Charges against Cain Cannot Be Ignored
Herman Cain supporters have accepted his narrative that he is an American success story. The question is, just how much of that "success" did he earn on his own? And is it really the Horatio Alger story we are led to believe?
During the late '70s and the '80s, Herman Cain was an employee of big consumer product corporations, starting with Coca Cola. He was not an entrepreneur. He didn't take any risks with his own capital. Cain went from an entry-level analyst position to top management in one decade. He was made what would normally be called a regional manager by Burger King. He was then made manager of a small subsidiary by Pillsbury. It is distasteful to ask, but would Cain's rocket to the top have happened without the special treatment and considerations given him as a result of affirmative action? Many conservatives are convinced that Barack Obama's rise was fueled by racial preferences, so they cannot blink in the face of the same possibility working in Herman Cain's favor.
Affirmative action had recently become the law of the land. Big corporations were under pressure to prove they were complying. True conservatives have never accepted the premise of affirmative action -- that you can reach equality by suppressing the rights of others by government edict. Yet Herman Cain defended affirmative action in debates and on his campaign website in his 2004 campaign for senator.
Herman Cain did not build Godfather's Pizza. He was made manager of an existing organization within a large corporation and given staff and a title. The parent company soon spun it off, as big firms often do with subsidiaries that offer modest upside scale potential. Cain did not grow the business while he ran it as a subsidiary or after it was spun off. He made it more profitable by closing restaurants and firing several thousand employees. Cain then used that profitability success as a stepping stone to run for public office -- and quit. That act itself was typical of an employee, not an entrepreneur. In fact, many insiders do not consider Cain key to the turnaround. They tout Ronald Gartlin, who helped build the Godfather's chain before Pillsbury bought it, as key to Cain's efforts to return it to profitability. Gartlin replaced Cain on his departure and continues to run the business today.
For the last 20 years Herman Cain has been active in politics. Although he has never won public office, he and his supporters cannot realistically claim he is not a professional politician. He is!
Cain was appointed to the Federal Reserve board despite absolutely no credentials in monetary, fiscal, or economic policy that would justify the appointment. His status as a black businessman was likely his most important qualification.
I cannot find any transcripts or video interviews of Cain discussing economic issues with any depth or breadth of insight. He talks in generalities. Details that require true knowledge are avoided. Cain is a sound-bite candidate in a sound-bite era. Even so, why is this Federal Reserve experience considered a good thing? Many of our problems in economic mismanagement are directly attributable to board members like Cain rubber-stamping disastrous Federal Reserve policies.
His supporters also give him a pass on his actions at Aquila, a corporation that invested employee retirement funds in its own stock. The employees then suffered huge losses. Cain was a director during that period. What is a director supposed to do except make sure such things do not happen?
The latest questions to arise are accusations that Cain sexually harassed two women while he was Chairman of the National Restaurant Association. I doubt these accusations are accurate. However, the reactions by his supporters are curious. Cain's supporters do not want to know if they are true. They simply dismiss them as unfair attacks with total disinterest in whether there are any facts to substantiate them or not. Aren't the charges serious enough to warrant some investigation? If you ask most of Cain's supporters, their answer will be "No!"
The enchantment with Herman Cain is curiously similar to the earlier adoration for General Colin Powell. Powell was never the conservative military genius he was proclaimed to be. Republicans were desperate to believe he was for reasons a psychologist would struggle to explain. Clear warning signs were ignored. Is that perception repeating itself with Cain?
Herman Cain has shown by his gaffes on foreign affairs that he is not prepared to lead our nation in the one area that can get us all killed. He never served in the military. He has shown no interest in our history or involvement in the world or in strategic issues. He was so ignorant that he claimed to not know what "neo-conservative" means. His trite dismissal of the need to understand foreign issues is an insult to voters. If you care about America, how can Cain's foreign policy naiveté not be a red flag?
At some point, you have to stop and ask some serious questions about this man. Unfortunately, the answers are being delayed because Herman Cain is treated differently. Cain will not allow the questions to be addressed. Instead, he dismisses concerns and changes the subject.
In summary, voters actually know very little about Herman Cain except his personal interpretation of his own resume. This must end. The office of the presidency is not an entry-level position. People who forget that are making a huge mistake.