Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Well Just Damn

I am somewhat ambivalent about Herman Cain "suspending" his presidential campaign.

On the one hand, he continues to deny the allegations of all of his accusers save one.  Even with that one, he continues to deny any sexual impropriety.  I fully realize that politics at the presidential level is a dirty business and would not be surprised to find that many of the people involved in this on the accusatory side were in it for their own gain: politics, money, fifteen minutes of fame, whatever.

On the other hand, this last accuser is troubling.  What Cain admits to, namely maintaining a 13-year long relationship with a woman in which he gave her money while neglecting to tell his wife about it, does at the very least call his judgment into question.  I am one of those political dinosaurs for whom character and integrity still matter, and though this episode still does not rise above the level of a he said/she said thing insofar as the most serious aspects of it go, it does send up some unmistakeable red flags.

Even if Cain's conduct was entirely above board, the fact that his campaign got caught so completely flatfooted about it is disturbing (and yes, I realize that different standards are applied to different candidates - but they still should have seen it coming and been prepared - remember that squad of the Clinton campaign tasked with dealing with "bimbo eruptions?").

Be that as is may: here is what I regard as the operative portion of the "Cain Commentary" released Sunday (click here to read it in its entirety):

And while I am disappointed, there are more than a few silver linings to doing this work outside the context of a presidential campaign. The process by which we choose our nation’s leader is ridiculous. There is little focus on policy substance and even less on candidates’ governing skills. If you’re not warding off some wild accusation, you’re explaining away a “gaffe,” which is usually the sort of slip of the tongue that anyone can make, but because some reporter heard it, it turns into a news-cycle narrative with a shelf life of six or seven days.

That’s behind us. All I need to do now is advocate for solutions that work, under the auspices of TheCainSolutions.com, and that will have two essential elements.

One is to better educate the American people about the nature of the problems we face. There is still too little understanding of the severity of our debt and fiscal crisis. That is why members of Congress lack the political will to solve the problem. They perceive that they will pay a steeper price for taking action than they will pay for doing nothing. That is no excuse for such poor leadership, but the fact remains that if we can change the political dynamic – so that the people are demanding action rather than rewarding inaction – we will be able to change the results.

The second element is to advocate for solutions that actually work. I was amused by the criticism I received for frequently mentioning my 9-9-9 tax reform, particularly by those who referred to it as a “catch phrase” and so forth, clearly demonstrating that they didn’t grasp what it’s all about. The 9-9-9 plan is the biggest transfer of power from government back to the people since the beginning of this nation. That’s what they are afraid of.

I talked about 9-9-9 so often during the campaign because it’s a major reform that would completely change the way we pay taxes, the way we do business and the way people manage their personal budgets. We need reform like that. Political consultants are forever telling candidates to “stay on message,” but I guess that doesn’t apply when the message is a substantive reform that would actually solve problems. Be that as it may, I am far from finished staying on message. The Cain Solutions effort will relentlessly push for an understanding of the real stakes our nation faces, and for a groundswell that demands real solutions.

As I said during my announcement on Saturday, becoming president was Plan A. Anyone with a big goal needs to recognize that you might need a Plan B, and our Plan B has a lot going for it.

Six months ago, most of you had never heard of me. You have now. A lot of what you’ve heard is not true, but I’ve got your attention. Keep listening, and if you care about the future of our country like I do, get involved. Unlike a presidential campaign, what we’re doing now can’t be stopped by scandal-mongering or polls. We’ll only be defeated if we give up.

And we’re not going to do that.

So, we shall see.  Regardless of the particulars of Cain and his campaign, I think that there is much truth in this statement.  And note the obvious similarities between elements of Cain's 9-9-9 Plan and the FairTax of which I have been a supporter for years.

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