The Other McCain

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

The Herman Cain Rorschach Test Continues To Mystify

Posted on | November 3, 2011 | 20 Comments

by Smitty

Herman Cain personally goes after Rick Perry’s campaign for the Politico scandal-ette:From Politicalistas:

It is suspicious that someone very close to the Perry campaign has recently distanced himself from the campaign as a “general consultant”. Dave Carney is known as one of the best political hit-men in the business.

More at the link.
Meanwhile, Dan Riehl links Dana Milbank and expresses his concerns about Cain:

Unfortunately, this is why I’ve been so against [Cain]. For reasons I can’t fully disclose, I concluded early on it was a lark and I resented the hell out of it. Yeah, maybe because Palin didn’t run and Perry imploded he received more attention than he thought he would going in and he upped his game a notch. But it’s always been just a notch. One of his big boasts is how much money he’s taken in … but, in essence, hasn’t spent.
The campaign irregularities now being investigated? Look, Cain isn’t a dumb guy. They didn’t care because they never thought any of it would matter. He’d sell some books, raise some cash, maybe take a shot at Saxby Chambliss for the Senate down the road, or something else – more radio affiliates, a Fox gig, etc…. But the dude just wasn’t in it to win it.

The problems that we seem to have with politics in general in the country are:

  • The primary phase resembles a high school class presidency campaign that collided with an episode of Seinfeld. Is candidate X doing a good job making nice-nice with the dyslexic Iowa soccer-mom demographic? Did candidate Y‘s campaign adequately staff the response to the accusation of having a sloppy shoe shine?
  • The boring, and important parts of public policy are almost nowhere on display. Does the Ruling Class simply think that We The People can’t handle the truth? We should be poring over the various tax plans of each candidate, and, in contrast, pillorying the abdication of leadership embodied in the Democrat Senate and Executive. Instead: piffle.

I don’t subscribe to Steynian negativity, in the long run. The country is in overall denial about how far things have decayed. So the silliness of the current campaign can be seen as avoidance behavior. But I submit that history repeats itself because of a sinusoidal nature. We’re bottoming out right now, before things improve.

Cain is a fine American, and one I could support with enthusiasm. Or not. No individual personalities matter. This Office of President isn’t just Dancing with the Stars, hold the dancing. The Commander-in-Chief is a commander, not some irreplaceable priest-king. That we seem to have forgotten the basic nature of the job as a job with Constitutional bounds is yet another sign of decay. I don’t even think the Reagan aggrandizement is helpful.



20 Responses to “The Herman Cain Rorschach Test Continues To Mystify”

  1. Finrod Felagund
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

    My take: if the Perry campaign didn’t want to be blamed for this, then people connected to the Perry campaign shouldn’t have been saying for weeks that the oppo research was going to doom Cain.

    That’s just plain common sense, unfortunately common sense isn’t so common any more, especially when politics is involved.

  2. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

    No individual personalities matter.

    I think you’re overselling this.  Laws and limitations are good things, but they all require men to implement them.  It’s a tough job, and things don’t always go your way.  How you react to adversity is very important.

    Do you get depressed and then withdraw and only deal with your inner circle (as SCOAMF has been rumored) or dust yourself off and figure out what’s going wrong and correct?

    Are you more likely to make missteps requiring corrections?  What about dealing with a hostile press (even SCOAMF is learning what that’s like)?

    Are you going to try to shift blame (Bush/Perry/Global Warming did it!)?

    That’s not to say that you’re entirely wrong about what we focus on.

  3. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

    “We should be poring over the various tax plans of each candidate”

    Well, okay, you asked for it.

    Thus far my only real comment on Cain’s tax plan is that it’s a complicated mess when what’s needed is simplification and reduction.

    But, let’s get real about why Cain proposed “9-9-9.”

    He’s obsessed with the number 45, and even devoted a whole chapter in his book to the topic of how the number 45 has influenced his life and pre-destined him to greatness.

    9 = 4+ 5

    There’s a very good chance that the real explanation for the “9-9-9” dog’s breakfast is that he wanted to keep his lucky number involved in his policy proposals.

    Hey, maybe when he’s president, he’ll launch a national initiative to craft policy by collecting old 45 rpm records and listening to them for secret messages.

    Or appoint the remaining membership of Stars On 45 to the Cabinet.

    “Lark” is probably taking Cain more seriously than he deserves.

  4. Joe
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

    Or it could be that 9-9-9 sounded sort of catchy and happened to be the number that roughly resulted in parity with the current tax system’s revenues. 

    Cain’s system is less complicated than the current tax system, but it is hard to sell a system to those people whose taxes will go up.  That is why raising taxes on the rich is so popular with the Dems–there are not that many rich to vote no and most really rich Dems (Republicans) know quite well that you could raise taxes to 99% on them and they would just divert money to other countries or make less and avoid the tax just fine.  Of course the payback is you make investiment in the United States less attractive and it curtails growth. 

