Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Candidate Profiles: Herman Cain and Rick Perry

One on the rise, the other sliding away.  A week ago you'd have said that Herman Cain would be the one sliding away.  You'd have been wrong.  Today he shows up at the top of a new Zogby poll of likely Republican Primary Voters.  So, I wanted to spend a little time reviewing what I know about each and why I'm decidedly happy with the recent shift in polling.

Ricky Perry

Not to be confused with Ricky Bobby of Talladega Nights fame, Mr. Perry has run a less than dazzling campaign since joining the race.  Instead of showing people who he was, he's tried to do what only skilled politicians are successful at doing (think Bill Clinton), showing people what they think they want.  He's backed off his claims of Social Security being a ponzi scheme (despite substantial evidence that it more closely resembles this than a pension program).  His fiery rhetoric aside, Mr. Perry has just appeared unprepared.  A subpar showing at this first major debate was followed by a worse outing in last week's Florida debate. 

On the issues....well, Rick likes to point to Texas and it's recent history with job creation, and it is a remarkable story, but I'm really not ready to give him credit for all of that.  Many of the decisions that have lead to the Texas story happened long before Mr. Perry took office.  (on a personal note, I adhere to Gary Johnson's belief that politicians should NOT create jobs.  At best they should work toward creating conditions beneficial to job creators and job takers).

Rick also claims to be a fiscal conservative, but without really taking a firm stance anywhere to back that up.  His website is seriously devoid of anything beyond generic pandering to an uninformed electorate. 

On the plus side he has very nice hair.

Herman Cain

Herman didn't make my initial review of candidates, but fortunately, he's stuck it out in this race and has steadily risen to a position of viability.  I really wish he'd gotten more visibility and attention from journalists and commenters...like myself.  Well, I've spent a good bit of time in the past 5 days "getting to know" Herman Cain.  From a political checklist the man has it all:

Academic achievement - Check.  Morehouse B.S. in Mathematics and a Masters in Economics from Purdue along with a host of honorary degrees.

Business Experience - Check - CEO of a a successful pizza chain and sat on the board of several big name companies. 

Great Story - two time cancer survivor, with all of the courage and determination that that demands.

Politically Aware - Herman Cain is often credited with being one of the leading factors beyond the demise of HillaryCare in 1994.  For the past several years he has hosted a radio show in Atlanta and been a guest commentator on a variety of political talk shows.

Where does he stand?

Mr. Cain belongs to the faction that promotes the "Fair Tax."  Unlike other promoters of what amounts to be a national sales tax (in lieu of any income tax), Mr. Cain recognizes that people aren't ready to dive right in.  So, what he proposes is a transition via what he calls the 999 Plan.  It sounds like a cheese pizza promotion, doesn't it?  Fortunately, this plan actually has some real meat to it.  What he's proposing is to eliminate tax brackets and all tax deductions.  No more tax credits for corporate jets or tax subsidies for giant oil companies.  In exchange, we institute a flat income tax rate of 9% across the board.  Businesses also pay a 9% tax rate on profits.  Finally a 9% sales tax to ease the transition to the "Fair Tax."

On other political issues Mr. Cain stands toe to toe with many republicans, with maybe a slightly more libertarian bent.  He's certainly not ideal in those regards, but a good bit better than Perry and more "real" than Romney, Perry, and Bachmann combined.  In a world that deems Gary Johnson and Ron Paul un-nominatable if not un-electable, Herman Cain stands out as a really good option for those wanting to avoid 4 more years of the same old thing.

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