Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Problem with Herman Cain

Ok, Herman Cain is now the front runner in the GOP primary chase.  Well, depending on what poll you look at he's either the front runner or he's in a dead heat with Mitt Romney, but regardless, with the meltdown of Rick Perry, the indefensible ignorance of Michelle Bachmann, the outright media bias against Ron Paul, the dismissal by the base of Jon Huntsman and his loony "I believe in science" psychobabble and the fact that Rick Santorum is officially less likable than the recto-spooge/lube concoction named for him, Herman Cain has floated to the top of the toilet bowl, alongside the universally disliked R.I.N.O.

This means a few things.  First, it means people now have to treat Cain as a "serious" contender for basically the first time since he entered the race.  Second, it means that, because he's now being treated seriously, people are going to start challenging his ideas, vetting his proposals and, most importantly, actually listening to the things he says.  This has led to a minor explosion of new and "controversial" statements made by Cain in the past and present that are being held to increased scrutiny and it has put pressure on Cain to explain many of those statements, back up his proposals with actual data and basically defend his position like any serious presidential contender would have to.  For many, this new attention to Cain has revealed serious holes in his armor and flaws with his platform.  For me, however, it just reconfirms what I felt about Cain from the minute he entered the race.

See, a while back I talked about the very first interview I ever saw Cain do.  It was an interview for Dick Morris' internet channel or whatever the hell it is.  Some kind of lunch chat that looked like it was filmed on the set of a cheap porno and with the same production crew and budget.  Back then, Cain was lucky to poll in the high single-digits, but boy was he confident!  Here is the interview, in fact:


In that video, there were a few things that bothered me about Cain right from the start.  The first was the he subtly qualified himself as a "blacker" black candidate than Obama - something he has done previously, the infamous "I'm more authentically black" statement.  He also drives that wedge further by mentioning Obama's "African black" heritage vs. Cains "Brought here as a slave black" ancestry, all part of that "I'm a more authentic black guy" rhetoric.  The second thing that bugged me about Cain in this interview was that, in spite of basically calling out Obama over racial authenticity, Cain defiantly and confidently states that one of the biggest differences between himself and Obama is that he "Has never and will never play the race card."  Now, if you just ignored all the subtle "I'm blacker than you" racial calling out that Cain did of Obama, you still have to wonder what, exactly, Cain is implying with this statement.  Is Obama a serial race card player?  If so, he certainly doesn't do it on camera, when talking about his job, or the constant obstruction he faces from congress for no other reason than because it's him asking for stuff.  I've never heard Obama play the race card, unless being proud of your heritage and your family and your upbringing is playing the race card?  Unless acknowledging that you accomplished what you did in life in spite of your skin color, not because of it is playing the race card?  I was always led to believe that "playing the race card" is when you accuse someone of racism because they dare to criticize someone of a different race, or expecting special favors in life because of your race.  I've never seen Obama do either of these things, but ok, whatever Mr. Cain, your point is?  Well, not 5 minutes after stating, matter-of-factly, that he would never play the race card, Cain starts to talk about being a company vice president "When it wasn't cool to be a black vice president"  That's a pretty quick turnaround to start playing your race as some kind of game playing piece, perhaps in a card-like shape...  Lastly, the thing in this interview that got me to say "Yeah, this guy is completely full of shit and a joke" was when he was talking about how his family grew up poor, working class and needed assistance.  All during that time of their lives, he and his family were Democrats.  They supported Democratic policies, and so on.  When Dick Morris asked him what caused Cain to change his political views to become a conservative Republican, Cains actual response is "Well, I started to make a little money..."  That interview told me everything I needed to know about Herman Cain - he's a hypocrite, he's self-righteous and he's a complete phony.

No wonder he's neck and neck with Mitt Romney.

See, here's the difference between Mitt and Herman.  With Mitt Romney, you know he's a fake.  You don't need to just hear his words - the guy literally flip-flops on his positions within news cycles - you can see it in his face.  Romney himself doesn't even look like he believes the shit he's saying.  When Mitt talked about the Occupy Wall Street movement a week or so into it, he said "I think it's dangerous, this class warfare".  This week, Romney said "I'm not worried about the 1%, they're doing just fine!  I'm worried about the 99%, the rest of us..."  What do you mean us, Mitt?  Who's "us"?  You got a turd in your pocket?  Mr. $250 million net worth, what part of the 99% do you fit into, exactly?  You made most of your money by buying and selling companies, resulting in the pillaging of their retirement and pension funds and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, who the hell are you to talk about the middle-class like you even know how to pump your own gas?  But, see, it's not surprising!  When Mitt talks about being pro-life now, about believing life begins at conception, yes there is literally video that exists from back when he was running for governor of Mass. where he says he's strongly pro-choice and believes a woman should have the right to choose what she wants to do with her own body.  When Mitt bashes Obamacare, yes, we know Obamacare was modeled on Romney's own public healthcare plan in Mass!  We know Romney is a total phony, he always has been.  Cain, on the other hand, is an entirely different kind of phony.

Mitt's a phony, but he's a plastic phony.  Listening to Mitt wonder why people don't take him seriously is like listening to a blow-up doll who says "What do you mean I'm not a real girl?"  Mitt is actually the very definition of a R.I.N.O. - he is totally a Republican in name only.  He was a moderate, if not liberal, "Republican" when he ran for governor and now he's suddenly a hyper-conservative Tea Party chaser who can't remember which side of a position he's on from one week to the next.  His phony insincerity is as obvious as a flaming, neon peacock coming up the street in a hot pink cab with a salsa band on the roof.

