The story of Presidential candidate Herman Cain begins and ends with personality. That is not to say that the middle doesn’t contain a large amount of substance, because it does, but his emotive presence in a sea of dry politicians refuses to be overlooked. He, and his presence, were on hand to address a group of about eighty people Monday at The Smokey Row Coffee Shop in Des Moines.
As he gave a brief opening statement and took questions from the crowd one could quickly come to the conclusion that his personality, and not his impressive business experience, may be his biggest weapon moving forward. The current world of Presidential politics is one in which the media can conjure up a negative narrative on a candidate faster than a State Fair artist can draw you a self-portrait. When it comes to Herman Cain, this will not be so easy.
His personality is a rare mixture. I would call it one part warmth, one part energy, and two parts forcefulness. Though we wonâ€™t find out unless he raises his profile, if the media is able to demonize this manâ€¦then nobody is safe.
However inescapable it was, this campaign stop was about much more than his personal traits. He took about twenty questions from the group, running the gamut from Pakistan to pre-school.
Ripping into the Obama administration was consistent throughout. He addressed spending most adamantly, calling for an across the board cut of 10% from each Federal department, a capital gains tax of 0%, a payroll tax holiday, and implementation of the Fair Tax. He broached the subject of Social Security reform by re-stating his position of following the Chilean model by creating an optional system that is â€œnot privatized, but personalized.â€
He all but announced he is running, joking he couldn’t say it officially until his announcement on May 21st. This being the case, we here at The Conservative Reader will have an in-depth look at his background and positions in the coming days. His personal story in many ways is an inspirational one, while his platform is a unique blend of policy positions. He will no doubt win over some of you, intrigue some of you, and frustrate the rest.
For the time being though it is safe to say his position in the race is more solid than one might think. Recently he got glowing reviews of his first debate performance, and this week the good news kept on coming. The last 72 hours has seen the exit of two candidates whose supporters could easily gravitate towards Cain, but for far different reasons.
Though Donald Trumpâ€™s candidacy was hardly serious, his high poll numbers were not all name recognition. A percentage of them represented a group searching for either a fighter or a business approach to government. Enter Herman Cain.
Most beneficial to Cain though is the disappearance from the scene of Mike Huckabee. Of any of the figures on the National landscape it is Huckabee that Mr. Cain most resembles (yes they are both former preachers too). The scores of voters, especially in Iowa, who found themselves drawn to Huckabeeâ€™s warm affability will find it hard not to be drawn in by Herman Cain and his most powerful weaponâ€¦his personality.
Capturing a significant number of these â€œreleased delegatesâ€ would afford him the ability to stay viable for the next few months. If he indeed is able to stick around he will be required to provide more specific details than currently offered by his 17 page document â€œThe Peopleâ€™s Platform.â€ Meeting this challenge, and seeming Presidential while doing it, could punch his ticket to the Finals.
Though a lot has to go right, a path for him to enter the upper echelon of contenders is starting to become visible. At this stage in the game, a realistic chance is all an upstart candidate can ask for. If he is able to connect with the masses as well as he did with the folks at this event on Monday, you may not want to bet against him.