October 12, 2011

The point in the debate when my doubts about Herman Cain suddenly spiked.

Julianna Goldman, the Bloomberg TV White House Correspondent, noting Cain's disapproval of Ben Bernanke, asked him "which Federal Reserve chairman over the last 40 years do you think has been most successful and might serve as a model for that appointment?"

Cain said Alan Greenspan. Goldman asked why, and Cain said:
Because that's when I served on the board of the Federal Reserve in the early 1990s. 
Huh? He's a model because he's the one you served with?
And the way Alan Greenspan oversaw the Fed and the way he coordinated with all of the Federal Reserve banks, I think that it worked fine back in the early 1990s.
So... Alan Greenspan, because you served with him and the way he did everything worked fine? Instead of backing that up with substance, he told us he has 2 candidates for Fed Chairman in mind, but he can't tell us who they are. Useless non-information.

Ron Paul got to speak next:
Spoken like a true insider... Alan Greenspan was a disaster....

Everybody in Washington -- liberals and conservatives -- said he kept interest rates too low, too long. Of course, the solution was, lower them even more, and they think that's going to solve our problem.
But if I had to name one person that did a little bit of good, that was Paul Volcker. He at least knew how to end -- or help, you know, end the inflation....
Paul goes on with details. I'm not saying I agree with Ron Paul, but the contrast between the 2 men was amazing at that point. Cain just did not seem forthcoming. I know he might seem straightforward when he keeps saying 9-9-9 is the answer. But it's also simplistic. And when called on for details, he won't tell you any.

Now, I thought it was a low blow when Huntsman, asked about 9-9-9, said "it's a catchy phrase.... I thought it was the price of a pizza when I first heard about it." My kneejerk reaction was: Huntsman is an elitist, sneering at a man who built a successful business. But look at the emptiness of Cain's defense of his 9-9-9:
... it is not the price of a pizza, because it has been well-studied and well-developed. 
It has? What's the proof of that? This is like approving of Alan Greenspan the way he did things worked well.
It starts with, unlike your proposals, throwing out the current tax code. Continuing to pivot off the current tax code is not going to boost this economy. This is why we developed 9-9-9, 9 percent corporate business flat tax, 9 percent personal income flat tax, and a 9 percent national sales tax. And it will pass, Senator, because the American people want it to pass.
What is why you developed it? There's no there there! And it will pass... why? Because people want it to pass?! The why I would like answered is: Why are people so impressed with Herman Cain?

At this point, Karen Tumulty — the WaPo correspondent — follows up. She wants to know what experts he's relying on. That was my question too when he said "we developed 9-9-9." He wants us to accept on faith that he's got this team that's worked it all out, so that now all he needs to do is say 9-9-9. Cain gives a vague answer:
My advisers come from the American people. Now, I will have some experts. 
What?! You will have some experts? But where did 9-9-9 come from? And what's with the strange expression "My advisers come from the American people." That sounds like he's saying the advisers are not experts. They're some of the people folk. Who knows who? But he will — future tense — have some experts. Is he admitting he doesn't have experts yet? If so, he immediately backtracks:
One of my experts that helped me to develop this is a gentleman by the name of Rich Lowery (ph) out of Cleveland, Ohio. He is an economist, and he has worked in the business of wealth creation most of his career.
So, there's this guy in Cleveland... Who is he? He's "worked in the business of wealth creation most of his career." That's a fancy-schmancy way to say he's a businessman and, it seems, to avoid admitting that this man has no impressive credentials as an economist. I think Cain is conceding that, because the next thing he feels compelled to say is:
I also have a number of other well-recognized economists that helped me to develop this 9-9-9 plan. It didn't come off a pizza box, no. It was well-studied and well-developed, because it will replace the corporate income tax, the personal income tax, the capital gains tax, the death tax, and most importantly, the payroll tax.
See the empty assurance? It was well-studied and well-developed. Was it? Why should we believe that? The sentence continues with the word "because," which ought to lead to a reason why we should believe that 9-9-9 was well-constructed. But it doesn't! "Because" introduces another repetition of what 9-9-9 is. He keeps saying, essentially: We should destroy the existing system because we should destroy the existing system. Put on that abstract level, it's the same approach to future-planning we're hearing from the Occupy Wall Street crowd.

Tumulty pursues him: "So -- so who are some of these economists?" And Cain's truly scary response is: "Rich Lowery (ph) out of Cleveland, Texas, is one of the economists that I have used. He's been my lead economist on helping to develop this."

Obviously, Tumulty meant: who other than the one economist he already named, which was "Rich Lowery (ph) out of Cleveland, Ohio." I mean, maybe there's another Rich Lowery — the one "out of Cleveland, Texas." Cleveland, Texas!

According to Politico, this "Rich Lowery" is Rich Lowrie, and he is "not a trained economist."
Instead, Lowrie — who’s the only economic adviser Cain has been willing to mention by name — is a wealth manager for a division of Wells Fargo and according to his LinkedIn page holds an accountancy degree from Case Western Reserve University. Lowrie also spent three years on the advisory board of the conservative third-party group Americans For Prosperity.
Come on, people. This infatuation with Herman Cain is embarrassing. Wake up!

