The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Cain: The Last Hope Against Romney?

Posted on | October 7, 2011 | 43 Comments

Michale Merritt offers an odd criticism of Herman Cain:

That’s because Cain has no national security experience. He’s never worked in the field; he’s a businessman, so it’s not so surprising. He’s also never held high office before, so national security hasn’t come onto his radar from that perspective either. Unlike Perry, Romney, Johnson, and Huntsman, Cain has never had to deal with these issues. He doesn’t, as Republicans used to say, have “executive experience.”

Cain’s business background — as CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and president of the National Restaurant Association — doesn’t count as “executive experience”? But never mind that: How does Mitt Romney’s term as governor of Massachusetts qualify him as a national security expert? And who is Michael Merritt, a 25-year-old with liberal arts diploma, to be offering these assessments?

We’ll leave this aside, not because Merritt doesn’t deserve a more thorough punk-smacking, but because we want to link T.C. Lynch at Leather Penguin, who notices something in an article about erstwhile Chris Christie fundraisers:

Understand something, Tea Party Sheeples: these people are better than you. Notice that in that entire article, the name “Herman Cain” never makes an appearance; he doesn’t exist in their world view, and anyone considering his candidacy to be credible are just run of the mill, bien-pensant fools, who don’t understand the Big Picture.

Read the whole thing. You may have noticed that some of our Republican friends seemed to lose interest in the GOP nomination fight just about the time Rick Perry melted down and Herman Cain surged into contender status. These people are already making peace with the idea of Romney carrying the 2012 Republican banner.

Far be it from me to accuse these Republican friends of racism, because I don’t think that’s really the problem. Rather, I think they have internalized the mystique of the Cult of Expertise, the belief that being president of the United States is a job that only experienced professionals can perform. And I think it’s high time that we destroy that myth, demonstrating once and for all that the professional political class is our fundamental problem.

Populism is an appropriate response when the elites have shown themselves incapable of governance. With all caveats about Cain’s political inexperience considered, and no illusions of him as “Hope and Change” rainbows-and-unicorns saviour a la Obama, I believe he is a man fully qualified to fulfill a vital purpose at a crucial time.

Some of our Republican friends are guilty of “fighting the last war,” when Republicans invested their hope in the “experience” argument on behalf of John McCain. But this is a new election, and Americans are eager to hear a new argument on behalf of a new candidate. I’ve got no grudge against Romney, but if the Republican Party nominates the “It’s His Turn” candidate this year, they will have missed a chance to rally the kind of populist wave that might finally bring real reform to Washington.


43 Responses to “Cain: The Last Hope Against Romney?”

  1. ThePaganTemple
    October 7th, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

    Okay, where you’re making your mistake, RSM, with all due respect, is assuming there’s no racism involved. Even if there’s not, it is still a question that needs to be addressed, if for no other reason that, since these are establishment Republicans we’re talking about, any accusations of racism will have them breaking out in a sweat and wringing their hands in fearful agony. Maybe, just maybe, it will cause them to reconsider their position. Yeah, its a low blow, but its good enough for them, they are definitely not above using shady tactics and maneuvers their own selves.

  2. Dell Hill
    October 7th, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

    Regarding the lack of experience on the foreign policy stage; I could care less.  If we don’t elect a strong conservative as president – with an equally strong  supporting cast in the House and Senate – we won’t have any foreign policy concerns what-so-ever because we’ll be reduced to an over-sized version of Greece.  Our economy is set to default.  If that trend isn’t reversed soon, several other nations that base their currency on the US dollar will go down like Monica Lewinsky on Prom Night.

    The focus has to be on domestic, economic issues.  Leave the foreign policy to a team of experts in that area – commonly known as the Secretary of State and the State Department.

  3. Adjoran
    October 7th, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

    Enough of the spittle-flecked ranting, already!

    Leather Penguin is upset that an article on the moderate, uncommitted GOP bundlers like Georgette Mosbacher who were urging Christie to run and now are moving to Romney doesn’t mention Cain. 

