By Kevin Hall
Herman Cain continues his string of impressive speeches to potential Iowa caucus goers. He met with 85 Polk County GOP Central Committee members and local Republicans Tuesday evening. Cain’s appearance was early on the meeting’s agenda. After he finished, at least two dozen attendees followed Cain into the hallway for the chance to visit with him individually.
The radio talk show host and former Godfathers Pizza CEO was the first candidate to announce a 2012 presidential exploratory committee. Since then, Cain has made a dozen trips to Iowa and increased his support base each time. Cain took an informal approach Tuesday night. He removed his suit jacket and opted to speak in front of the podium instead of behind it. The 20 minute dialogue opened with a jab at President Obama. “There are two things that I don’t do when I give a speech. I don’t do a script and I don’t do a teleprompter,” Cain said to laughter and applause.
Cain touched briefly on his very impressive resume, but spent most of his time discussing what the country needs, what he stands for, and how he would go about solving our problems. He also took a few questions from the audience. Following his speech, Cain told TheIowaRepublican.com that many of the benchmarks his team set for the exploration process “have exceeded our expectations”. Cain plans to make an official announcement regarding his candidacy within a few weeks.
While he is considered a long shot and is all but ignored by the mainstream media, Herman Cain might be the exact kind of candidate a lot of conservatives are looking for. He is a true turnaround CEO, social conservative, and a D.C. outsider. In the Tea Party era, Cain’s outsider status could be an advantage. “I may not be your choice, but I wanted to give you a choice of somebody that never held public office before,” Cain told the crowd. “Whenever a reporter says, ‘But you’ve never held public office before’, I say, ‘Absolutely right. The people in Washington, D.C., they have. How’s that working out for you?’”
There is an interesting parallel between Cain’s past job and the one he is currently seeking. Cain has no political experience, but is pursuing the highest office in the land. Likewise, when the struggling Godfathers Pizza chain hired Cain as its CEO and sent him the corporate office in Omaha, Nebraska, the environment was totally unfamiliar. He excelled, nonetheless. “When I took over Godfathers Pizza, I had never been to Omaha and I had never eaten a Godfathers Pizza, but they sent me there as a problem solver,” Cain said. “That’s what I do.”
Cain says the biggest problem the U.S. faces is a “lack of leadership in the highest office in the land”. He adds that we face moral, economic, entitlement, energy, and immigration crises. “They’re not just problems, they’re crises. And they’re not being solved. When was the last time something was fixed in Washington, DC?” Cain asked the crowd. “They don’t fix stuff. They make it worse.”
It will take a tremendous grassroots movement to propel Cain to the upper tier in the Iowa Caucus. He is laying the groundwork for that now. “The first thing is, get my name out there to the people on the ground, not necessarily come in and throw a lot of money at it,” Cain told TheIowaRepublican.com. “I want to connect with the people in Iowa and I believe that those that have heard me are connecting with me and my ideas and the common sense solutions that I have put on the table.”
Cain is right. He is connecting with potential caucus goers, slowly but surely. So far, none of the expected GOP candidates have generated a huge groundswell of excitement. There is a void that Cain might be able to fill. His intensive grassroots efforts, unmatched speaking skills and detailed policy stances could be the right combination to propel Herman Cain to a shocking triumph in the 2012 Iowa Caucus.