Cain, on the other hand, is a different kind of phony.  He's like the friend of yours who keeps trying to fuck your wife and every time you confront him about it he says "What?  I'm just kidding!" and then sends her a picture of his dick.  Cain is a phony who pretends to be sincere.  He says outrageous shit, like that he wants to build a "20 foot high border fence with razor wire on top, electrified!"  And then, when he gets called out for it later, he says "I was only kidding!  Well, I mean, I'm not kidding about wanting to build a 20ft. high fence with electrified razor wire on it, but I'm kidding about whatever might have offended anyone!"  Dude... THAT'S the part that offended everyone!  He makes statements that are absolutely serious, because he's making them to pander to and incite the ultra-conservative Tea Party base that has taken over the GOP.  It's only when he gets called out for what he says and realizes it might actually come back to bite him in the ass on the campaign trail that he back peddles, but only just enough to pretend he's contrite, not enough to actually be sincere.

He makes statements like this all the time.  In fact, just today, there is a new clip of Cain saying "Some have said that I'm only doing this (campaigning) because I want a tv show or a radio show, but let me be clear, that is not the case at all and if you don't believe me, you can buy a copy of my book..."  He then smiles at the end, like "See, it's all just a big joke!"  Except it's really not.

For all intents and purposes, Cain only got into the presidential race for self-promotion.  He's not unlike Gingrich or Bachmann in this respect.  All 3 of those candidates have books out or coming out and all 3 are capitalizing on their increased media exposure to promote those books and advance their own careers.  All the candidates will now get higher speaking fees when they lecture - something Cain in particular did a lot prior to entering the race and will undoubtedly do when he's getting 5 times the price per appearance afterwards.  However, thanks to the overwhelming unlike-ability of Romney, the total meltdown of Perry and the aforementioned negatives of the rest of the field, Cain has found himself an unlikely front runner to a race he never expected to seriously do well in from the start.  However, in true "sincere phony" fashion, Cain is acting like this is something he had planned for all along.

It's like, if Mitt Romney was an NFL fan and you asked him who his favorite team was, he would say "Who won the superbowl?  Ok, that's my favorite team!"  Cain, on the other hand, would say "Who won the superbowl?  Well, I said in my book - which is on sale right now - that I thought they would win the superbowl and they did so really they've always been my favorite team."  Then you go and buy his book and realize he doesn't talk about the superbowl at all in it and when you ask him about it, he says "What?  I was just kidding about that!"

Cain was never a serious candidate.  If he was, he'd have a better fiscal policy than a rehashed pizza deal slogan.  Seriously, "9-9-9" is a one-topping, take-out only pizza deal if ever I heard it.  Not only that, but it's the default tax structure in Sim City.  It's an intentionally over-simplified version of a tax system, set up to give Sim City players a very basic tax code simulation that is meant to be only one aspect of the game and not something that requires much thought or effort to fine-tune.  This is by design, so players can focus on making their imaginary characters do funny stuff with all the crap they buy for their houses.  It's not intended to be a serious framework for the largest economy in the world.  It would be like using the map on the back of a box of animal crackers as an atlas to navigate a trip around the world.

Beyond that, Cain is just completely out of touch with the average voter.  He chastises the OWS movement, famously saying "If you don't have a job and you're not rich, don't blame Wall Street, blame yourself!"  He is the textbook definition of a "sell-out".  He's a guy who made a little money and immediately turned his back on the life he lived before earning his fortune.  He's perfectly fine with using his struggle to illustrate what a great man he is for rising above his situation, but he refuses to acknowledge the institutional and historical factors that created that situation in the first place.

He speaks about being "too young" to be a part of the civil rights movement of the 60's, but he was born in 1946.  Cain was in his early 20's at the height of the civil rights movement.  Furthermore, he lived in Alabama, ground zero for the movement.  He says in his book that his father used to tell his family to "move to the back of the bus" when instructed to do so because they "didn't want to make trouble" and that it was easier "to just go along with it" than fight for their dignity.

Now, I don't expect anyone to put themselves into the position that the civil rights protesters did in the 60's.  I wouldn't blame anyone for not wanting to be arrested, beaten or assaulted, even if it was in defense of their own basic human rights.  However, I do expect a certain kind of principle and leadership and bravery from someone who wants to be my president.  Herman Cain, CEO of Godfather's Pizza, can go to the back of the bus all he wants if that makes him happy - but President Herman Cain, leader of the free world and commander in chief of our armed forces... he damned well should have fought for his rights.

But, this is why Cain doesn't understand the OWS movement.  This is why Cain doesn't identify with the 99%.  Because Cain sympathizes with the 1%.  Not just because he is the 1%, but because he doesn't rock the boat.  He knows better than to make trouble with the people who got the cops on their side.  He was taught from an early age to know his place and he stays there.  Hey, if that's the choice you made, that's cool, but own it.  Don't pretend to be something you're not, because that just makes you a phony.

Don't act like a fighter just because you worked your way to the top like a good little bee.  Don't act like you're "authentically black" when you jumped when the white man said to jump.  Most of all, don't pretend like you know what it's like to be black more than Obama does when you call out your own people as being "brainwashed" by the Democrats.  Don't pretend you know the struggle when you don't even want to know the people struggling.

And that, in a nutshell, is my problem with Herman Cain.  He's just as much of a phony as Mitt Romney, except he thinks we're too stupid to realize it.  He's got a bunch of gimmicky "bumper sticker" slogans that, predictably, resonate with dumb people who don't own a calculator and he's a great token black guy for Tea Party Republicans to say "See!  It wasn't about race with Obama, cuz we got our own ni... err, African American candidate too!"  With Romney, at least you know where you stand with him - that being whichever way the wind is blowing that week.  With Cain, you keep thinking you know where you stand with him and he keeps trying to fuck your wife every time you leave the room.  "What?  I'm just kidding!"

Whatever you say, "Black Walnut", whatever you say...