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Georgia businessman Herman Cain is at or near the top of every poll of GOP presidential candidates, yet political pundits continue to dismiss his chances of winning the nomination.

Not since Ronald Reagan, have Republicans had a candidate who has created this much voter enthusiasm. He is smart, witty, plain-spoken and likable. Yet those “in the know” continue to tell us he has zero chance of being elected.

He has been labeled the “flavor of the week,” a diversion from the serious business of picking a candidate to go against Barack Obama. Dorothy Rabinowitz, a member of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, went as far as to call voter infatuation with Cain “dangerous.”

Does any of this sound familiar? It should. These were some of the same arguments political insiders made against Reagan. He was too radical, too right-wing, didn’t have much of a political base, and he had embraced the radical Moral Majority.

Hindsight is wonderful! Reagan not only became president, he won two overwhelming victories, carrying 44 states in 1980 and 49 states in 1984. He was clearly the most popular president in recent history. He not only won over independents, he won over so many Democrats that these conservatives became known as “Reagan Democrats.”

Cain has a lot in common with Reagan. They came from modest beginnings, the products of hard work and overwhelming optimism. They did not have prestigious Ivy League pedigrees. Cain received a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College and a master’s from Purdue. Reagan earned his bachelor’s degree from Eureka College.

Reagan was ridiculed for being an actor. Surely no one would take him seriously! Cain has been ridiculed for being a pizza man.

Read the story before it unfolds! Herman Cain’s latest book is now available: “This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House”

One of the big knocks against Cain is that he has no foreign-policy experience. The same argument was made against Reagan, the man who is credited with ending the Cold War. What short memories we have!

A lack of foreign-policy experience is an argument that can be made against any governor, even one who has been running for president for five straight years. Yet the pundits are telling us that Mitt Romney and possibly Rick Perry have what it takes.

It’s true. Reagan was a governor and Cain was not. But what Reagan lacked in real-world business experience, Cain has in spades. Furthermore, Cain is the only candidate who has had experience with the Federal Reserve.

This country is at an economic crossroad. Do we go back to the free-market principles that made us great, or do we continue to go down the path toward socialism and financial ruin?

Republicans give lip service to the principles of small government, less spending and lower taxes that Reagan used to lift us out of the Carter recession, but lip service alone will not do it.

Business experience alone won’t do it. If that were the case, voters would be in love with Romney.

We need a candidate who not only believes in free-market principles, but can articulate them the way Reagan did with convincing arguments sprinkled with good humor.

We need a candidate who can inspire those who have lost their jobs, their confidence and their hope and show them that there is something beyond the next government handout.

We need a candidate who has a strong political center, not one shaped by the latest public opinion poll.

We need a candidate who is willing to make the radical changes necessary to get us back on track, not one who is content to simply tinker around the edges and hope the next shoe doesn’t drop.

That is why Herman Cain, despite his still relatively small name recognition, is at or near the top of the polls. That is why Mitt Romney cannot top 25 percent.

The more people get to know Cain, the more they like him. Then, there is Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. The more people get to know it, the more they like it, too. It has been attacked by Cain’s GOP opponents. Why? None of them has come up with a better plan. However, it was scored and found to be revenue neutral by respected tax analyst Gary Robbins. It has been praised by non other than Art Laffer, the architect of Reagan’s economic plan, and House budget chief Paul Ryan.

The biggest reason political insiders are betting the ranch on Mitt Romney or Rick Perry is money. They both have plenty of it. Romney is backed by Wall Street. Perry is backed by big oil.

If Main Street begins putting its money behind Cain, all bets are off.

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