    The people really hurt are those small business owners and kulaks who get wacked. 

  5. Joe
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

    If what Dan is saying is correct, then Cain deserves scorn.  I do not think Dan is correct and I hope he is wrong, but some of this stuff shows a lack of seriousness in the campaign and a lack of discipline and it will come and bite them in the ass if it is not corrected. 

    A campaign is like an ocean liner.  It cannot turn or stop on a dime.   And the S.S. Cain is in the middle of the ice bergs now. 

  6. On The Case With Jeff Goldstein « The Camp Of The Saints
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

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  7. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

    Well, 9-9-9 certainly does sound catchy.

    As to what its effect on government revenues would be, forecasts of that type are unreliable — and the more factors you tinker with, the more unreliable the forecasts get, because those tax rates are surrounded by a complex economy full of factors that are themselves difficult to predict or model.

    To put it bluntly, if Herman Cain or anyone else tells you he knows what impact 9-9-9 would have on government revenues, he’s either lying or naive, neither of which are good indicators.

    To the extent that I have much in common with real conservatives, that common ground is on tax policy and it is this: Any change in the tax code should be a reduction, a simplification, or both.

    Adding a new layer of taxation like a national sales tax  — be it one of those Cain nines or the “Fair” Tax — is a needless addition of complexity which, among other things, creates all kinds of new opportunities for congressional fuckery and special interest lobbying.

    Here the latest version of my phased tax simplification/reduction proposal:

    1) Pass legislation which automatically increases the personal exemption to the income tax by X% each year, unless 2/3 of both houses of Congress and the president agree otherwise. Leave everything else exactly in place at first — that alone gives everyone who pays taxes a tax cut every year, and takes some of the lowest-earning Americans off the income tax rolls altogether each year.

    2) Once we get to the left side of the Laffer Curve — government revenues actually start going down — leave those automatic exemption increases in place but start removing deductions and credits, a few at a time, carefully. Maybe a 20% cut in the Earned Income Credit each year for five years until it’s gone. Then get rid of the mortgage interest deduction — with existing mortgages grandfathered so that there’s no wave of foreclosures over it. And so on and so forth.

    3) Once all that social engineering is out of the tax code (the changes being cushioned by that continually growing exemption), start merging the rates toward each other until there’s one flat rate.

    What you end up with is a flat income tax with a high personal exemption but not a bunch of complicated, lobbying-susceptible deductions and credits. And at any step along the way if it prangs revenues, Congress can suspend the exemption increase for a year, or hold off on the next phase of change, to let revenues catch back up (although hopefully they’ll be cutting spending at the same time, hint, hint).

  8. Finrod Felagund
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

    Complicated mess?  Cain’s plan is the simplest one out there, as it scraps the whole current fustercluck of a tax code, including FICA, the gift tax, the death tax, capital gains tax, and all that crap.

    Compare to Perry’s flat tax, which repeals none of that; it just adds another layer onto the current system, effectively just creating a different 1040-EZ option.

  9. Doc Clear
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

    The bottom line is that Dan was a Palin man and then took the Perry kool aid with the rest of the Hot Air type bloggers.  It’s been nothing but venom with these guys and attacks from made up sources and various nitpicking and even nitpicking on made up things.  Which is funny because you’d figure that someone like Dan Riehl would be smart enough to see the treatment Palin got at the hands of the same bloggers he’s in bed with for Perry.  Only now HE’S the one giving Cain the Palin treatment. 

    Furthermore, even if the story is 100% true…  Who’s to say Herman slipped her the black snake of death?  Maybe what distraught her more than anything was the fact that once smashed he took her to his place to protect her from herself and was a perfect gentleman and to her dismay he didn’t find her worthy of cheating on his wife with.  Who knows?  I can say that it’s happened before both ways.  I’ve met plenty of ‘scorned’ women who feel it’s necessary to destroy a man’s life just for turning her down.  I’ve also known plenty of men who have put themselves in borderline rape situations regarding taking advantage of drunken girls. 

    I have hardened my support on Cain due to the other candidates turning out to be scum bags.  Maybe Santorum isn’t but that’s about it.  I do think we should hear out the whole thing though with all the facts.  Either way, wherever the chips fall.  Heck, I’d vote for Paul over Romney, Perry, or Bachman, and that’s pretty extreme since I can’t ever see myself voting for Paul. 

    Bottom line, I don’t trust the Beta male RINO bloggers anymore.  It was irritating when they were doing it to Palin and it’s even worse now that it’s official season.  And Riehl has turned into a Riehl disappointment.

  10. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 3:38 pm


    You might want to take a closer look at 9-9-9 if you think it’s that simple.

    Yes, it eliminates some existing taxes — and introduces at least one new one.

    Yes, the taxes are “flat” except that they aren’t, and deductions are eliminated, except for the ones that aren’t (the “charitable contribution” deduction) and the ones that are added (for living or working in an “Empowerment Zone”).