261 comments:

1 – 200 of 261   Newer›   Newest»
TWM said...

"Cain just did not seem forthcoming. I know he might seem straightforward when he keeps saying 9-9-9 is the answer. But it's also simplistic. And when called on for details, he won't tell you any."

So you're holding him to a higher standard than you did Obama? A bit late to be requiring specifics, but good to know.

Fred4Pres said...

I agree that was a weak argument. Greenspan is somewhat responsible for the mess we are in now (but the true cuplable parties are right not advising your pick Barack Obama). But I like Herman Cain. His instincts are conservative.

Henry said...

@TWM -- I certainly hope Althouse and everyone else is holding Cain to a higher standard than Obama.

OTOH, if Cain is the nominee and he is still this vague and he is running against Obama, whose positions are now well known and whose resume is four years thicker, is Obama's accumulation of specifics at all in Obama's favor over the vague Cain?

Everything is relative. Is McCain running for the next election? No? Good.

p.s. How is Herman shortened to Herb? Herb? Peaches and Herman?

Shouting Thomas said...

It's embarrassing?

The performance of the experts has been pretty embarrassing over the past 15 years, too.

I'm not impressed by credentials. We've tried turning everything over to Harvard and Yale credentials heroes, and that hasn't worked so well. They told us Diversity was the key to everything, including deciding who should get a home loan.

I'll wait and see on Cain. So far, I've like some of the things he's had to say.

And, I'm more inclined to return to the concept of the citizen legislator/president, rather than to continue in the direction of the professional legislator/president of unlimited shelf life.

Ann Althouse said...

"So you're holding him to a higher standard than you did Obama? A bit late to be requiring specifics, but good to know."

Why are you bringing up Obama? What are you really saying?

This is not about me, but if you look back at my posts, I made similar criticisms of Obama's abstractions and emptiness.

You seem to be saying now it's the Republicans turn to fall in love with a dreamy African American man. That's ridiculous, and frankly, insulting to Cain and any other black people who might want to run for office.

Carol_Herman said...

Even though Herman Cain says he's a "businessman." And, he is the Godfather of Pizza. The truth is that he was a regional piece of Nen Bernanke's awful economic reign.

Which started with Alan Greenspan's "cheap money."

You want to escape the horrors of our Ponzi economy? You won't get there with ANY of the candidates that are appealing to the religious right.

It would be on par with going to the screaming left nutters ... who are herded like cattle through Wall Street. Other parts of Manhattan IF they can get there. (While under the direction of a republican mayor who has presidential aspirations, no less.)

In other words?

As long as you're focused on eliminating abortion ... you haven't got a Chinaman's chance in hell of watching your candidate get elected.

The "Herman Cain" card is so that the white haters could somehow look supportive of Black people.

Of all the candidates so far in the running, the margins increase for Obama ... on each and every one of the candidates you watch debating.

Herman Cain probably has the least traction. Since the "base" isn't going to be leaving Obama any time soon.

This is made worse if the race sets up: Funny Underwear Man and the Pizza Guy.

Ann Althouse said...

"His instincts are conservative."

It's not conservative to trash the entire system of funding the federal government and replace it with something concocted more out of numerology than economics.

Chip S. said...

FTR, there is a Cleveland, Texas, northeast of Houston.

Not that I think a CWR-trained accountant lives there....

Ann Althouse said...

His instincts are abstract and radical.

jrberg3 said...

I think now that Cain is the flavor of the month and more people start asking him detailed questions and are paying attention to his responses, you'll see him picked apart and possibly start to fade. He has no track record in government from which to judge him. He's thinking outside the box on some serious issues but if he can't articulate them better his numbers will dwindle.

I like his principles, I'm just not sure he can pull this off.

Carol_Herman said...

Why do you think the media is so hot to give these "debates" top billing?

Short answer: Letting Obama run as an underdog appeals to many of the elites!

Seven Machos said...

I like a lot of people. They shouldn't be president.

It's a job, people, like any job. You need certain skills to be good at it. Like dealing with a legislature. Like explaining things well. Cain doesn't have those skills, because he has never had any job remotely qualifying for the job of U.S. president.

He hasn't won an office, either, which bodes poorly for his electoral chance against a man who is only good at winning offices.

Agree wholeheartedly with Althouse: wake up, people! This is embarrassing.

AJ Lynch said...

9-9-9 will not drive sufficient tax revenue especially when Cain says he will eliminate payroll taxes.

Is it possible his 9% sales tax is in fact a VAT which charges the sales tax at every stop in the chain of consumption?

Fred4Pres said...

I am glad your skeptism is so high to the various Republicans, if only it was so tuned to the Democrat currently in office. While Greenspan, Paulson and Bush had their roles in what occurred, the roots to the crisis go back to policies promoted by Rubin, Summers, and Geithner during Clinton's term. This was bipartism at its worse. To suggest we had a crash just because of low interest rates is rather shallow.

Chip S. said...

I'm starting to worry that Newt will be the last one standing. He was the first one to fall off the radar, so Kaus's Feiler Faster theory says he's got time to rehabilitate his image and make a stirring comeback.

jrberg3 said...