    He uses this as evidence “these people are better than you.”  That’s idiotic.  First of all, he doesn’t know whether Mosbacher or anyone mentioned Cain, only that the writer didn’t include that in his article.  Lots of conclusions to jump to, as if he expected the old line DC Republicans like her to jump on an insurgent conservative’s bandwagon or something.And throwing “sheeple” around just adds to the suspicion the guy is in the lunatic fringe nut category.  You think this blog doesn’t get linked enough by big conservative blogs now, let it degenerate into conspiracy raving and see how many forget the URL entirely.

  4. Anonymous
    October 7th, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

    I think most people haven’t internalized Cain’s jump up to the first tier.  We’ll see.  He could still have a Dean-like meltdown (I’d rate that as a pretty low probability).

    For better or worse, non-politicians seem to be treated as fringe or amateur, at least for Presidential politics.  The job is certainly different than that of a business executive.It seems like the key for anyone is to get good operations in Iowa and New Hampshire to make sure they get a showing in at least one of those places.  I suppose it’s not impossible for the sort of Florida breakthrough that Giuliani counted on last time around.

  5. Anonymous
    October 7th, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

    I don’t care what that big owl says I’m not supporting Romney. Nominating mittens will inevitably lead to a “Conservatives for Cthulhu” movement and the irrevocable division of the GOP into conservatives and squishes.

  6. KingShamus
    October 7th, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

    I’ll concede that Herman Cain’s lack of political experience is gonna be hard for some to swallow.  It’s completely understandable; after all, the seasoned Ivy League geniuses that have run this country for the last 15 years have done such an obviously awesome job.

  7. Anonymous
    October 7th, 2011 @ 2:33 pm


  8. TC_LeatherPenguin
    October 7th, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

    Sorry; next time I’ll write “SATIRE” on the 2×4 before I whack you in the head.

  9. Joe
    October 7th, 2011 @ 3:07 pm

    BTW other than growing up in Indonesia, what foreign policy experience did Obama have before he was elected President?

  10. Steve in TN
    October 7th, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

    Gotta say it; a legitimate POTUS candidate has to have something more than “I’ll ask the generals” when it comes to foreign policy.  So far, Cain has little more than that, by his own admission.

  11. Dave
    October 7th, 2011 @ 3:34 pm
  12. John Hitchcock
    October 7th, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

    I’m a Palin supporter.  Before Palin decided not to run, I had her first in my list of 3, with Michele Bachmann second and Rick Perry third.  Bachmann has had a lot of unforced errors along the way and there’s a reason Perry was 3rd of 3: I don’t like him very much.

    And that caused me to take a second look at Cain.  I’m not on the Cain Train.  Two reasons for that are his very poor showing in Foreign Policy (which you noted in previous articles he’s trying to shore up) and his 9-9-9 plan which, if implemented, would be disastrous.

    All of the candidates have major flaws, so I’m left picking the least undesirable of the wallflowers.  Bachmann might be it, Perry might be it, Cain might be it.  But Romney ain’t it, and in the (impossible) chance that Ron Paul gets the nomination, I’m all-in 3rd Party.

  13. Anonymous
    October 7th, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

    Well, OK, but where else did anyone expect serious Christie supporters to go?

    I mean, I like what he’s been doing in NJ to fight the stupid, but really, he’s just acknowledging reality.  From what I’ve seen, he hasn’t really proposed to roll back a lot of the stuff NJ has done, but is at least trying to get the state to live within its means.  Fortunately, the NJ governor is really powerful, and he’s able to do a lot without the help of the legislature.

    But the general squishiness that was noted during the NJ Governor primaries hasn’t really changed.  And the obvious place for any of those people has probably always been Romney.  Since Christie has never really been in the Presidential polling, I’d assume that those guys have always been chalked up in the Romney column.

    The GOP really does have a fairly big tent, ideology-wise. 

  14. Roxeanne de Luca
    October 7th, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

    Sarah Palin had more national security experience than the last batch of gubernatorial candidates, combined, and that wasn’t good enough. For those who are short on memory, her security clearance was higher than Obama’s because of what she needed to know about Russia. 

    The “national security” issue, IMHO, is a huge red herring that is meant to favour the Establishment.  By their thinking, the only way one can have national security experience or foreign relations is to be in Washington.  In their minds, there is something about Congress that imbues its inhabitants with “foreign relations” or “national security” experience, a bit of diffusion of knowledge that sharpens the senses, enhances one’s understanding of our military and our country, and hones one’s decision-making abilities.

