Herman Cain is running for the Republican nomination to be their candidate for President in the 2012 election. To say that he’s not your usual Presidential candidate is an understatement. As far as I’m concerned, he’s a breath of fresh air in what can be the stultifying world of political candidates.
Let’s take a quick look at his life. He has truly lived the American dream.
Herman Cain grew up in Atlanta in the 1950’s and 60’s with, as his bio says, “loving parents and little else”. His father worked three jobs and his mother was a domestic worker. Their dream was for their two children to go to college. Herman graduated from Morehouse College in 1967 with a degree in mathematics, and his brother graduated from Morris Brown College. Mission accomplished.
Herman went on to get a Master’s degree in computer science from Purdue University while working full-time for the Department of the Navy (as a civilian employee). After moving back to Atlanta, he took a job as a computer systems analyst for Coca-Cola. His mathematics and computer science degrees made Herman somewhat of a techno-geek of that time. He liked the work, but gravitated toward business management. He moved to Pillsbury and became regional vice-president of the Burger King division. Herman was assigned to a low performing region of 450 restaurants, and within three years it became the best performing segment of the company.
With that success under his belt (no pun intended), Herman accepted the challenge to become President of Godfather’s Pizza, a company that was close to bankruptcy. Herman and his management team returned Godfather’s to profitability; then they bought the company!
All of this led to Herman being named President of the National Restaurant Association, a trade and lobbying group for the restaurant industry. In this role, he once had the opportunity to speak to President Clinton regarding the impact to businesses of Clinton’s proposed health care overhaul. Herman challenged the President on this issue, which gained Herman some national attention. Newsweek magazine credited him with being one of the primary reasons that Hillarycare got nowhere.
Herman’s work at the National Restaurant Association gave him the opportunity to work with business leaders across the country. This resulted in him being named to the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He subsequently became Chairman of the Board.
Think about this life. Here is a person who started with literally nothing except his God-given talents, a desire to get ahead, and a willingness to work hard to make it happen. And look at what he’s accomplished! Only in America; that’s what I love about this country.
Now Herman is running for President, because he thinks the country is headed in the wrong direction. He sees a big, bloated federal government that is exerting too much control over almost everything; he sees an economy that is on life-support with no improvement in sight; he sees federal government policies that are making the economic problem worse; he sees out-of-control federal spending; he sees a President who only wants more of the same. Herman wants to get us back on track as a nation so that the American dream he experienced can continue to be available to future generations and so we will remain the land of the free.
I had the opportunity to hear Herman speak live at an event last June. At that time, he was getting little attention, and many of the political elite were saying that this pizza guy had no chance to get the nomination. Herman came out on stage and blew the others away. No one else was close. His catch line was: I didn’t get that memo (saying I have no chance), so I’m going on. Nicely done, I thought.
Speaking of the “pizza guy”, I really do wish Herman would let it be known that he was Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City. Given that the economy is one of our major problems and there is all of this talk about monetary policy, quantitative easing, inflation/deflation, interest rates, etc., I don’t understand why Herman doesn’t play up his experience in this area more. No other candidate has this kind of monetary policy experience
Now Herman is pushing his “9-9-9” plan to improve the economy and overhaul the federal tax code. His plan is getting a lot of attention. It’s all over the news, the internet, and even The Wall Street Journal did a piece on it. In one of the recent debates, the other candidates were attacking 9-9-9 from all angles, which was curious, I thought, since at the time the only other candidate with an economic plan was Romney. So all of the others who had no plan were attacking Cain’s plan!
Herman’s 9-9-9 plan does, however, need to be discussed and debated. That’s as it should be. But whatever you may think of 9-9-9, Herman deserves credit for taking a bold position and for initiating a national discussion on this major issue, rather than tiptoeing through the tulips, as politicians are wont to do.
And that brings me to another reason why I like what I see in Cain: He’s not a career politician. Herman isn’t running for President because he’s next in line, or because this is his next promotion, or because he’s good at telling people what they want to hear, or because he has been pandering to various special interest groups his whole life and they will now support him, or for his own self-aggrandizement.
Not being a career politician has another benefit: Herman has no fear of the party bosses. They didn’t make him, and they can’t hurt him. His career isn’t at stake. He’s already made it in life. He is untouchable.
Herman has lived his life in the real world; a world where he solved problems instead of just talking about them. It’s a world where posturing isn’t enough; you actually have to deliver. He wants to be elected President so he can lead the way in solving our nation’s problems and ensuring that America remains that shining city on a hill, the world’s last best hope, the greatest nation on Earth.