupant is black and not experienced either. We don’t need two in a row, they say. However, when you figure that Barack Obama ran nothing larger than a Presidential campaign and really has little practical private-sector work experience, the idea that Cain has run some fairly large corporations and handled multi-million dollar budgets at least gives him an idea of what it’s like in the real world. Perhaps the only ones who have more to offer on that front are those who have served as governors, although there are plenty of them in the race.
Then again, the only time governors are held accountable is when they run for re-election. Cain was accountable to the corporation’s shareholders, its board, and most of all its customers, 24/7/365. He could have been fired for poor performance at any time, but apparently he did a splendid job and kept himself employed.
But Herman’s campaign has slowly faded since the spring, when he pretty much was the flavor of the month for a time. It’s unfortunate because obviously I think Cain has a lot to add to the race, but as more and more press coverage is soaked up by those who know how to manipulate the system there’s less room for an independent-style campaign like Herman’s. He has merit since he’s been a TEA Party supporter, but there are some who don’t like him because he once headed up the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank (thus, doesn’t believe in auditing the Fed.)
Still, I believe Herman may have a role to play because once he drops out (which I would predict will happen after three to four early primaries) his endorsement (or lack thereof) may carry some weight.