Posts Tagged ‘ herman cain ’

The end of Michele Bachmann’s candidacy

I’m calling it right now. We have just seen the end of Michele Bachmann’s Presidential candidacy. Yes, technically she is still running for President and will continue to do so for some time. But, she is no longer one of the major players in the Republican field and has basically zero chance of being the Republican nominee.

How did this happen? The death knell was Florida’s Republican straw poll results. But that just capped off a long drop that started when Rick Perry entered the race in early August and was furthered by Bachmann’s bad debate performances and gaffes on the campaign trail.

Bachmann was once the leading “anti-Romney” candidate in the field. For a period of time, she was the candidate that conservatives and Tea Partiers looked to to carry their banner in the race. Conservatives and the Tea Party, as a whole, have never really trusted Mitt Romney and would obviously prefer that one of their own be the party’s nominee. For awhile, Bachmann was the right’s preferred candidate. Now, they have a new champion, Rick Perry.

As you can see from RealClearPolitics’ poll data chart, Perry’s rise took a significant amount of support from Bachmann and also, seemingly,  Herman Cain. Right now in national polling, Bachmann is sitting just below Ron Paul and just above Newt Gingrich. In other words, she is only as popular as candidates No Hope and Without a Prayer. She is done.

The Florida straw poll results show that the passion for a Bachmann presidency is gone. Straw polls are dominated by the most hardcore conservative activists and voters and can indicate the base enthusiasm for certain candidates. Bachmann finished in dead last in Florida, right behind Jon Hunstman. Let me repeat, Bachmann garnered less votes in this ultra-conservative contest than Jon Huntsman.

Now many of you will say “well, Bachmann wasn’t even participating in this contest, so its no surprise that she didn’t do well.” That is partially true. She would have done better had she put resources in the contest, but why didn’t she? The high-water mark of the Bachmann candidacy was her win in the Iowa straw poll. Certainly, if she had won this straw poll, that would have kept up her momentum. Ah, but there’s the rub. Bachmann didnt think she could win this contest. It wasn’t some accident that kept her from participating,  it was the reality that she would have been embarrassed even more by the loss if she had participated. So, her campaign decided to save face and punt on this contest. That begs the question: if Bachmann can’t even win these conservative straw polls,  what chance does she have in the primaries?

There’s also the fact that many candidates do well in straw polls, even if they are not directly participating in them. Perry (or “Parry”) made a good showing at the Iowa straw poll despite not being on the ballot. Romney finished in third in the Florida straw poll  and, like Bachmann, he wasn’t participating in the contest. If  Bachmann’s support has dried up at these kinds of events to the point where she comes in dead last and is too scared to even participate, then she has no chance of going anywhere in this campaign.

Recent events just underscore that Bachmann was no more than a late summer flash in the pan. Now watch as she just fades out of the conversation…

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GOP Presidential Candidates Series: Herman Cain

I’ve decided that it would be good to do an intermittent series on the numerous candidates who want to run for President on the Republican ticket. Even though chances are very low that I would ever vote for one of them in the general election, the choice of who will run against President Obama is a very important one. I hope I can shed some light on the major players.

That being said,  I will start by looking at a candidate that I don’t think I could ever support (to give me time to make  up my mind about the rest!). Herman Cain is the former CEO of Godfather’s pizza, a radio host and a Baptist minister. He is  the only black man in the race on the Republican side and was raised from very humble origins in segregated Georgia to become a successful businessman. However, he has  never held any elected office, though he did run for the Republican nomination to be the US Senator from Georgia in 2004  (and lost badly). Lately he has been making some huge waves in conservative Republican circles by drawing considerable support from Tea Party Republicans. As Nate Silver explains, Cain’s poll numbers are  what makes him such  an anomaly:

In the post-reform primary era (1972 onward), there’s never really been a candidate that combined such limited name recognition, such underwhelming credentials — and such impressive polling.

So, not many Republicans know of Cain, but among the ones that do, he is very popular. This probably speaks to the anti-Washington fervor of many Republicans  more than anything, but it is very interesting that someone with no political background is being considered by so many for so high a position. Let’s leave it at that and dig into his policy positions, which is where the interesting stuff is.

Cain has said (and I have heard it repeated by some Republicans) that his candidacy would “take race off the table”  because  he could criticize Pres. Obama without being labeled a racist. Well, as this piece in Slate  magazine lays out, Cain’s candidacy might take some black/white racial issues off the table, but nominating him would bring other racial/ethnic issues to the fore.  You see, Cain has a problem with Muslims. Specifically, he does not trust Muslim doctors to operate on him (He though he was being operated on by a Muslim once, but phew!  it was only a Lebanese Christian). He also said he would not appoint a Muslim to be a federal judge or as a  cabinet official (the Slate article) because apparently Muslims are  not dedicated to this country or to the Constitution. This was not a temporary slip-up either. He has repeatedly said that he would illegally administer a religious test for people to take office in the United States. He said he would force Rep. Keith Ellison (who is  a Muslim) to swear his oath of office on a Bible, instead of on his Holy book. In a country where Herman Cain was once forced to the back of the bus and denied  the chance to drink from a “whites-only” water fountain, a President Cain would bring back prejudice and racism towards people from a different background than himself.

But its OK because  he’s only targeting Muslims, right? (sarcasm)

Among Cain’s other stances he has promised not to sign a bill that is longer  than 3 pages (though that’s probably just a stupid, populist pandering line and not a serious pledge). On his website, Cain states: “liberals have forced excessive environmental regulations that have stifled our domestic energy production, and instead, forced American consumers to rely far too heavily upon foreign oil.” I have never seen a serious study that says getting rid of regulations would significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil. (if you know of one, put it in the comments) He really does  not like the EPA at all and has  said that he would appoint the CEO of Shell Oil and other energy executives to a commission that would get rid of regulations on their own companies. Is that a conflict of interest?

On healthcare, his website is mostly just a bunch of lies about the Affordable Care Act and then a couple of platitudes about tort reform and promoting HSAs, neither of which would address rising costs more than a percentage point or two. He also wants to expand the health insurance tax exemption for employers to include employees as well. The exemption is certainly a problem for the market, but the way to fix  it isn’t to expand it, the way to fix it is to get rid of the special tax  break for employer-sponsored insurance. Interestingly, in the “economy” section of his campaign platform he lambastes the federal government because

The federal government should not be in the business of picking and choosing industries they support financially. This happens in the form of subsidies, and special tax breaks in which the government “plays favorite” with one industry and in turn, hinders the competitiveness of another.

So he doesn’t support special tax breaks for specific industries… except he does support the biggest one of those special tax  breaks. He doesn’t support the government “picking and choosing industries” to support financially, unless its the health insurance industry, presumably…. how inconsistent.

Well, I cant find much to like here. I hope Cain fizzles out soon. America would probably be better for it. If you have any questions or disputes, leave a comment.