Herman Cain formally announced his bid for the Presidency in a rally in Atlanta on Saturday, telling the crowd that a new generation of “defending fathers” is needed to preserve the legacy of the Founding Fathers. He released a video to bring his campaign theme to a larger audience:
The video follows Cain from a heartland farm to the boardroom of America, Incorporated, where he promises to do for us what he did for Godfather’s Pizza. Alas, he is not wearing a six-gun during his gunslinger entrance in this video, but no one can stop you from pretending it’s there.
Backed by the kind of soundtrack that would have accompanied the training montage in an 80s action film, Cain declares, “It won’t be easy, but we can turn this country around. Our children and our grandchildren will know greater success, and greater opportunity. There is no greater force on Earth than the united will of the American people. The sleeping giant – We The People – have awakened.”
“The Founding Fathers did their job when they created the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution” explains Cain. “Let us do our job as the Defending Fathers of these great documents. Let us remind the world that our rights do not come from a man, or a committee, nor a czar, but from our Creator!” Note to other public speakers: make it clear where the italics and exclamation points belong in your transcripts, like Herman Cain does.
Cain addresses his history as a cancer survivor head-on in the video. “When the doctors told me I had stage four cancer, and that I had only a 30% chance of being here today… I got a second opinion,” he says, in a setting that makes it clear the second opinion came from a much higher authority. “It wasn’t easy, but I am now totally cancer-free!” You can tell where the boldface belongs in his transcripts, too. If he wins the Presidency, his press conferences will read like an e.e. cummings poetry revival.
We’re checking out of Hospice America, even if Cain has to push our gurney right over a protesting Nurse Obama. “We will preserve and assure that these United States of America – the greatest nation the planet has ever seen – will not compromise her legacy. She will not accept debt, or the mantle of mediocrity… and she surely will never, ever go quietly into the night.”
Cain has been routinely dismissed by the A-list talking heads as a long-shot outsider, whose campaign is for “entertainment purposes only,” as columnist Charles Krauthammer described it. He’s stumbled a bit on foreign policy, giving a reasonable but uninspiring answer about consulting with experts when asked about Afghanistan during the GOP debate in South Carolina.
Over the weekend, he got into some hot water when it became apparent he didn’t completely understand the meaning of the phrase “right of return” when applied to Palestinian “refugees.” He thought it meant allowing them to return to a nascent Palestinian state, and couldn’t see anything wrong with that. (Hamas would say he got that part right, and was simply unclear about how big that “nascent Palestinian state” is going to be.) When the concept of flooding Israel with those refugees was explained to him, he promptly declared himself against it. He should do a little more homework on the hot-button foreign policy issues, but I’ll take his well-meaning learning curve over President Obama’s malevolent arrogance any day of the week.
Herman Cain doesn’t have a huge political apparatus or a war chest stuffed with campaign cash. He’s got three big assets: his ideas, the way he expresses them, and a “second opinion” about despair that he only needed to hear once. He benefited greatly from the exposure he got during the early GOP debate in South Carolina. His continued success will depend on his ability to inspire that “sleeping giant” to roll out of bed, and force the Republican establishment to take him seriously. If you don’t want to see him debate Barack Obama, check your pulse.
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