The halls of CPAC have echoed with the crossfire of potential candidates telling each other they can’t possibly win the White House. Herman Cain, former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and the Godfather of Long Shots, has said he enjoys being told he can’t win, because it leads his opponents to underestimate him. He was a formidable presence when he took the stage on Friday.
Other people talk or shout from the stage, but Cain sings. He doesn’t deliver lines to them like Mitt Romney, or feed off their energy like Donald Trump. He belts out the music of his vision, and invites the audience to sing along, or at least tap their feet to his rhythm. Where others talk about their belief in America, Cain loves to talk about the America he believes in. He mentioned he has lived on this Earth for 65 years, but when he sings of America, he loses fifteen years in the blink of an eye.
He sees that great nation smothered beneath “too much regulation, legislation, and taxation.” (Cain has a predilection for grouping things in threes.) He denounced a regulatory burden that drops $10,000 in compliance cost on businesses for every employee they hire, and found it sad, but not surprising, that they don’t hire more people.
Cain would alleviate that burden by repealing ObamaCare, which he pronounced “an absolute disaster.” Not one to fool around with half measures, he said the “only way to fix our messed-up tax code is to throw it out and put in a whole new system,” by which he meant the “Fair Tax,” a simple national sales tax he has long advocated as a substitution for our immensely complex and depressing tax code.
He proposed “three things we have to do to get this nation off the wrong track, and onto the right track.” (Another trinity!) First, he wants us to “stay informed,” because “stupid people are ruining America.” He praised knowledge as “our greatest weapon in this fight,” and Is convinced that “mediocrity is not in America’s DNA.”
Second, Cain asserted, we should “stay involved.” He recounted various attempts to intimidate him into silence. Although he is black, some of these attempts have included charges of racism, because “if you disagree with a liberal you must be a racist, no matter what color you are.”
In Cain’s opinion, “you’re not a racist for disagreeing with liberals – you’re a patriot!” He has particular disdain for those who insist all criticism of Barack Obama is based in racism, because “if we can’t criticize our leaders, we have become a nation of tyranny… and that will not happen on our watch.”
Third, he encouraged Americans to “stay inspired.” Cain has such a wealth of inspiration himself that he’s just giving it away. He says his inspiration comes from “God, and my father and mother,” and can be readily shared by anyone willing to believe in “God, yourself, and the greatest country in the world.” He holds a quote from the great scholar Benjamin Mays as his motto: “It is not a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream.”
He is angry about the damage done to America by the Obama Democrats, but undaunted by the magnitude of the challenge ahead. “Patriots don’t get tired, they get energized,” he explained. “The citizen’s movement of the Tea Party is real, and it’s not over yet.” He cautioned that the Left “wants you to believe we can’t complete the journey of taking back our government,” but declared “we are fighting back.” Despair is the currency of the statist, and the barbed hook affixed to the chain of dependence. Cleansing despair from our culture is, therefore, a high priority item on the Cain agenda.
He relishes a spirited debate, and offered his audience a little seminar on dealing with the three most common liberal tactics of shifting the subject, ignoring the facts, and name-calling, which he bundles together with the acronym “SIN”. (Another trinity!)
Most importantly, Cain urged conservatives to take responsibility for fixing the problems around us, instead of just complaining about them. He told the story of seeing his granddaughter for the first time, a dozen years ago, and asking himself, “What can I do to make this a better world for her?” He learned that “when your children are born, you focus on the future of your family, but when your grandchildren are born, you focus on the future of the nation.” Inspiration is the gift of possibility, and when Herman Cain fills a hall with his musical voice, many unlikely things seem possible.