Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Raising Cain

Herman Cain may just be another flash in the pan, like some of the other GOP hopefuls in this cycle. But this may not be relevant a month from now. That said:

i) Because Cain is not a policy wonk like Gingrich or Santorum, it’s easier for him to trip up on certain domestic and foreign policy issues.

ii) Regarding controversial statements:

a) Know that a statement will be controversial before you open your mouth. Don’t be surprised. Take that into account in deciding whether or not to make a controversial statement.

b) Know that the mainstream media will distort your statement.

c) If you’re going to make a controversial statement, have a good reason for your position. Moreover, have a short, simple, plausible explanation for your position. Keep repeating your explanation.

d) Never back down from a controversial statement. You lose twice over. You already take a potential hit for making the controversial statement, then you take another hit for backing down. Backing down makes you look weak and vacillating. It’s also a tacit admission that you were wrong in the first place.

e) Don’t feel the need to preview your position on everything all at once. In politics, the way to succeed is to build on success. Get one thing done at a time, then use that as political capital to do the next thing. Build up a head of steam.

iii) Don’t give interviews to the mainstream media.

iv) Don’t talk too much. The more you talk, the more likely you will misspeak–sooner or later.

v) I don’t agree with Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. Real life is not that symmetrical. First determine the need, then determine the tax code.

vi) Apropos (v), the question of the tax code is secondary to the question of what gov’t should be doing. First determine what gov’t should be doing. That, in turn, determines how much revenue it should take in. The tax code should correspond to that.

vii) It remains to be seen how Cain operates under pressure. It’s not until you become a frontrunner or credible candidate that the mainstream media trains its guns on you.

I’d vote for Cain over Obama in a heartbeat. There’s no comparison. But right now I’m assessing the potential liabilities of various GOP candidates. 


  1. Great post Steve, Gingrich still remains the real intellect, but after seeing a video of Cain dressing down Prez Clinton on healthcare I warmed up abit more to him. However, I'm skeptical that anything will change with any of these candidates. Until the leviathan is defunded we will remain limp.

  2. @Brian: Gingrich has rather concerning New Age ties. Might want to look into that sometime. There's more than meets the eye with him.

  3. "Real life is not that symmetrical. First determine the need, then determine the tax code."

    Agreed. But the tax code is underdetermined by the need in the sense that there are myriad different ways of raising a given amount through taxation. Even if the 9-9-9 proposal won't raise the right amount in the first instance, one could argue that it would still represent a vast improvement over the current tax code and thus would serve as a workable starting point which could be tweaked over time to meet costs (which also vary over time). And if, as Cain argues, it would stimulate the economy and reduce unemployment, one would expect tax revenues to rise rather than fall (as a long-term trend).

    I'm attracted to the simplicity and fairness of Cain's proposal, but I don't have the expertise or factual knowledge to form a reliable opinion on whether it would actually accomplish what he claims. I'd like to see a credible evaluation of it from a respectable non-partisan source (if there is such a thing).

  4. Jacob, thanks but not sure what that has to do with being a political intellect.