Herman Cain candidate profile
Reason has profiled the major Republican presidential hopefuls and devised a scientific* survey to help readers find true love among the 10 top contenders (Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Gary Johnson, Sarah Palin, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul).
Click here to take an eight-question quiz and find the candidate of your dreams.
* We're using "scientific" in the Republican sense of the word. So we really mean "made up."
Name: Herman Cain
DOB: December 13, 1945 (Shares a birthday with Mary Todd Lincoln, Ted Nugent, Ben Bernanke)
Aliases: The Godfather
Experience: Raised in Atlanta by his mother and janitor/chauffeur/barber father. Math major at Morehouse College. Worked in management for Coke, Pillsbury, and Burger King, and eventually rescued the floundering Godfather's Pizza chain as CEO. Chaired the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Got into politics as the head of the National Restaurant Association (a.k.a. "the other NRA"), where a well-placed quip helped nix HillaryCare—and where he was twice accused of "sexually suggestive behavior." Thence to talk radio, and a 2000 presidential candidacy. Cain is the author of four books, including the prescient They Think You're Stupid (2005).
Hangups: Sharia, the number 4.
Spending/Size of government/entitlement reform: Cain has pledged not to sign any bills longer than three pages.
Economic Policy: Backs a Fair Tax (read all about it here), elimination of the income tax, and the abolition of the IRS. Opposes some (but not all) government subsidies to industry. Cain's tax plan is the much-quoted 9-9-9 plan—9 percent business tax, 9 percent personal tax, 9 percent national sales tax.
Made a name for himself attacking the Occupy Wall Street protesters in October: "I don't have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration. Don't blame Wall Street. Don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job, and you're not rich, blame yourself!"
Foreign policy: Draws on his experience as a pizza magnate to form his views on foreign policy: "There was a very dangerous part of town in the black community where I wouldn't allow my restaurants to deliver because we had kids beat, robbed. And I said 'if I won't send my son over there, I'm not going to send someone else's son or daughter over there.' When I get ready to make a decision relative to foreign policy I will make a decision based upon as if I'm sending my own kids, sons and daughters, into war. I'm not going to do that lightly." Plans for Afghanistan are unclear. Accuses the Obama administration of "foggy foreign policy."
Has recently tried to turn his ignorance on foreign policy into a strength: "I'm ready for the 'gotcha' questions and they're already starting to come. And when they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan I'm going to say you know, I don't know. Do you know? And then I'm going to say how's that going to create one job?"
Drug war: Cain wants to "crack down on the laws against illegal drug use," but would like to see responsibility devolved to the states.
Personal Freedom: Called for President Obama's impeachment over the federal government's role in traditional marriage: "Ordering the Department of Justice to not enforce the Defense of Marriage Act—that's an impeachable offense right there."
Immigration: "We need to secure the border with technology and guns. If that takes 6,000 armed agents on the border, we ought to do that," he told Fox News in May. Has repeatedly raised the spectre of "becoming a lawless nation" if current immigration patterns continue. As president, he has joked (joked!) he would be wiling to consider a Great Wall, alligators, and a moat as well.
Education: Wants to "localize" and "unbundle" education. He supports vouchers, charters, and other reforms, and said in the Ames debate that "the federal government should be out of the business of trying to micromanage the education of our children."
Energy: Says "we must allow all forms of energy the ability to develop in a free market system." Has also said he would appoint a regulatory commission composed primarily of industry insiders to eliminate unnecessary Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations: "The people on this commission are going to be people who know something about coal, oil, shale oil, natural gas, and they will be people whose businesses or individuals who have been abused by the EPA."
Race: Prefers to be called an American black conservative, "because I'm American first." Accused of being a stooge for white Republicans by comedienne and commentator Janeane Garofalo: "Herman Cain, I feel like, is being paid by somebody to be involved and to run for president so that you go, 'Oh, they can't be racist. It's a black guy. It's a black guy asking for Obama to be impeached' or 'It's a black guy who is anti-Muslim,' or 'It's a black guy who is a tea party guy. I feel like, well wouldn't that suit the purposes of whomever astroturfs these things, whether it be the Koch Brothers or ALEC or Grover Norquist or anything. It could even be Karl Rove. 'Let's get Herman Cain involved so it deflects the obvious racism of our Republican Party.'"
Campaign finance: In response to Garafalo, Cain replied "Look, if Janeane Garofalo and these other loonies believe I'm being paid, would she send me the phone number because whoever is supposed to be paying me—they are behind on their payments, OK?"
Horoscope: "The fire within you may be burning brightly, Sagittarius, but unfortunately, there isn't a great deal of fuel available to keep it going," Horoscope.com recently warned.
Religious? Yes. Cain is an associate minister at Antioch Baptist Church North in Atlanta. Describes Jesus Christ as "the perfect conservative."
Campaign site: www.hermancain.com
Reason on Cain:
- Herman Cain Learns That the American President Is a Godfather, Too by Matt Welch, May 25, 2011
- Fair Tax Fouls by Tim Cavanaugh, May 16, 2011
- Restaurant Executive Herman Cain Stands by His Non-Answer On Afghanistan by Mike Riggs, May 16, 2011
- Obama's Imperial Presidency by Gene Healy, May 31, 2011
- Republicans Against Sharia by Matt Welch, March 28, 2011