Meet Herman Cain. He's smart, articulate, a successful businessman, an absolute conservative. Former CEO of Godfather's Pizza. Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Radio talk show host. Bachelors degree in mathematics and Masters degree in computer science. He's also a Southern Baptist, and an opponent of abortion in all cases, including rape and incest. The religious Right loves him. The Tea Party loves him!
Best of all, he's black.
We've seen it happen before: A party desperate to unhorse a sitting president will pick a candidate who contrasts well against that president's primary strength. Thus, in 2004, when the "war on terror" was the overriding issue, General Wesley Clark, who didn't really want to run, was a serious candidate, and the nomination eventually went to John Kerry, a military veteran.
Now we'll see this sort of thing happen with the political parties turned around.
He's the ideal candidate, except for one, teensy, little thing. He's picked a fight with the IRS. He wants something called the Fair Tax, which is a kind of national sales tax. He wants to return to the Gold Standard. Were it up to him, all estate taxes, capital gains taxes, and income taxes would be abolished.
Yeah. Good luck with that.
Every charity that receives donations from the wealthy who are motivated by write-offs will oppose the guy. Every big-time banking and accounting firm that builds its industry upon our current tax system will oppose him. Subchapter S corporations, which already pay no taxes, will have no real reason to support him. A lot of people with a lot of money will oppose the guy.
He's the African Steve Forbes.
But the disenfranchised with Obama will flock to him. He can easily eclipse other novelties, like Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin. He will win nomination. If somehow he flummoxes the nomination, he'll be the ideal Veep. He holds the promise of unifying the Republican front, of winning over some moderates, and splitting the black vote.
This hope is likely misplaced. Obama has faced this sort of candidate before. When running for the U.S. Senate, Republicans put their trust in another black conservative, named Alan Keyes. A former ambassador, Alan Keys was smart, eloquent, handsome, and a darker shade than Obama. But the black voters of Illinois weren't taken in. Obama not only beat him, he crushed him.
You see, contrary to popular conservative myth, black people are not stupid. They know when they're being pandered to, and they feel insulted when conservative special interests put forth a black candidate, as if they would all simultaneously abandon Dr. King's dream and vote on the color of skin rather than the content of character. There could only be one Jackie Robinson. There could only be one Rosa Parks. There is only one Barack Obama. African Americans already have their champion.
But the Tea Party doesn't know this, nor shall they. The entire movement is all salt and almost no pepper, all cream and no coffee. They'll look to Herman Cain as their savior.
Well, ya better hold on to that dream, people.