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As Long as We Remember...

September 27, 2011

Vetting The GOP Candidates

Farrell Keough

As noted by radio talk show host Mark Levin, there are not just two candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination – Saturday’s victory by Herman Cain in the Florida Straw Poll verified that point!


But why does it seem that only two candidates really have the moxie to win?  That’s easy. Between the mainstream press and many wealthy donors and Republican insiders, this primary process needs to be over; and they know better who should be the chosen candidate. This is why we are seeing a renewed push to get New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie into the race.


In short, we have the same scenario we have seen in so many years past – the “insiders” deciding versus the voters making the choice. It is precisely this scenario which brought us Sens. Bob Dole (KS) and John McCain (AZ). So many political experts tell us we must have the safe candidate. How has that worked out in the past few elections?


Now is the time for vetting and debate. Candidates like Herman Cain deserve our attention. So many times you will hear something along the lines of “I like him, but he is not a viable candidate.” This Florida straw poll shows these prognostications are not valid – just as the prognostications that the Tea Party could not sway the influence of Congress.


So, what will we find out when we begin the process of reviewing Herman Cain? When he initially announced his candidacy, he was interviewed about his time as a Kansas City Federal Reserve chairman from 1992 to 1996. During that interview, Mr. Cain noted that there is no need for another audit of the Federal Reserve, since these audits occur on a regular basis. Because of the recent actions of the Federal Reserve, (e.g., quantitative easing (QE1 & 2) and the potential inflationary effects) Mr. Cain’s perspectives need to be fully understood.


In another interview, Mr. Cain did not fully understand the right of Palestinian return – basically the call for Israel to return land to Palestinian’s that it received in 1948 when it was established. Mr. Cain attempted to answer the question while obviously not understanding the issue – “You won’t catch me trying to fake it... It would have been far more sincere to simply ask him what he was talking about.” What a tremendous anomaly – a person running for president who both admits to not knowing everything and further, admits when he was wrong and needs to study up on a couple of things.


Finally, Mr. Cain has put forth a fiscal policy he is calling the 999 Plan. It is a most interesting plan and the only one being offered which deals with the entirety of both the budget, (spending is the problem) and how to reduce and keep consistent our tax rates. The breadth of this plan is unlike anything the other candidates are proposing. It attempts to integrate those promoting the flat and fair tax plans as well as end the payroll tax. There are still “empowerment zones” and deductions for charitable giving along with a hope that a 9% national sales, business, and personal income tax will suffice to pay our bills. (It should be noted that without a payroll tax, this will completely change the dynamic of how people pay their personal income tax.)


Being in the limelight this week will force many in the press and those in the Republican Old Guard to recognize he is viable. This is what we want – real conservativism works every time!


But, Mr. Cain is not alone. We still have candidates like Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachman running. She got a bounce out of the Iowa Straw Poll and her recent condemnation of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s method to force vaccination of young girls and women which is said to prevent cervical cancer. She was Tea Party well before it was in vogue. She has a remarkable business and legal background. Her consistent condemnation of ObamaCare, tax increases, and big government has found her favor by many in the public and opposition by many in the Republican Old Guard.


Newt Gingrich will always remain a formidable force. The former Speaker of the House from Georgia, Mr. Gingrich led the 1994 Republican Revolution. His intellect and knowledge of the legislative process is well beyond many in these debates. Unfortunately, his desire to forward legislation has lead to alliances which have not been so helpful to his conservative mantra of today. Mr. Gingrich, and the nation, would be well served if he were appointed to a cabinet position.


Rick Santorum, former senator from Pennsylvania, is a thoughtful conservative who has remained consistent in his ideology and stance. He has a history of ensuring governmental transparency and honesty – being one of the House members in the early 1990s to expose the House banking scandal. Later he was elected to the Senate where his voracious condemnations of Islamic fanaticism garnered national attention to our enemies. He is a devout Christian and one of the few who allowed his religion into his role as a legislator.


Gary E. Johnson, former governor of New Mexico, is somewhat of an oddity. More of a Libertarian, he vetoed 750 spending bills leaving his state with a sizeable surplus. His positions on legalizing marijuana, allowing for abortions, loosening immigration rules, and opposition to increased defense spending will not play well with many in the Republican Party.


For those of us old enough to remember, Mr. Cain took on President Bill Clinton during a televised discussion on Mr. Clinton’s attempt to promote a Nationalized Health Care Bill. His ability to discuss the business repercussions was outstanding. While we have never had a president who came directly from the business sector, we are in very different times – and different times may necessitate a different kind of president.


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