I’m not someone who feels it is necessary today to select a presidential challenger to Barack Obama in 2012.

But I have always said it’s good to explore all the options. We shouldn’t have to settle on the lesser of two evils. We shouldn’t have to vote for a guy simply because of his political resume or because he or she has the money in the bank.

Barack Obama, to his credit – or perhaps to America’s discredit – stunned the world in 2008 by winning the Democratic Party nomination and the presidency. Out of nowhere, literally, this man emerged – and he’s still a mystery to Americans in many ways two years into his term.

I’ve always said there are good men and women who can make mincemeat out of Obama in his re-election bid – if indeed he even runs again.

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And I’m especially pleased by my friend Herman Cain’s willingness and openness to the challenge.

Herman Cain is everything Barack Obama is not – a seasoned man of faith and patriotic conviction, an experienced business executive, a natural communicator who doesn’t need a teleprompter, a guy who doesn’t have to hide what he truly believes about America, the Constitution, the rule of law and limited government.

Herman Cain addresses tea-party crowd

He’s clearly another super-qualified candidate if the American people are willing to support a nonpolitician for the presidency. I am. He’s got my support if he can prove himself in the heat of political battle, which I think he can.

One thing’s for sure – we need more unconventional candidates like Herman Cain. We don’t need any more career politicians. We need people like Ronald Reagan, Americans of conviction and common-sense values and real-life experience who can translate that into an appealing message and stick to their convictions even after elections.

I know Herman Cain is that kind of guy.

I’m not saying he’s my pick. I’m not saying he’s the only one out there. What I am saying is he’s one possibility – a possibility that is very exciting.

In previous columns I’ve talked about others – people like Sen. Jim DeMint, Rep. Michele Bachmann.

I’ve also talked about people who are not what we need to undo four years of Barack Obama – Mitt Romney being a shining example.

It’s time to open our minds to the possibilities and stop wringing our hands about who the next Reagan might be. He or she will emerge.

Like I’ve said in the past, I lived through Jimmy Carter. Nobody expected Ronald Reagan to lead us out of the political wilderness through those years of “malaise” and discouragement. He was “washed up,” they said. He was “too old,” they said. He “had his chance,” they said. He was “a lightweight,” they said.

I really believe, in an odd way, that Barack Obama, in spite of all the destruction he has wrought on this country, has awakened the nation to the proper role of government in a free society – giving us an opportunity to take America back, set it on a proper course, reverse decades of bad policies and drift in the wrong direction.

Herman Cain is another name to add to the list.

It’s a long way between now and 2012. But listening to a man like this gives me hope. He’s inspirational, and we desperately need inspiration. He’s fiery, and we desperately need that passion. He’s experienced, beyond the experience one gets playing politics through adulthood.

I don’t know about you, but I get excited thinking about the possibilities for 2012. People like Herman Cain need our encouragement and our prayers.

God bless America! And now it’s on to November 2010.

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