Herman Cain, a successful businessman and radio talk-show host from Atlanta, became the first official Republican presidential contender this week, by forming an exploratory committee. He once left a cushy job with Burger King to rescue Godfather’s Pizza from bankruptcy, so he’s a guy who loves playing for high stakes against long odds.
Cain is a professional mathematician, and he knows the numbers in Washington don’t add up. He’s good at geometry, too, having been unimpressed by Bill Clinton’s attempts at triangulation. He was a major player in the defeat of HillaryCare back in 1994, after a legendary town-hall showdown with President Clinton. If our current hard-Left President tries scrambling to the center during his re-election campaign, he’ll find Cain standing at the meridian with some paperwork for him to fill out. Stock up on popcorn if Cain gets a chance to debate Obama face-to-face.
Cain is black, and has a great deal of fun mocking racial hypersensitivity. The Atlantic relates one such incident from a GOP event in New Orleans last year, when Cain reviewed the liberal caricature of Tea Party activists as “racist, redneck tea baggers”… then declared, “I had to go look in the mirror to see if I missed something!” If he runs against Obama, the Left had better shuffle the Race Card out of their deck, and resist their usual temptation to rescind the blackness of conservative African Americans. They would dissolve in a gale of Herman Cain’s laughter.
He’s never held office before, with his previous political experience limited to an unsuccessful run at the GOP Senate nomination for Georgia in 2004. He doesn’t have a lot of political money or connections, and he’s not very well-known outside of Atlanta. (Want to change that? You can listen to his show live, 7:00 to 9:00 PM Eastern, on WSB 750 AM / 95.5 FM in Atlanta. The station offers an online stream, plus podcasts, at their website.)
Cain is well aware of his disadvantages, proudly declaring himself a “dark horse candidate.” In an interview with CNN after his presidential announcement, he thanks people for saying he can’t win, because he finds that inspirational. He calls himself “The Hermanator.” He didn’t let Stage 4 colon cancer stop him, and figures nothing else will, either.
In a country sick to death of politicized economics, a feisty outsider with extensive business experience can command attention. Americans say they want “outside the box” thinking. Herman Cain is playing handball against the side of the box, and doesn’t care if the noise bothers anyone sleeping within. I hope his exploratory committee renders a good diagnosis to his presidential bid. I’ve rarely been more interested in watching someone take a long shot.