Is Herman Cain Ready for the Pressure of Being a Front Runner?

The dismal political environment in the United States can bring with it some changes that in previous election cycles would’ve been outright impossible.  The two major parties have created such an expectation of petty political games, corruption, incompetence, and a laundry list of other negatives that they have brought this nation closer to the brink of destruction than at any time since the Civil War.  This has fed a thirst in the American electorate for something different, an outsider, anything but politics as usual.  Don’t believe me?  How in the world do you think President Obama, the least experienced major party Presidential candidate in history, managed to take down both the Clinton political machine and a noted Senator with decades of experience in Washington?  He was portrayed as something different (at the time), and that seemed to be enough.

The GOP has now begun their quest to determine who will oppose Obama next November, and Herman Cain, the former restaurant CEO, has rocketed to the top of the polls in recent weeks.  Cain has checked almost none of the previously required boxes to becoming a major Presidential candidate.  No Ivy League education (though he does maintain college degrees) like the elite ruling class insist is necessary, no experience in elected office of any kind, no political machine or strong network of supporters and get-out-the-vote volunteers, and nearly no money.  Herman Cain has put in his own leg-work.  He worked in the private sector his entire life, far away from the cesspool of Washington.  Herman Cain hasn’t dumped millions of dollars in ads in the critical, momentum-building early caucus/primary states.  Instead, Cain has gone door-to-door, tracking down voters and talking about their concerns, and speaking to groups to spread his message everyday.  Herman Cain owes his rise to nobody but himself, and his followers, because their hasn’t been a large donors and noted political figures coming to his side.  The best part about the Cain campaign is that Herman Cain has done all of this through hard work, and he is being rewarded for his grassroots-building efforts. 

Unfortunately, the weakest part of the Herman Cain campaign is also Herman Cain.  Everything that has made his rise to political notoriety so genuine and a breath of fresh air, is also a potential weakness in todays ruthless campaign environment where the supposedly impartial media is a willing accomplice to character assassination.  Cain does not have the litany of advisors, public relations contacts and spin doctors, donors, ad firms, or the state networks that the other candidates have and will use against him. Cain’s no-nonsense, plain speaking, bold solutions style have been perhaps THE primary reason he has vaulted to the front of the GOP Presidential pack.  The test is now that he is here.  This has already been an ugly Republican primary season, with the candidates perfectly content to maliciously attack each other and what the other candidates MIGHT do, instead of concentrating on President Obama and what he HAS done.  Cain (and Newt Gingrich), and the only candidates to campaign on issues, ideas, and have attempted (at least for the most part) to stay outside and above the political sucker-punches that have been thrown by everyone else in the campaign.  He should receive great credit for this, since in poll after poll, American voters profess that they are disgusted with politics as usual, right? We will see.

The last debate marked a change in the behavior of the Republican candidates.  While Cain continued making a push for his 9-9-9 plan and tried to contrast himself with the policies of Obama, Cain also had to deal with rounds of attacks from the candidates that often mocked his 9-9-9 plan.  Though it may not be a positive hallmark of the modern American system, the truth is that sophomoric jokes like Gov. John Huntsman’s “I thought it was the price of a pizza” remark, are a reality for any prominent candidate, and it will get worse, MUCH worse, than it has been thus far for Cain.

Cain, for all his positives, needs to add the polish and substantive, detailed message of the other professional politicians.  9-9-9, while bold and different, will not carry him to the White House.  He has to be able to grasp specifics on a wide-range of policy issues, before the label of “inexperienced”, or “amateur” gets attached to his campaign.  The good news is that Cain has made great progress on these fronts in recent months.  The bad news is that time is not on his side.

My GOP primary vote remains more or less undecided at present, so I am not writing this as an endorsement or rejection of Cain.  I have been impressed with the man himself, and win or lose, Herman Cain deserves a lot of credit for being a one-man successful campaign.  This would have been thought impossible just a few weeks ago, but Cain has pulled himself up by his own efforts, with very little help from anyone else.  But, now the hard part starts for an outsider like Cain.  The spotlight, and microscope, has turned to him.  The next challenge is whether or not he can deliver.

 

Posted in 2012 Election, Fiscal and Economic Issues | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Happy Birthday, NAVY!

Today marks the 236th birthday of the U.S. Navy.  Challenges abound for our sea service, but as has been true throughout the history of nations, being the dominant sea power is the doorway to the path of being the dominant nation that the United States has become.  Throughout the last two-plus centuries, the Navy has time and again defended our nation from powerful enemy empires and treacherous rogue states.  The history of the Navy is a who’s who of American heroes and icons, from John Paul Jones to Admiral Nimitz.  Despite the absence of a traditional conventional war fought at sea between nations in recent decades, the Navy still produces sailors that are writing America’s history.  Remember, it wasn’t the Army, Marine Corps, or Air Force that went after and killed Osama bin Laden; it was Sailors that got the job done.

The happiest, most rewarding years of my life were spent in the Navy, and I will always be thankful for the time I was able to serve in our maritime service.  I encourage you to find some history on the Navy today, and learn some of the remarkable stories of courage, duty, and adventure that has been the hallmark of the 236 years of the U.S. Navy.  You will be glad you did.