    Such crap.

  15. t-dahlgren
    October 7th, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

    The immediate questions are:  who drops first, and how that candidate’s supporters split themselves among the remaining candidates.

    There are more than enough non-Romney votes to ensure that he doesn’t get the nod.  His people are aware of this, and gaming the process of elimination to avoid this outcome is exactly what they are attempting to accomplish.

    Palin and Christie lurking off stage had him paralyzed, now he’s free to implement the plan.

  16. Anonymous
    October 7th, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

    Yes, “foreign policy experience” is often a red herring.  I think it’s more important to listen to what the candidate says to figure out how he thinks about the issues involved.

    Either way, it’s hard to discern what will actually happen, as evidenced by the pre- vs post-9/11 Bush stance on foreign policy.  Like so many topics, ultimately, you have to decide whether you trust the guy to make decisions.  Or at least trust him more than the other guy.

  17. Anonymous
    October 7th, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

    I’m not sure if I agree about the race card, but you have a point.

    We, the would-be insurgents (aka “bien-pensant fools”), often complain that the Stupid Party plays too nice with the vicious, unscrupulous “progressives.” Yet, when the establishment GOP shafts us once again, we tend to say, “thank you, sir, may I have another?”

    How can we expect them to learn how to play hardball when nobody within their own “family” gets tough with them?

  18. Anonymous
    October 7th, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

    Emphasizing foreign policy over domestic policy is putting the cart before the horse. A strong horse will carry the cart wherever it needs to go.

    Give me the guy/gal who can reintroduce the Constitutional principles that made America the economic powerhouse it is – that can re-energize the private sector and salvage our economy – and we’ll have no trouble wielding the big stick to amplify our soft voice.

    Right now our horse has mange from all the Marxists picking it apart. Cure the infection and the cart-pulling will become trivial.

  19. Anonymous
    October 7th, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

    That’s a fair point. All we know, for certain, is that the REPORTER was fixated on Romney and completely ignored Cain.

    On the other hand, I’ve observed within my own circle, that my establishment-friendly acquaintances recently decided that the nominating process is over – that Romney has won. Now, they only talk about whether Romney will be able to carry NC against Obama and, if he loses a state like NC, will he be able to make up the difference in states like CO and NH.

  20. Anonymous
    October 7th, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

    I concur absolutely the Owl worshipping Elitist but non-existent (is that what they told you?) Establishment GOP is going to insure 4 more years of zero if they insist on foisting mittens on the electorate. Conservatives for Cthulhu welcomes your support.

  21. ThePaganTemple
    October 7th, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

    My point exactly. Even more to the point, how can we force a change in the GOP establishment if we aren’t willing to play hardball with them?

  22. Anonymous
    October 7th, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

    First, I agree that Cain’s lack of foreign policy experience is not necessarily a big problem. He just needs to appoint top-notch advisors to provide expert input, from a range of perspectives (although there is no need to include the transnationalist perspective).

    For example, he’d have someone like John Bolton arguing with someone just as competent from the realist or non-interventionary side, and then it would be Cain’s job to be the “decider.” The last thing we want is a president who believes he is a policy expert (e.g., W. Wilson, JFK, Nixon, Carter, Bush I, Obama).   

    Second, RSM is right to suggest that the “Cult of Expertise” is not exclusively of “progressives.” On the right, we tend to wrongly claim that the impulse to control is mainly a characteristic of the left. Yet, the left has always had an anarchistic wing – which we see with the Occupy Wall Street freaks – while the right-elite (slow motion progressives?) has included plenty of control-freak wannabe technocrats (Romney shows flashes of being that type). The problem is the left has dangerously bad ideas, more than it’s control-hungry.

    Third, sorry RSM, but populism is not an appropriate response to elitism. They are two-sides of the same coin. Populism and elitism reinforce eachother.

  23. MSNBC’s Draft-Dodging Lawrence O’Donnell Accused Herman Cain of Draft-Dodging | The Lonely Conservative
    October 7th, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

    […] Herman Cain soared ahead of Mitt Romney in the latest Zogby poll. He even pulled ahead of Obama. His message must be resonating. No wonder the libs are coming out against him with both barrels.google_ad_client = […]

  24. Anonymous
    October 7th, 2011 @ 4:43 pm

    I agree completely about the DC establishment defining “experience” as having spent time within their sphere.

