Sunday, October 16, 2011
Herman Cain steps up to it...and into it.
When you played soccer as a kid, do you remember a conditioning drill where everyone jogged around the field in a straight line? The player in the back of the line sprinted to the front, creating a new player in the back, who then darted to the front, and so on all the way around the outside of the field?
From my perspective as a spectator watching the trotting line of Republican Presidential candidates while perched on a splintered bleacher, clutching a Thermos of hot buttered Thunderbird, Herman Cain has loped to the front of the queue as Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry drop further and further toward the back of the line.
As hard as it must be for Perry to run in cowboy boots, imagine being Mrs. Bachmann and trying to keep up with that physical specimen New Gingrich while wearing four-inch Manolo Blahniks.
Anyway, back to Herman Cain. The man has not gone away; in fact, he's surging in nearly every poll.
And why shouldn't he be? This self-made former chairman and CEO of Godfather's Pizza has formulated an economic fix so brilliant, yet so simple, that maybe we should toss him the White House's garage door opener right now.
Mr. Cain is proposing a "999 Plan"—a nine percent business flat tax, a nine percent individual flat tax and a nine percent national sales tax—to heal America's flat lining economy. The number nine, when used in this context, seems so tame, so non-threatening. According to Cain, "if the public understands it, they will support it and demand it."
Seriously? What a ridiculous and patronizing statement. I "understand" spraying Chanel No. 5 onto the eyeballs of bunny rabbits in the name of beauty, but I don't support it and definitely don't demand it. Cain's 999 Plan would effectively raise taxes for America's poor and middle class.
Understandable? You bet it is.
I've grown so weary of slick, highly-marketed political schemes which assume that clever simplicity is all the public requires. Maybe Herman Cain was the genius behind the nine-topping pizza for $9.99, but he's going to have to try a bit harder with this one.
I can already envision what counteroffensives his fellow Republicans are mulling over to jump start our ailing economy:
Rick Santorum's "555 Initiative"—Homosexuals must work for five dollars per hour until age fifty-five or the moment they are cured, whichever comes first. American business will reap the rewards through lower gay labor costs and Senator Santorum has offered to personally explain the "trickle-down" concept to those who have yet to see the light.
Michele Bachmann's "Project 666: designed to turn the 999 Plan upside down"—Six percent tax cut to anyone who spray paints "John 3:16" on six Planned Parenthood clinics, or wears a size six like she does.
Rick Perry's "One" Plan—According to a Perry spokesman, we'll be the first to know as soon as he remembers what it is.
Other pithy campaigns have been attempted like Dick Cheney's "1-2-3" Iraq strategy—Kill one Iraqi dictator, two of his sons and three thousand Americans, or George Bush's "Strategy 888"—In eight years, make sense eight times and leave office with eight people still liking you.
Herman Cain recently stated, "Don't blame Wall Street. Don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself." He also believed that the Occupy Wall Street protests were "planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration."
Such enlightened statements. Mr. Cain, it appears that you finally made it to the front of the line.
And promptly stepped in something.