2012 Update: Herman Cain

If there’s one dark horse in the race for the 2012 Republican nomination that’s currently getting a lot of attention, it’s the candidate that has never held political office, and has only run for office once before.  But with each successive dropout in the Republican race, Herman Cain’s profile is raised higher.

Herman Cain

Who is Herman Cain?  He’s the only candidate running for President that doesn’t have previous political experience (though he did run for the Senate in Georgia, but lost in the Republican primary to current U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson).  His main qualification for the office of President is that he was the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza.  He was a turn-around CEO, taking Godfather’s from loss to profitability in 14 months.

Why should anyone care about Herman Cain?  Well, some say he holds all the right positions for the Republican nomination:

  • He favors Social Security reform.
  • He believes in less legislation, less regulation, lower taxes, and business-friendly policies.
  • He is pro-life.
  • He favors school vouchers and charter schools.
  • He favors offshore drilling, and drilling in ANWR.
  • He wants to repeal ObamaCare.
  • He’s against same-sex marriage.

And, he’s African American, which some say would level the (race) playing field in a general election against President Obama.

But is he ready for the big leagues?  There’s been some stumbles in his campaign, stumbles that a more seasoned politician would not make, most recently in an interview on Fox New Sunday where he seemed to not know what the “right of return” was in relation to Israel (video below).

But he’s gaining in popularity.  A new Zogby Interactive poll showed him edging out leading GOP presidential candidates among Republican primary voters.  He received 19% of the vote, surpassing even New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for the first time.  A new Gallup poll shows him with the highest Positive Intensity Score of the Republican contenders, at 25%.  Nate Silver, over at FiveThirtyEight.com, points out that Cain scored 8% in the Gallup poll, even while only 33% of Republican voters have heard of him.  When you adjust for his low name recognition, he even outpolls Mitt Romney.  Nate Silver also has a very interesting post called, “The Not-So-Simple Case for Taking Herman Cain Seriously” that you should read.

He has low name recognition, but he’s polling as high or higher than Michael Dukakis, John Edwards, or John McCain did at this point in their respective races.  Michael Dukakis won his nomination.  John Edwards came in second.  And John McCain finished second in 2000, and won the nomination in 2008.

Questions: Is it possible for a political neophyte to succeed at such a high level in politics?  Is C-level business experience good enough to prepare someone to run for high political office?  You can leave your comments by clicking here.


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  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    The answer to “Is C-level business experience…?” is debatable. Who knows until we’ve seen this horse plow? The answer to “Is it possible for a political neophyte…?” is yes. Given the climate of Americans tired of “business as usual,” a person seen as an outsider has a solid chance to win. I understand a now well-known and deeply-appreciated President only won a single election–the 1860 presidential race. And not for a lack of trying.

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      Well, we know that the horse can plow, at least in the business realm. But
      is politics so different from business that it would be hard for a business
      executive to be effective in the political realm? Perhaps. Business is so
      top-down in terms of management that you rarely have to get the consensus of
      a lot of people in order to make changes. In politics, though, you have to
      gain the consensus of 270 people, and sometimes 360 people in order to make
      ANY change. I don’t know that the political environment is one that’s
      conducive to a business exec with no political experience.

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        Okay, so you’ve demonstrated the practical side of politics which goes beyond electing a person to office. Can said person gather momentum and actually move issues forward or will he/she simply spin their wheels in frustration? Good point. One similar to a friend’s who felt that any one president can only do a certain amount of damage thanks to the way the political engine runs.

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