Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Maybe Cain should stick to business, something he apparently understands

One of the more interesting things about the politics of presidential nomination races is the motivation of "no hope" candidates. We know that there are some candidates, perhaps like Tim Pawlenty, who should be a serious contender but appears to be devoid of momentum of any kind, at least at the moment. This is not what I mean. Not doing well in the campaign is not the same as never really having had any expectation of doing well.

Similarly, Newt Gingrich, as pathetic a campaign as he has run, would have to be considered a serious candidate. Jon Huntsman may be polling in the single digits, but he's a serious person. Sarah Palin may have no real shot despite what she seems to think, but, in fairness, she's not really a "no hoper."

I'm thinking here about someone like Herman Cain, he of the dumbass comment about how he should be president because "I'm not a professional politician. I'm a professional problem solver."

I've been telling a really corny joke lately about this knock on "professional politicians." I say that if I needed surgery, I would not be pleased to have the person about to do the work announce that he was not a professional surgeon. I would suggest he bring me one. When it comes to running the country, I want a professional politician, and if you are not one, bring me one.

Yeah, I know Cain made himself a lot of money managing a big pizza company, so, apparently, that means he should be president. Not for me, thank you.

This conceit in America that running a business is qualification enough for succeeding in elected office boggles my mind. It completely misunderstands what is required of a successful politician.

We so devalue the work that politicians do that we often delude ourselves into thinking that anyone could do it. Sorry folks, but that is simply not true.

If you want proof of what an utter lack of political skill looks like, consider Cain's recent grossly insensitive comments about immigration:

I just got back from China. Ever heard of the Great Wall of China? It looks pretty sturdy. And that sucker is real high. I think we can build one if we want to! We have put a man on the moon, we can build a fence! Now, my fence might be part Great Wall and part electrical technology... It will be a twenty foot wall, barbed wire, electrified on the top, and on this side of the fence. I'll have that moat that President Obama talked about. I would put alligators in that moat.

Now, there are two possibilities that suggest themselves to me when assessing Cain's words. Either he has a really stupid and inappropriate sense of humor or he is a dangerous fool -- maybe both.

And, to get back to my original point, why is he in this thing? I can't imagine that he has ever really thought he might win the nomination. Maybe some kinds of egos never really get it .

Maybe the point is that some people just can't stand the idea of a stage without them on it.

Or maybe he really does think that running a big pizza company, while otherwise devoid of any political experience, makes him an ideal candidate.

I just don't know.

Anyway, here's the clip of Cain giving us his views on immigration. Not funny. Not appropriate. Just embarrassing.

(Cross-posted to Lippmann's Ghost.)

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