Herman Cain is a name that the majority of the nation would say they have never heard of before. But if you were to take an honest and open poll based on the following information what might be the answer: A Black man, from the South, with a radio show.
If you didn’t say more, you probably would get responses linking Cain to sports of some sort. If you then said he was involved in politics, the answers would presume that Herman Cain was a Democrat. What else could he be? In fact Herman Cain is nothing like what most political and social expectations would paint him as.
He ran for US Senate in 2004. He worked his way up the corporate ladder – going from analyst to Vice President of Corporate Systems and Services for Pillsbury in 3 years. Then he started over at the bottom of the ladder making hamburgers at Burger King, eventually owning 400 restaurants in the Philadelphia area and transforming it from the worst to the best region in the nation under his leadership. This led to Cain taking over the Godfather’s Pizza chain, and returning it’s profitability in less than 2 years.
Such accomplishments might well earn significant attention to anyone. The high degree of sucess in the corporate arena by a person of color would seem to demand recognition. Why so little is known about Herman Cain is likely because of 3 factors – each again a deviation for expectations.
Herman Cain is a Republican. He also supports the Tea Party. And the third strike was that he is seen as one of the keys to killing the 1993 Clinton attempt at Health Care Reform.
“Cain transformed the debate when he challenged Clinton at a town meeting in Kansas City, Mo., last April. Cain asked the president what he was supposed to say to the workers he would have to lay off because of the cost of the “employer mandate.” Clinton responded that there would be plenty of subsidies for small businessmen, but Cain persisted. “Quite honestly, your calculation is inaccurate,” he told the president. “In the competitive marketplace it simply doesn’t work that way.”
That combination makes it clear why Chris Grant, associate professor of political science at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, has said that “One thing I can tell you about, the last time, when he ran for Senate in Georgia … I’ve never seen another African-American in the audience”. Grant also rates Cain’s chance at the Presidency as, “1,000-to-one shot.”
But what isn’t conveyed in all that is the fact that Herman Cain is a stage-4 cancer survivor. A survival that Cain believes would not have been possible if the Health Care Reform was in place earlier.
“I was able to get my cancer diagnosed, treated in a period of nine months. That’s what saved my life,” he said. “You won’t be able to get the service as you can get today as quickly as you can get it. That’s what I’m saying. It’s that the law, and the bureaucracy is going to slow the process down.”
Put it all together and you have what may well be the most radically different version of a Black man running for President that America will ever have considered. A version that actually has experience in business, has worked in the military (Navy), and politically has tread a path that requires conviction to attain any success.
Would America vote for such a man? Would African Americans? We just might find out shortly if he decides to run for President. He is in the process of taking all the steps needed to formally announce his bid for the Republican nomination. But no one knows if Cain for President will be a reality. At least not quite yet.
Herman Cain. As the 2012 Presidential election race begins and heats up, keep an eye out for this name.
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