Posted in America, History, Military | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Political Drama to Unfold at GOP Debate Tonight

Every four years we hold Presidential elections, and every four years, I am subject to so much pandering, yellow journalism, and outright lying in the name of a campaign that I am convinced it is taking years off of my life span.  In this overly litigious society, I believe that when I am diagnosed with any heart diseases in my middle age that I will be able to sue the big two political parties for being culpable for my illness.  We shall see.

Regardless, I apparently lack the self-control to stay away from the television during these political exhibitions, so I will be glued my TV tonight when the GOP contenders take to the stage.  I will expect to witness more of all the candidates ganging up to take shots at Mitt Romney the entire debate.  I will expect to Ron Paul beat the drum of sound fiscal policy, calling a spade a spade, and then bringing out the crickets from the crowd with is often bizarre answers when the debate turns to foreign policy.  I will expect a frustrated-by-his-lack-of-airtime former Senator Rick Santorum to proactively seek out a confrontation with both Romney and Paul, as well as Rick Perry if he meanders into Santorum’s sights.  These few things have characterized the first several debates of this campaign season, and I doubt anything has occurred that would halt that from continuing.

That said, there are a few unknown things that I will be watching for.  First, will Rick Perry show up prepared, or will he again struggle through the debate as if he didn’t know where he was and just thought he would stand behind a podium.  With Romney’s stances on multiple issues changing over the last decade, it is hard for me to believe where he stands on things, regardless of what he has said consistently the last three years.  That is precisely the reason why, when he first threw his hat into the race, that Gov. Perry was my guy.  His first debate performance was lackluster to be nice, and the second was a complete implosion.  Like many, it was his liberal, subsidizing of illegals stance on illegal immigration that poisoned the well for me in regards to voting for Perry.  Perry’s support has nearly halved in the few weeks since his disaster of a debate performance, but with his incredibly strong fundraising, he remains one of the top favorites at this point.  However, another performance like the last one will be the final nail in the coffin of a Perry candidacy.  How he responds in crunch time will likely be the lead story of the debate when all is said and done.

Herman Cain has a huge opportunity tonight.  Polling this past week has shown huge Cain momentum, and since it nearly coincides with Perry’s decline, I believe it is reasonable to say that Cain has turned into the backup candidate for conservative voters as Perry has collapsed.  If he has continued to improve his presentation (which has come a long way in recent months, IMO), as well as an ever-improving grasp of the facts of policy, Cain could come out polling number one from the GOP field, or at worst, 1A with Romney.  Cain’s fundraising has been abysmal, but time and effort have definitely been the keys to the Cain campaign.  He is far from a finished candidate, not near ready for a big-time general election against President Obama, but at this pace, he will be.  Nobody on the stage has shown as consistent a message, or such marked improvement as Herman Cain.

While rumors of campaign turmoil have plagued former Speaker Newt Gingrich almost since the day he declared, Gingrich has consistently been one of, if not the, star performer in every debate he has participated in.  Gingrich is a policy wonk, and I doubt there is anyone else on the stage that can recall and place into context more policy minutia than Newt Gingrich.  What’s more is that his engaging, conversational style (along with a few well-delivered, scripted one-liners) reveal Gingrich as someone who is totally at home on the big stage.  What I don’t understand is how this has not translated into huge poll numbers.  Gingrich has seen a mild bump in recent weeks, but it doesn’t do much good to knock ‘em dead in these series of debates if it doesn’t result in people going to the polls for you.

I felt a desire to post about this debate because, as has been noted nearly everywhere, this may wind up being the last shot, and in some cases, the best shot for some of the candidates.  Perry has to come up big, or he may as well return to the Governors Mansion in Austin.  Cain can legitimize himself as a true, upper-echelon candidate for President.  Gingrich could perhaps take a mild rise in support and convert it into a full movement that could provide real steam to his campaign.  Opportunities, and pitfalls, await the GOP candidates tonight.  Stay tuned!

Posted in 2012 Election, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

That Didn’t Take Long; Government to Put Americans on ‘Kill List’

I did a post tuesday on my discomfort and alarm at the Obama administration setting the precedent of killing an American citizen, terrorist Anwar al-Alawki, without any attempt at due process. Today we get this story. As expected, it’s all bad.

The report states that ‘mid-level’ government officials will (and have) list Americans for targeting. The list is then forwarded to the White House. Reuters reports this is the process by which Anwar al-Awlaki was killed.

Oh, I can’t see how this could POSSIBLY go wrong! What a great idea! Instead of abiding by the law, or some of the suggestions we layed out in the previous post, we are just going to have the President make a hit list! Brilliant!

The report also points out other troubling aspects (as if we needed more): there is no legislative authorization or approval of any kind (duh!), no public record of the process or proceedings, or any internal process standard. Translated, the Administration, without authority to do so, meets in secret, without any evidence of the meeting, to make hit lists of Americans as they see fit that day.

I cannot imagine, in a sane world, this being allowed to stand by the courts. My goodness, if the same waterboarding techniques used on our own service members in SERE Schools are torture by court definitions, then surely the arbitrary killing of American citizens by the chief executive is outside the bounds of the Constitution. Right? Right?!

