Herman Cain is a good man, but he wasn't a serious candidate for President of the United States.
If the GOP nominee for President of the United States is not prepared to handle Barack Obama in a one-on-one debate, he or she will be mincemeat and Obama will be re-elected.
I have not decided who I will support for the presidency in 2012, but I have decided who I will not support: Barack Obama. My reasons for opposing Obama are many and varied. For instance, he has been a disaster for the U.S. economy. His so-called "stimulus programs" including TARP turned out to be little more than paybacks to individuals and organizations that supported candidate Obama in 2008. The president wasted more than $2 trillion of our hard-earned and borrowed money while our economy fizzled. That money could have been used, for example, to develop the infrastructure needed to produce and sell natural gas throughout the U.S. and to convert the nation's entire truck fleet to natural gas. The long-term return on that kind of investment would have been huge, and there would have been plenty of money left over to make other truly stimulative investments.
As commander-in-chief, President Obama leaves a lot to be desired. His showboating about "killing Osama bin Laden" and ending the Iraq War may win him liberal votes in November 2012, but he has done more to scuttle our military than any president in my memory. Under his watch, our enemies and potential enemies have grown stronger while we have become weaker, and we are debating gutting the military completely. Things are so bad that Obama's Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, has let it be known publically that the defense cuts being considered by the majority Democrats in the Senate would make the U.S. military a paper tiger. President Obama has done nothing to alter the course of the debate. That says a lot.
Obama's "shove it down your throat" way of getting things done is the exact opposite of what our Founding Fathers had in mind. ObamaCare is a perfect example of this. Anyone who knows anything about healthcare and the cost of healthcare delivery realizes that the system we had in place in 2008 was leading us to fiscal collapse and that change was long overdue. The president squandered a perfect opportunity to make significant improvements in our healthcare system and lots of dollars to boot while he rewarded his friends and punished his enemies in the healthcare sector of the economy. After almost 3 years in office, our healthcare system is in worse shape than it was in 2008, and we are wasting precious time and money trying to get back to square one so we can begin the process all over again.
Obama's foreign policy is a joke, and it isn't funny; his penchant for class warfare is dividing our country at a time when we need to be coming together; the Obama Justice Department is about anything but justice; and the president has done more to undermine Israel in the eyes of the world than I could have imagined. As I said, there are many reasons why I believe supporting President Obama is a mistake of gargantuan proportions. We need a change at the top, but "better than Obama" is not the right standard to use when selecting his opponent. The GOP nominee for the presidency needs to be much better than Obama. We've reached the point as a nation where we have very little time left to tackle the tough problems we face, and the next president will have to get the job done or we will face serious consequences.
That said, I did not support Herman Cain. At first I did, because I thought that a conservative black man running against Obama in a general election would divide the Democratic Party and siphon off enough votes to win the election. I ignored the allegations about Cain's sexual indiscretions since it looked to me as though those charges were contrived. Besides, I know how the game is played, and the Democrats may not be good at much, but they do know how to smear their opponents.
I decided that I couldn't support Herman Cain after he gave an interview to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and responded to a question about whether he agreed with President Obama's handing of the Libya situation in a way that can only be described as amateurish. I wrote about it in American Thinker and included a YouTube video titled "Herman Cain on Libya" to explain my rationale. What I didn't say in that piece but should have is that the GOP contenders for the presidency had just completed their foreign policy debate in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Prepping for that debate should have prepared Cain to answer any foreign policy question that anyone could ask, and the question he couldn't handle wasn't a gotcha question. It was a softball, and Cain's response surprised the interviewers as much as it did me.
After stumbling around for what seemed like an eternity, Cain finally said that he would call in his advisors and hash it out before making a decision. That's great, and every president does just that before making important decisions, but the question in my mind was whether Herman Cain was a serious candidate. He should have had an opinion about Obama's handling of the Libya situation, and he shouldn't have needed coaching from the interviewers to know what Obama did or didn't do. A serious contender would have reeled off the reasons why Obama should have done this or that as though he knew exactly what should have happened. If Herman Cain couldn't answer a question like that, then he is no match for Barack Obama, and as I said, "better than Obama" isn't good enough.
Today's American Thinker includes an article by Lloyd Marcus titled "Herman Cain: A Final Word." While I agree with most of the things that Marcus said, nothing he said would cause me to change my mind about a man who could have won the GOP nomination if he had done his homework. I still don't know who I will support for president in 2012, but I do know this much: the GOP nominee must be acceptable to voters in the middle of the political spectrum. If he or she is not prepared to handle Obama in a one-on-one debate, he or she will be mincemeat and Obama will be re-elected.
Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia. His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily. His latest book is titled If You Voted for Obama in 2008 to Prove You're Not a Racist, You Need to Vote for Someone Else in 2012 to Prove You're Not an Idiot.