Here's what I said in my live-blog of the September 22 debate:
8:15 — Herman Cain, is it just a coincidence that all those 9s just matched up in your 999 plan? Also, if we turn that upside down...Note that my main point there was not 666 (the "Number of the Beast"). It was that lining up the digits is too cute. How can it be good policy when there's so much evidence that it was concocted to look snazzy? We're expected to respond to the lure of numerology. Good lord! I don't believe in the devil or have any superstitions about numbers, but I am afraid — legitimately afraid — of people who use or respond to the mysticism of numbers.
This makes me want to check out numerology to see what 9 is supposed to mean. When would a person who believed in numerology choose 9? What about someone who wanted to influence other people who believe in numerology? When would he choose 9? I loathe this sort of superstitious belief system, so I haven't gotten any further than the Wikipedia article on numerology. It says: "There are no set definitions for the meaning of specific digits," but cites an example of the meaning of 9 as "Highest level of change."
Well, Cain certainly is proposing the highest level of change for the structure of federal revenue collection. He seems quite proud of that. Unlike everybody else's proposals his "starts with... throwing out the current tax code." This is not a conservative instinct. It's radical and daring. It seeks to excite us about change. There's some crazy emotionalism in it. Who would buy that? Who would be impressed that the 9s line up so perfectly?