Does there need to be a process by which we have a practical way of dealing with a terrorist similar to the al-Awlaki situation? You betcha. However, allow me to be the first to say that this isn’t it. I’m shocked and alarmed that nobody in the Administration has raised a series of red flags during the development of this non-procedure. If this doesn’t make you sit up and take note, I’m not sure anything will.

I’m praying this does not stand. This may be the most significant step our government has taken towards tyranny in our history. Whatever the positive intentions were, the end result is leaving in place a system that can empower the government to kill whomever they want, whenever they want.

Keep an eye on this, folks. Get ahold of your representatives. I implore you to do SOMETHING.

Posted in America, Government Gone Bad, Terrorism | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Thursday Thoughts

I’m spending my morning scanning the headlines and my news outlets for a topic for a full-on post. As the morning hours on, I’m hopeful that will happen. In the meantime, if you are looking for news and posts of a political nature, I suggest checking in with Bookworm and CDR Salamander.

That said, I would be remiss if I didn’t send my sympathies to the family of Steve Jobs. I’ll be the first to admit that I know woefully little about the man. However, the man was American ingenuity incarnate, and we are all worse off for his passing.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Elimination of Terror Leader Brings With It a Serious Question

The recent death of terror leader Anwar al-Awlaki marked a great victory in American efforts to dismantle foreign Islamic terror organizations aimed at killing more Americans and our allies.
Al-Awlaki’s death in a drone strike is yet another blow deadly to al-Qaeda and their most active affiliate. The world is a better place without him in it. He has been tied to numerous attacks and killings, perhaps most notably (at least here in the U.S.), with the Fort Hood shooting. Without a doubt, he was an enemy of the United States, and has the blood of innocents on his hands. Nobody should shed a tear over his meeting a violent end.

However, it is exactly these reasons, the fact that this was an evil person and a ruthless terrorist, that I’m intrigued by the government handling of his death. This is an emotional case study to be sure.

Regardless of all of the aforementioned facts, there is a major issue to be considered in all of this: al-Awlaki was an American citizen. With the exception of Rep. Ron Paul who has pressed the issue, I have heard very little mentioned on this point, and those that have (typically pundits on talk shows) have completely dismissed that fact as irrelevant. Considering the list of horrific crimes, innocent victims, and acts of evil that characterized al-Awlaki’s life, I am not surprised that nobody seems eager to, in todays soundbite society, put themselves on the side of criticizing the shooting order of one of the worlds worst terrorists. The emotion that is inherent in a situation like this may make a conversation I am trying to have impossible.

By the terms of our Constitution, an American citizen is entitled to due process. My political opponents as well as some courts have made it clear that somehow illegal immigrants and foreign terrorists are entitled to due process, Constitutional rights, and all the benefits and protection of a citizen. How then is it that a citizen is not entitled to these benefits, rights, and treatment?

Do not misunderstand me; I am not advocating for the blanket restriction of force against a terrorist in this circumstance. I am simply pointing out a contradiction in the position of many in politics. Furthermore, I do believe this sets a dangerous precedent. I don’t know about you, but as a general rule, I am not at all in favor of having the government assassinate American citizens. This is a very, very dangerous first in our history.

I believe there were ways the government could’ve prevented such a dangerous beach of public trust in this case. Was al-Awlaki a dangerous enemy of the state. Absolutely. Was the death of al-Awlaki necessary to preserve the lives of Americans and our allies. You betcha. That said, there was no indictment.(pending or otherwise), no conviction, no criminal charges filed, nothing in the legal system that could be pointed to as even a half-hearted attempt at due process. Further, perhaps the Congress could have taken the action of revoking al-Awlaki’s citizenship, which would have made out open season on this evil killer. We haven’t even been told by the Obama Administration if there was a heightened standard of evidence for al-Awlaki based on his American citizenship. Had any of this occurred, this entire discussion (or at least a large portion) would be a moot point.

The emotional charge of this situation fascinates me. This is one of those ‘ticking bomb’, worst-case scenarios that people talk about in debates or as an academic exercise. How much liberty, what rights, what part of the Constitution are you ready to shred for the sake of killing our capturing a killer? Are you willing to risk the possibility that someday that same governmentmay decide to take aim at you our a loved one? Nothing in government happens all at once; it is always incremental. So, the first step towards empowering a government over the citizenry is always the most dangerous.

I hope that all Americans think of these important issues as we move forward.

Posted in America, Middle East, military attack, Terrorism, Uncategorized | Tagged | 4 Comments

The Return….

Professional changes in the life of your humble authors life (as well as a news cycle that I found to simply be more of the same) led to the hiatus from The American Front here in 2011. However, with a bit of an improved news cycle, as well as the privacy of my new office, I have been itching to get back to updating the blog as often as I can.
Try as I might, I am just unable to fight the lure of the very early march to the 2012 elections. Despite the lackluster performances of some of the notables in the GOP race, every debate has kept my attention for unexpected reasons. It is occurrences like these that have again given me the bug.
I hope in the coming days I can provide content worth our readers returning to. Here’s hoping!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments