Forget sexual harassment claims, Herman Cain is too much like Obama
I used to ride the Cain train. Now, I’ve stepped off. Though Herman Cain has marketed himself as the anti-Obama, the similarities are disturbing. They both lack needed political experience and peddle slogans over substance.
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And love it or hate it, Cain’s 9-9-9 plan won’t foster the spirit of compromise either. It is just too radical – Obama-style radical. Even if you think this plan is brilliant, which I don’t, you can’t escape the fact that it would turn Washington into a war zone if it were presented to Congress as a serious legislative proposal. Cain’s campaigning on such a divisive platform (even conservatives can’t agree on whether or not the 9-9-9 plan is a good thing) has shown me that he will likely promote further division and will therefore accomplish very little. He will be yet another polarizing influence contributing to the deadlock that currently paralyzes Washington.Skip to next paragraph
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Finally, I find it worrisome that Cain’s campaign is largely marketing driven instead of issues oriented – just like Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. “Hope and change,” Obama delivered with a smile, and America swooned. What kind of change, nobody bothered to ask. It sounded so wonderful, it had to be right. Well, as many Americans have now seen, this wasn’t quite the case.
I’ve come to believe the excitement over Cain is largely the result of the same charisma-driven happy talk. “9-9-9,” Cain says with a grin, and America applauds. Who cares what the 9-9-9 plan actually proposes, it is a brilliant marketing slogan. Now Cain may very well have ideas on policy, and they may even be good ones, but he is making slogans, not ideas, the hallmark of his campaign. We’ve had four painful years of showmanship without substance already. We don’t need four, possibly eight, more years of the same. Not now, not at this critical time in history.
No, what we desperately need right now is a leader with wisdom and statesmanship. We need a leader whose strength is in his or her ideas – specific ideas that have been extensively thought through and that are the product of time and experience. We need a leader who has been around the block enough to know what works and what doesn’t; a leader who has learned how to compromise, but who will have enough backbone to stand firm on the essentials; a leader who can delicately yet decisively handle the fiscal nightmare we are facing; a leader who can confront the growing number of sensitive global economic, political, and military issues; a leader who is big enough to listen to others and admit when he is wrong.
I don’t pretend to have made up my mind just yet on who that leader is (although Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is looking more attractive all the time). But I do know the nominee vetting process is a triathlon, not a sprint, and it will be the tortoise and not the hare who will earn the respect and votes of the American people. I have also decided that, at least for me, the Cain train has run out of steam.
Sam Guzman is a columnist and essayist.