    I’m more interested in governing philosophy, temperament, leadership qualities, executive ability (including in the private sector). As I mention below, the last thing we should want is a foreign policy expert as president. By the standards of his day, Woodrow Wilson was a foreign policy expert.

  25. Shawn Gillogly
    October 7th, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

    I am 100% in agreement. It’s amazing how Conservatives are told time and again to sit down, shut up, and like the Establishment Squish in the name of “Party Unity.” But when the Establishment candidate loses (Hoffman NY-23, Castle, or w/ Angle in Nevada) the “Moderates” bolt and vote with the Dims and then say “See, this is what happens when you don’t consider ‘electability.’

    What the Rovian backstabbers are really saying is, “This is what happens when we don’t get what we want. We take our ball and go home.”

    Every time I see Karl Rove on Fox giving so-called ‘objective’ advice to the GOP field, when we all know he’s already 100% in the Romney camp, I want to hurl. The political class, in both parties, is the problem. And we need a good Goldwater purge of the Bush leftovers, even if it does mean 4 more years of gridlock.

    Because having a Conservative movement bereft of ideas and voice for 4 more years as we have to watch the Statists ‘lead’ on the Dim-light path is no better, long-term for either the nation or Conservatism than 4 more years of honest opposition.

  26. The Cult of "Expertise" Says Herman Cain's Not Qualified. (zero)bama Was? | marfdrat
    October 7th, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

    […] the rest at The Other McCain. __spr_config = { pid: '4e8c535c396cef6ff50003d6', title: 'The Cult of "Expertise" Says […]

  27. Tennwriter
    October 7th, 2011 @ 5:37 pm

    CONSERVATIVES for Cthulu/Nyarlothotep!!

    Can I join too?

  28. Anonymous
    October 7th, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

    Certainly, all who oppose the evil “cat’s paw covers” are welcome.

  29. MSNBC’s Draft-Dodging Lawrence O’Donnell Accused Herman Cain of Draft-Dodging | Herman Cain PAC
    October 7th, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

    […] Herman Cain soared ahead of Mitt Romney in the latest Zogby poll. He even pulled ahead of Obama. His message must be resonating. No wonder the libs are coming out against him with both […]

  30. ThePaganTemple
    October 7th, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

    It’s a damn shame that the establishment Republicans are declaring Romney the victor already when the man has never broke thirty percent in any polls. And I know his supporters will say there’s so many people in the field, but there aren’t that many of his, er, caliber. You have Huntsman, and arguably Newt, who frankly I would have zero problem supporting. But the way things stand now if you add Romney, Huntsman’s, and Gingrich’s support, you still won’t break forty percent. So you have to wonder just how solid is Mitt’s support right now, as he hovers around 24%.

    To be fair, I don’t think anybody’s support is really rock solid at this stage.

    And I want to say again, at the risk of bringing down the wrath of Adjoran on my head, Bachmann was really impressive yesterday on Fox.

  31. Formerly Skeptic
    October 7th, 2011 @ 9:53 pm

    THIS!  I don’t demand that a candidate have Washington insider experience or have spent time as an ambassador, but anyone who desires to be President of the United States needs to have at least THOUGHT about the World and our place in it.  He need not have all the answers, but he should be able to articulate a position.  This is one of the areas Sarah Palin was very weak in, and she has done a far better job at it than Cain.

  32. Anonymous
    October 7th, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

    And that’s the damnable misery of it all. Obama only beat McCain by 14,000 votes in 08 here in NC. By contrast Kaye Hagan(D) beat senator Dole (R) by well over 350,000 votes. Unemployment is going up and our Democratic Governor wants to suspend elections and said so publicly and while being recorded. We elected Republican majorities in both houses of the state legislature for the first time since the 1890s last year. Yet the owl worshippers think its a good idea to nominate Mitt Romney even though they doubt he can win in NC!?!!?
    Conservative for Cthulhu will not support Mitt Romney, if that’s the best we can do we deserve to be defeated.

