I float an idea whose time may never come, but I float it nonetheless. The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that, whereas 83% of African-Americans held “strongly favorable” views of Barack Obama five months ago, only 58% do so now.
I do not mean to suggest that putting Herman Cain on the ticket would enable the Republicans to sweep the black vote in this country. It would not do so. But it would, I believe, help them to make inroads – substantial inroads, and it might be a real game-changer in other ways as well.
No group has suffered more from unemployment and underemployment than our fellow citizens of African-American ancestry. They are, for the time being, loyal to Barack Obama, whom they have accepted at least provisionally as one of their own. But they are not at all satisfied with his accomplishments, and they are restive and even angry. Some among their leaders have even hinted that the President has betrayed “his people” – and, in a sense, he has.
Nothing Barack Obama has done was genuinely aimed at bringing down unemployment. He and his advisors seized on the recession of 2008 as an opportunity to pass a series of measures, long desired by the left, that had nothing to do with priming the economic pump. The so-called “stimulus” bill was a big pay-off to the unions, the public-sector unions in particular. Obamacare was sold as a jobs bill, but it was never really that. Dodd-Frank has paralyzed the financial services industry, and the prospect that there will be dramatically higher taxes in the near future has depressed hiring. Black Americans are not alone in suffering from Obama’s recklessness, but they have been hit very, very hard. They know it, and they are resentful.
Herman Cain has many virtues. He has turned around a major business; he has experience with the federal reserve. He has tremendous dignity, a sense of humor, and a plethora of good sense. He lacks the familiarity with foreign affairs needed in a President, but he has undoubted expertise of a sort most welcome in a Vice-President. He is forthright, direct, even eloquent, and he is a genuine African-American. Ten seconds of listening to him talk is sufficient to demonstrate that. He is a good man, and he could be for us a very useful man. And what he does not know about foreign affairs, he could easily enough learn in an office subordinate to the President, as others have in the past.
One card that the Democrats will play this year will be the race card. They will play it as never before. They will play it against Mitt Romney, using certain aspects of Mormon theology to smear the man. They will play it against Rick Perry. Just being from Texas makes him guilty, right? And the mainstream media will vent hyperbolically on this theme.
But if Cain were on the ticket – not a fake, invented, post-modern African-American from Hawaii, Indonesia, and the Ivy League, but the real thing – these charges would go nowhere. They might even backfire. Moreover, Cain could begin the difficult, but rewarding task of teaching free-market economics to the one group in this country that most needs to learn about what it can do for them.
I do not mean by this to suggest that Cain would be a better Vice-Presidential pick than Marco Rubio. I like them both; and, if forced to choose, I would probably opt for Rubio. What I would suggest, however, is that Cain would bring some strengths to the ticket and to the office as well. Can you imagine him up against Joe Biden?