    Furthermore, he admits that it’s a stalking horse program for the “Fair” Tax — the most monumentally stupid tax plan ever proposed, under which the only person on earth I know of who would be better off is me, if I accepted welfare disguised as an “advance rebate.”

  11. Adjoran
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

    Does no one ever pay attention to the old Washington wisdom:  “It’s not the deed that does you in; it’s the cover-up”?

    Cain is going down because he’s been lying his fool ass off.  He can’t even pick a single lie and stick with it.  His lies change from interview to interview, even though he had 12 years to prepare his side and 10 days notice of the breaking news.  Lies, lies, lies.  Then he thinks he divert attention by blaming Perry?


    The boring, and important parts of public policy are almost nowhere on
    display. Does the Ruling Class simply think that We The People can’t
    handle the truth? We should be poring over the various tax plans of each
    candidate, and, in contrast, pillorying the abdication of leadership
    embodied in the Democrat Senate and Executive. Instead: piffle.

    Can you explain to me just HOW “the Ruling Class” is stopping YOU personally from doing what you say “we” should be doing?

    Piffle indeed.  All over you.

  12. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

    He completely lost me with the empowerment zones. Tax preferences  often benefit people or industries based on locale but are written maintaining the pretense at least that they don’t. Once tax preferences are explicitly given based on location the next step will be to start using an areas cost of living to index tax rates. 

  13. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 5:26 pm


    I hadn’t thought of that particular problem, but you’re right.

    One of the problems that occurs to me is the same old preference/corruption problem that goes with any kind of government preference program. President Smith’s friend doesn’t just choose to build a factory in an Empowerment Zone — President Smith’s subordinates put an Empowerment Zone around the area where his friend wants to build a factory.

  14. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

    The sole legitimate purpose of tax policy is to raise the necessary revenue for the government to execute it’s proper duties.

    The inevitable corruption of the tax code you allude to starts as a trickle and rapidly becomes a flood as soon as exceptions are made. Phase out all deductions over five years.

  15. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 6:01 pm

    Cain knew the truth of what happened all along and had plenty of heads up that it was coming. His campaign should have been able to stay ahead of this all the way.

  16. smitty
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

    The flaw I see in your plan is that you leave too much power in DC. My idea is: 
    a) Have DC bill states annually, like a subscription, and have the 57 states tax farm the residents.b) The federal budget is capped at the previous year’s receipts, with declared war being the only excuse for budget deficits.
    c) Shortfalls from the states are filled by a sales tax against that state.
    Federalism boils down to the question of whether the 57 states even matter anymore.

  17. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

    “…We’re bottoming out right now, before things improve.”

    I hope you’re right but I’m of Steynian inclinations. I think we’ve been boiling so long we don’t recognize the refreshing drink we once had. And now we frogs have a more than significant population of generational peers in and out of government who refuse to turn off the flame.

    Might we have a hiccup wherein we experience a brief relief? Yes, the Tea Party gives us just that chance; but even then, post-“revolution,” we are so removed from our Founders’ vision that we cannot possibly see how far we’ve fallen. Because of that The State will prevail and individual liberty will choke until a real Revolution 2.0 returns. It won’t and cannot be pleasant, but history proves it inevitable. It is the human condition.

  18. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 7:47 pm

    Optimism is a good thing, Smitty.  But the “sinusoidal” thingy has so far not prevented the collapse of any great nation.

    If any nation can beat the odds its ours, so long as the voters can still vote (and have those votes actually count).

  19. Anonymous
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 8:45 pm


    In the context of federalism, your plan is great.

    The problem is that federalism is as dead as that parrot of John Cleese’s, and is buried in such a way as to virtually guarantee that nothing short of revolution (the real thing, not the kind that the political parties are always claiming has just taken place) can resurrect it.

    32 states receive more in federal funding than their citizens pay in federal taxes. That’s 64 Senators and a number I don’t care to calculate of US Representatives who have no intention of doing anything that might upset the existing applecart.

    18 states receive less in federal funding than their citizens pay in federal taxes. The aforementioned politicians of the 32 states know damn well that if taxes are apportioned by state population, those 18 states will demand parity in federal funding, and if they don’t get it eventually say “OK, enough is enough — this year, we’re deducting last year’s difference — and if you try to impose that sales tax to get it, you’ll be wanting to make sure you have enough troops handy to cover every cash register in the state.”

  20. smitty
    November 3rd, 2011 @ 9:08 pm

    That is an excellent rebuttal.
    Concur federalism is dead; we let the Progressives do an end-run on it over the last century, and now they say it’s ‘settled law’.
    This is why I argue that Progressivism is dead. Federalism will only come back as a phoenix from the ashes, if at all. Breaking DC’s grip seems like the only starting place.
    Would that we lived in less interesting times, friend.