Jane Chastain is a Southern California-based broadcaster, author and political commentator. Despite her present emphasis on politics, Jane always will be remembered as the nation's first female TV sportscaster, spending 17 years on the sports beat. Jane blogs at JaneChastain.com. She is a pilot who lives on a private runway.More ↓Less ↑
Mike Huckabee’s departure left many wondering who will fill the void left by the charismatic former governor of Arkansas, whose popularity with social conservatives had him at or near the top of the early polls of possible GOP presidential candidates.
There is only one person who can do that and then some. His name is Herman Cain.
Who is Herman Cain? That was the question people were asking before the first GOP presidential debate on May 5 in South Carolina.
Cain not only won the debate, if the truth is known, he mopped the floor with his four opponents.
It’s early. Very few people watched that debate, but, mark my words, Cain will win every debate that follows in much the same way Mike Huckabee did in the run-up to the 2008 election.
In the 2008 race, it took a while for media elite and political insiders to acknowledge Huckabee as a serious candidate, but eventually his wit, straight talk and overwhelming charm propelled him into the first tier and split the conservative vote, which denied well-heeled Mitt Romney the nomination.
There are two other people who could fill the charisma gap left by Huckabee: former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and outspoken Minn. Rep. Michele Bachmann. The former is unlikely to run and has a tendency to dance around issues she should be knocking out of the park by now. The latter, though direct and media savvy, often makes verbal gaffs and is thin on leadership experience.
Mitt Romney has a Romneycare problem that will not go away. A businessman with much to offer a nation in big financial trouble, he is as exciting as cold oatmeal.
Newt Gingrich, though a charismatic leader, is liberal on environmental issues and has a commercial with Nancy Pelosi touting the dangers of global warming to prove it. If his serial marriages don’t trip him up, his thoughtless, over-the-top remarks about the Ryan budget should put him out of the race.
Rick Santorum hurt himself in 2004 by helping to re-elect liberal Penn. Sen. Arlen Specter instead of backing conservative Rep. Pat Toomey, and has been considered suspect by conservatives ever since.
Ron Paul is seen as weak on defense and, despite his reasoned approach to the role of government, is still a “niche” candidate.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has called for a truce on social issues – something Huck would never do.
Pawlenty, despite his bad start, is a true conservative who has been man enough to say his decision to back cap-and-trade policies was a big mistake. Voters like that. Nevertheless, he does not have the ability to excite a crowd the way Huckabee can.
Cain not only has that ability, but he is a “true believer” who is rock solid on the moral issues. He also is rock solid on the economic issues, an area where Huckabee is weak.
Cain is best-known as the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, but he has a business resume that is second to none. His is a true American success story. The son of a chauffeur and a cleaner earned a degree in mathematics from Morehouse College, then worked full-time in ballistics for the Navy while earning a master’s in computer science from Purdue.
Cain was a business analyst for Coca-Cola, the world largest beverage company. He served as a vice president for Pillsbury and Burger King, working his way up to those positions by taking on the companies’ failing subsidiaries and franchises and turning them around.
No, Cain has not held public office, but he has been around the political barn before. In 2004, he ran for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia and came in second in the primary to the GOP’s hand-picked candidate, then-Rep. Johnny Isakson. By his own admission, Cain was slow getting into that race, and that is why he is expected to formally kick off his presidential campaign at an Atlanta rally this Saturday.
Cain is more Reaganesque than Huckabeeesque. These men were governors before becoming president. Nevertheless, Cain has more business experience then both put together, and that is what is desperately lacking in Washington.
Cain, a WND.com columnist, has spent the last couple of years spreading his ideas across the country and speaking to any group that will listen to his common-sense approach to governing. You will get to know this man and you will like him. I guarantee it.