Tag Archive: presidency


HermanCainBanner-croppedHerman Cain, campaigning for the Republican nomination in the 2012 race to the White House, is gaining in the polls despite his over-simplistic and middle-class-hitting “9-9-9” tax plan.  For whatever non-sensical reason, conservative voters are giving him a thumbs up, at least for the time being, and at least in relation to the other GOP potentials.  I think he’s ridiculous, and that his policies can’t win him the nomination, but clearly the dude has some appeal.  Conservative voters seem to trust him, to some degree, and his simplistic talking points apparently appeal to many voters.  I’m sure that his business background is part of the draw – not a plus in my view of what it takes to govern, but many conservative voters seem to assume a biz career provides a better model for governing than an actual career in governing at the state and local level.  He also has a good sense of humor, which makes him somewhat less awkward on the stage or at a podium, and comes off as a “real person” rather than a manufactured candidate, ala Romney.  He has a great smile, too.  Physically, he comes off as a very warm, down-to-earth rich guy.  I wouldn’t vote for the man in a million years, but I do understand, to a limited degree, what his appeal might be for voters very unlike myself.

However.

The main reason I believe he can’t win the Presidency, and therefore is unlikely to win the GOP nomination, is that he’s black.  I just don’t think voters, Republican or otherwise, will put two black men in a row in the Oval Office. 

Call me cynical.  Call me racist.  Call the voters racist.  We probably are.

But I truly believe it:  were Cain the Magic Candidate, with carefully crafted policies appealing to Left, Right and Center, he couldn’t get the votes.  Too many people – white people – will balk at the idea of another non-white-guy in the Presidency.  That Cain is black only compounds this – we might, maybe, as a nation, go for a Hispanic, Asian, or maybe even Native president.  Maybe even a woman (white, presumably, this time around).  But with the level of discomfort around Obama’s “blackness” these last three or four years, there is just no way, no how, that the voters will install a second black dude.  Doesn’t matter that Obama and Cain have completely different perspectives, politics, backgrounds, styles, or any thing else.  Too many voters would be wary of some kind of imagined trend in which people of color start takin’ over the highest office in the land.

We’re just that stupid.  We look at the surface more than the depth, even when we shouldn’t.

So, sorry, Herman Cain.  Your fifteen minutes may stretch to fifteen months, but you just aren’t going to get the votes.

Mr. Nixon

9 August 2009

Daniel Schorr, on today’s Sunday Morning Edition broadcast, reminded me that on this day 35 years ago, Nixon officially stepped down from his disastrous presidency.

nixon_resignation My political awareness started with Nixon, the War, and Watergate.  This day, though buried in my teen memories rather than Schorr’s journalist ones, is a big day for me.  On this day I understood how public pressure could affect the nation – together, the citizens and the press forced a sitting to president to resign or face certain removal from office.  I was thrilled, frightened, inspired, relieved.

Schorr also reminded me of Nixon’s farewell speech to his staff.  I don’t remember, 35 years ago, whether I watched any broadcast of it (though I’ve seen clips in the last few years) but when I read
Woodward and Bernstein’s The Final Days last year, I found myself tearing up at the goodbye, rather like a number of the staff in the excerpts shown on documentary coverage of Nixon’s fall.  Even the evil have heart, and Nixon certainly did.  

Anyway, thank you to Mr. Schorr for reminding me that this is the 35th anniversary of a day long hoped for in my early life, and once achieved, a day that became empowering for me.

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