  33. maxi
    October 7th, 2011 @ 11:46 pm

    Maybe you need to support a black candidate to “prove” you’re not a racist, but I don’t… and I won’t. We don’t need another trainee in the white house no matter what color he is.

  34. Daialanye
    October 8th, 2011 @ 2:08 am

    C’mon, now. If Cain were to magically turn Caucasian tomorrow he’d still be ignorant on most policy matters and prone to gaffes. He’s an excellent speaker, but the US elected an excellent speaker (although ‘reader’ might be a better description) last time. We need to look for knowledge and experience beyond calling together committees to make recommendations, Cain’s most common answer when pinned down.

    Would I vote for Cain against Obama? In a heartbeat, but I’d rather see Santorum or even Newt get the nomination.
    Perry? I don’t see much intellectual heft there.
    Romney? Still can’t figure out what he really believes.
    The rest? No thank you.

  35. TC_LeatherPenguin
    October 8th, 2011 @ 6:40 am

    “Well, OK, but where else did anyone expect serious Christie supporters to go?”

    Considering Fatty McAwesome consistently said he had no intention of entering the primary race, I believe those people would be decamped to Bellevue… or, in the hazy days, Willowbrook.

  36. ThePaganTemple
    October 8th, 2011 @ 7:50 am

    He imbibed only the best of imported cocaine.

  37. Anonymous
    October 8th, 2011 @ 8:56 am

    In what way would the 9-9-9 plan be disasterous?

    I think it will help provide a boost the economy.

  38. Anonymous
    October 8th, 2011 @ 9:04 am

    The fear (for me at least) is that we’re opening up a new type of taxation to the federal government.  I think moving to a consumption tax has benefits, but a consumption tax plus income taxes is a non-starter.  This is part of why the Fair Tax will never happen.  Who really thinks the 16th amendment is going anywhere?

    You’ll recall the trial balloons not too long ago about a VAT.

    Either way, I think focusing on the tax code as our biggest economic problem is a mistake (please don’t imagine that I said it isn’t an issue).  It’s the regulatory leviathan that’s our biggest problem, IMHO.  Now, if an executive actually did what Obama said he was going to do about regulations, we’d have something.
    Let’s start with Obamacare, SARBOX, and Dodd-Frank, and start slashing cabinet agencies, or at least their budgets.  Those sorts of cuts won’t balance the budget on their own, but if we can remove some of their ability to stifle and regulate, we’ll be in a much better position.

  39. Joe
    October 8th, 2011 @ 9:50 am

    Santorum would lose. Nor does he have any foreign policy experience (other than being a Senator). Santorum would likely not win Pensylvania. And he endorsed Spector.

    As for Newt…Remember Dede Scozzafava!

  40. Anonymous
    October 8th, 2011 @ 10:37 am

    Meh…Dede Scozzafava.  That doesn’t bother me too much.  That’s more or less a tactical error or whatever.  The NY Republican selection process was dumb, but it was what it was, and there’s a case to be made to trust the locals to know the local situation.

    No, Newt’s doom for me was the Global Warming commercial he did with Pelosi.  I still think he’s an interesting guy, and has a lot of interesting ideas, but I haven’t trust his judgment since that commercial.

    I think it was Kevin Williamson on Red Eye, who said that Newt’s ideal role was to stick him in the basement of the White House and let him come up with stuff.  Then, you could filter out the nonsense, and keep the several brilliant ideas he’d come up with and run with them.  The problem is making sure that filter is there.

  41. Anonymous
    October 8th, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

    Newt for Presidential Science & Technology Advisor 2012!

  42. Quartermaster
    October 8th, 2011 @ 5:34 pm

    All the “Not-Cain” candidates have one thing in common, they are all part of the GOP establishment. Christie is the type of guy they like as well, which is why many of them salivate at him running.

    The name of the political game is power so you can distribute goodies to your faction.  Good governance is not even on the list of priorities, much less low on the list.Cain is not one of them, and they fear such people. The color of the skin is irrelevant in this case.

  43. The Other McCain’s RINO problem | Truth Has a Chance
    October 10th, 2011 @ 8:23 am

    […] for their very recent coverage of Herman Cain’s rise in the presidential polls.  See here, here, and here.  He is right to be indignant.  The Other McCain has been saying Cain […]