When it comes to a presidential candidate this time around, I can say I’m completely, totally, and happily undecided. I’m looking for someone to believe in.
What are my criteria?
First, I’m searching for the candidate who is going to be the leader this country needs. The man or woman who not only knows our current system of doing this is very corrupt and broken, and does not want to fix it. Yes, I said does NOT want to fix it. I want a leader who is going to break down the system and build up a new one. I think we’ve seen incontrovertible evidence that this debacle we call our government simply cannot be fixed by jumping through the current hoops.
I’m not looking for a tyrant, but I am looking for someone who is willing to go out on a limb and use the principles put forth in our founding documents to destroy the machine feeding the corruption, and someone willing to use tools like the veto and nullification to make it happen. He or she will need to have very thick skin to do what our country needs and ignore the sure-to-be scathing attacks of the establishment, the media, and the liberals.
Second, my candidate must believe in the correct power “infrastructure.” He or she will believe that God’s law is the highest of the land, not man’s law; therefore, anything that is contrary to God’s law is no law at all. It’s not so foreign of a principle—it was a driving philosophy of the civil rights movement in America. In conjunction with that, my candidate must believe our government is of, by, and for the people, with all power inherent to those people. He or she must believe our Constitution is the law of the land and the Declaration of Independence is the vision statement for our country.
Finally, my candidate must be 100% pro-life. Not 69%, not even 85%. I will no longer fall for the banana-in-the-tailpipe logic of compromising with babies lives. Either he or she believes life begins at conception, that it is given by God and can only be taken away by God, or he or she doesn’t.
Those three are the “must haves.” The “would like to haves” are more cosmetic: should be able to mount a solid, credible campaign, be likeable, be a good communicator, and have strong family support.
So now my journey begins. I’m fortunate enough to be able to spend the next 10 months getting to vet the presidential candidates. As Iowans, we have a level of access no other state’s citizens enjoy. I intend to use that access to help me decide who gets my vote for President of the United States in 2012, and I began that process by having lunch with Herman Cain on Tuesday.
Approximately 25 of us joined him in Ames for an informal “meet and greet” type event. I sat two seats away from him at the table. He is a gregarious, well spoken man who is extremely at ease with a smaller crowd.
Mr. Cain’s messaging is still fresh, his delivery is not hackneyed. He started off with his “campaign” speech outlining his business acumen and successes, then his common sense solutions for the series of crises we have in America. He says the crises we’re facing are economic, energy, spending, and entitlement. While I agree that these are four crises we are facing, I admit I was disappointed he did not mention any social issues at all in his assessment of the most pressing problems facing our country.
As he went more in depth for his plan for the country, it was pretty evident to me that Mr. Cain would run the country just as he would run a business. He intends to surround himself with the “best people” and learn to “ask the right questions so we are fixing the right problems” In his words, a Herman Cain presidency would be a “shrunken” presidency, with the role of the Commander in Chief being of “chief ambassador” of educating the American people on his policies. As he says, “When people understand, they will demand.”
This message sounds good, but I do think it’s a bit optimistic. With a 24-hour media whose bias is no secret, an electorate whose attention span is about three seconds, and a liberal and establishment machine whose very existence relies on a continuation of the status quo, to believe a President can educate the majority to “understand” and “demand” his policies—even the ones that will admittedly take money out of pet projects and entitlement programs seems naive. People are not basically good, and they are not usually very happy to give up what they’ve come to expect and rely on.
During some information question and answer time, Mr. Cain said:
- He is for the gold standard once we get out of debt
- He is for the Fair Tax and would dismantle the IRS
- He would “unbundle” the Department of Education, giving states more control over the value and spending of federal money.
- His first executive order would be to cut all agencies budgets by 10%
- Obama refusing to support DOMA is a breach of his constitutional oath
- He believes in life at conception and would fight against any “anti-life” legislation
- He does not believe in same-sex marriage
- He would not have voted to repeal DADT
- He basis his stances on social views such as marriage and life on his belief in the Bible
As he concluded the lunch, Mr. Cain said he is considering running for president because we have all been given “time, talents, and treasure” and must use them to make a positive difference.
My criteria checklist:
I can say with fair certainty that Herman Cain is a leader. His “record” is impeccable as a businessman and a radio talk show host. He has proven business success and his radio numbers prove people will listen to him. His ideas are “outside” the Washington box. I think his lack of a political record is a two-edged sword—he has not drunk the kool-aid, but he has no record to examine. Personally, I’m good with the idea of the right “outsider” moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
I liked Mr. Cain’s statement that his social views are based on his belief in the Bible. He once was asked by a reporter why he didn’t believe in same-sex marriage. He told the reporter, “I believe in the Bible. What part of it would you like me to ignore?” I need to see and hear more from him on how this shapes his political philosophy. And while I agree that our economy and spending are both major crises in America, it concerns me that someone with a worldview such as his would not include social issues in his list of “top” urgent issues.
Finally, Mr. Cain did say he was 100% pro-life and that he would fight against “anti-life” legislation. Because he doesn’t have a record for me to scrutinize, I will be watching his message on this issue carefully throughout the next ten months.