Monday, October 3, 2011

Herman Cain: Six Of One, Half-Dozen Of The Other

Herman Cain's presidential campaign has gained considerable momentum since his recent straw poll victory in Florida. This comes as a shock to me, since I have scratched my head to find a reason why Cain generates so much support amongst "conservatives", since his stances on any meaningful issues are anything but "conservative".

To finally put to bed the notion that Cain is a "good conservative", here are his positions on meaningful issues:

Economic Foresight: In 2005, Cain argued our economy was booming. He didn't percieve any signs of looming economic problems (such as a housing bubble). In 2008, Cain again argued that our economy was booming. He didn't percieve any signs of the housing bubble. In his opinion, warnings about impending economic problems were "Democratic deception" (naturally, Republicans and independents warning of the same were "drinking the Kool-Aid"). Cain's main selling point is his business acumen- and this opinion severely undercuts any confidence in that.

Tom Woods has compiled an excellent case of his own against Cain, focusing on his economic positions, some of which I have borrowed here.

Taxes: Herman Cain is an ardent FairTax supporter. Recently, he has introduced his "999 Plan"- which holds the Laffer curve as a "deus ex machina" to solve our economic problems, rather than a realistic rule-of-thumb, and (if passed) would establish a dangerous precedent for the federal government: the authority to tax both income and sales.

Gun Control: Herman Cain's stated stance on gun control is bizarre- he seems to believe the federal government has only limited authority to regulate firearms, while the states may do so without restriction. Prior to Cain, I had only heard this position espoused by anti-gun judges (like Sonia Sotomayor)- people who favor very strict gun control but must appear to respect the Constitution. If we assume for a moment that this wasn't a "gotcha" question posed by Wolf Blitzer, and that this accurately reflects Cain's Second Amendment stance, then this is a problem.

This position also ignores an historical fact, cited by Justice Clarence Thomas in the US Supreme Court's McDonald decision (incorprating the Second Amendment on the states): The basic reasoning behind the Fourteenth Amendment was to incorporate the Second on the states. At the time of its passage, southern states were passing gun control laws intended to disarm newly-freed blacks. The fact that Cain- a southern black man who lived through segregation- misses this point, is deeply troubling to me.

Romney: Cain supported Mitt Romney in 2008. Romney, like Cain, has a record of poor economic foresight and bad tax policies, and Romney passed numerous gun control laws in Massachusetts while calling himself "pro-Second Amendment".

Monetary Policy: Cain is a former Chairman and member of the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. It should be no surprise, then, that he opposes auditing the Fed (or at least, wants to convince the public that an audit would be pointless). Whether you are an "End The Fed!" libertarian, or a money-wise conservative, it should be obvious that a Federal Reserve audit is long overdue.

Foreign Policy: Cain is totally clueless on foreign policy. I need say very little that wasn't already said by Bill O'Reilly in this video (thanks to Mediaite). I will also add this video of the infamous "Right of Return" flub.

Race Baiting: Cain has participated in a vicious, and totally meritless, smear against Rick Perry, described in great detail here (thanks to RedState). This is nothing less than a despicable attempt to play the "race card" to gain an advantage.

To summarize: Herman Cain's gun control stance mirrors the most anti-gun leftist judges; his tax stance is deceptive, and would lead to Americans paying more of their income to the federal government; he supported a candidate in the last election with similarly left-leaning positions (and who is now running from those positions); he has a history of bad judgement on our economy; he believes the Federal Reserve should continue to be unaccountable to Congress; he is clueless on foreign policy; and he plays the race card to attack his white counterparts.

Cain is a social-issues populist. The support he currently garners is based on one quality: He makes some people "feel good" about their convictions. He inspires "hope" in people, and his supporters believe he will bring "necessary change".

In other words, he's the Republican party's version of Barack Obama.


  1. Terrific piece, as always. Thanks Alex for giving us the facts.