Herman Cain as a presidential candidate is a bit of a puzzle. He seems to be woefully unprepared, belligerent with the press, and uninterested in anything that isn't related to taxes. For someone who used to make a living as a lobbyist, he seems to be lacking in the skills to persuade.
He's certainly no dummy. He has a Bachelors degree in math, and a Masters degree in Computer Science. He was a ballistics analyst in the Navy. Obviously, good judgement does not necessarily go hand-in-hand with intelligence, considering his clumsy attempts at seducing women (ie: sexual harrassment). Yet in debates, and particularly in the notorious recent interview, he comes off as a buffoon.
In that interview, he seemed to be searching for the correct answer. When he started to say something, then said "Nope, that's a different one", it seemed like the prepaired answer was for a different question. If you wanted to be extra tin-foily, one might wonder if he was wearing a secret wire, and someone was feeding him the answers.
Seriously, though, even without the wire, one has to wonder why he couldn't just say what he thought, and why he felt the need to supply a pre-determined answer. It seems obvious: he's a lobbyist, and lobbyists deliver the message that they're paid to deliver, not the message that comes from their hearts. So for whom or what is he a lobbyist? That's one answer he's supplied us with already: "We're brothers from another mother" - the Koch brothers.
Cain has been at the top of enough companies and organizations to have the hubris to think he can do the job of president. Some of the skill sets do translate, but there are a ton of others (revolving around trust and finesse) that don't. CEOs are way more dictatorial than a president can (and should) be.
Still - he thinks he can carry the Koch brothers' water all the way to the White House. He is trying to do that by lobbying for them on the campaign trail, while trying to not actually divulge that that is what he is doing. Think I'm wrong? Go to his campaign website and see how many of his positions differ from what the Koch brothers would want:
- Education: privatize, with vouchers
- Social Security: privatize
- Taxes: reduce capital gains tax
- Energy: "free market" (ie: oil)
- Military: increased spending on technology
With the exception of the military, all of these positions involve "getting government out of the way", which translated means either paying private companies (rather than federal workers) to do the same job, or force consumers to pay for them out of their own pockets. They mean reduced government oversight and more opportunities for companies to suck the consumers dry, and shit all over everything else. It's a CEO's dream.
This is the vision of the Koch brothers, and this is the plan for which Herman Cain is lobbying. He may not be getting paid by them directly, but if he survives much longer, their PAC money WILL find its way into ads for him. The scary part is that he's survived this long with several allegations of sexual harrassment, investigations into campaign finance violations, and mental "spinning pizza wheels" on camera as he tries to download a pre-programmed talking point to his mouth. All this, and he's not out of consideration yet.
Cain, though, is a lobbyist through and through. He is not going to let a few setbacks get in the way of his goal of selling America on his (ie: the Koch brothers) vision for America. Shame and humility are not part of the equation. You can't sell a shabby bill of goods that you don't even care about by having shame.
Which is the crux of the matter. Does Cain really
care about these things? Are they really
his positions? You'd think he'd be able to talk about them easily if they were, not stumble and come across as if he's trying to remember what the Sales Manager trained him to say.
Perhaps that's why he left the NRA - as a lobbyist, he's not very good at it.