"It's not conservative to trash the entire system of funding the federal government "

He's not the first to suggest such a plan to institute a national sales tax with a lower income tax. And I wouldn't call that such a radical idea nor would I consider it non-conservative.

Fred4Pres said...

9-9-9 is not a bill about to be voted on. It is a conceptual idea to be pursued as a goal. Flat and fair taxes have been discussed a long time.

Personally I do not see it happening anytime soon. But I like that Cain is actually promoting something.

Bob Ellison said...

Professor, I agree with your questions and criticisms. I like Cain so far, but he has to brush up in order to measure up.

But your general question seems to be "why can't a woman be more like a man?" Cain is not behaving like the rest very much. He has a pretty specific plan, but he says he'll wait to reveal all the names behind it. His statement about Greenspan was weak, but it's not indefensible, despite Ron Paul's loony, quotable response.

Cain seems to have substance. I want to see more, but he's got a plan, it's easy to understand, it's bold, it looks good, and the criticisms of it are mostly child-like, like Santorum asking "who wants a national sales tax?"

Fred4Pres said...

Newt is dead to me.

Remember Scozzafava.

MarkG said...

You seem to be saying now it's the Republicans turn to fall in love with a dreamy African American man.

I'm afraid there's probably some of that going on. Maybe a lot of that going on.

Shorter Cain: "I have a bold plan, and I'm going to boldly implement my bold plan."

madAsHell said...

fall in love with a dreamy African American

Cain is a dreamy African American?? Who knew?

Dreamy!! Interesting choice of words. So....maybe Obama wasn't the rational choice.

machine said...

That's right, all the problems in America were created by Democrats...they hate America and want it to fail...they intentionally institute policy that will make everyone in the country suffer...there is not one Republican who should share in any of the problems created solely by President Obama and the rest of all the Democrats...

Is this the argument?

Carol_Herman said...

The "debates" reminds me of the "speeding bullet train." Where, on paper, it looks like you can cover 300 miles in an hour. IT WILL NEVER BE BUILT!

But you can always find "investors."

Just like you can find them for "solar panels."

Suckers are born every minute.

And, politics is an old con game.

After McCain?

After that gigolo LOST in 2008, and BOTH Bush's did so much harm to the republican party ... voters won't be falling into the traps that are set out to catch "tea party people" on the loose.

The way they fall in love with stuff should be left to Hollywood.

The future is not as bright as you think.

The country is not up for grabs by the religious right.

And, the "messages" ... massaged by the people picked by the Tea Party ... has lots of republicans working overtime ... probably knowing Obama wins ... BUT pubbies can make inroads in Local and State affairs.

Maybe, another DC senate seat, or two?

And, just like the aging on the supreme court.

One side is playing for keeps.

The other? It's a religious experience.

Triangle Man said...

if only it was so tuned to the Democrat currently in office

Revisionist! The Internet never forgets, but Fred4Pres does.

Carol_Herman said...

$9 $9 $9. Sounds like an offer for three small pizzas.

Doesn't sound like a plan.

Let alone SUDDENLY everyone is paying the same local taxes on everything they buy! 9%!

What's with VAT?

EDH said...

As I alluded to last night, 999 is a "brand" of heroin.

The 999 is a lowquality, inexpensive heroin with twice the normal punch. And, the euphoria its users experience can have disastrous aftereffects.

Keith Richards sings about heroin... or tax policy? Hard to tell.

Makin' it, doesn't matter how many
Takin'it
Well, I can't shake it
Off of my back, damn monkey
It's either too tight
Or it's too slack

How much
That's all it is ooh
Ninety nine
How much, yahh
Now, ninety nine
You better hack it baby
Yea, my time exploded, space blew up
Need something in my dixie cup
Whoa, let me get it right
There's the best pair of lips I've kissed all night

How much, well give it to me
I'll pay you later
Nine ninety nine
Ohh, I got a pocket calculator
Yeah, wake up, it don't make sense
Nickles and dimes
Nine ninety nine

The lion and the lamb are locked in an embrance
You won't get it till it's in your face
Ohh, I got me out of depper red
Don't panic
Ah, it's where I want to be
Yeah, oh
A useful member of society, huh!
I just need a little of that old money

Gimme ninety nine, yea
Well, I can't shake it off of my back
God damn monkey
Aw, it's too tight, or it's too slack
Yeah some things never change
Price of bullets remains the same

Here we go
Hand over fist, slap on the wrist
Umm, nine nine
That's all I'm askin'How much
How much do you want to give
Just a little bit
Nine
Yeah they operate
Look at the state of my baby
Wll, it cost 20 grand, pitfull
Yeah, that's a nine
Put your money where your mouth is
Cough it up
Ohh nickels and dimes
Yeah, huh, ooh

Tank said...

AA being Cain in this post:

She knows Ron Paul is right, but can't say she agrees with him because ... he's Ron Paul.

LOL.

Yes, Annie, on the economic issues Ron Paul is exactly what we need and won't get from ANY of the other candidates.


But, you can't say that because ... he's ... Ron Paul.

edutcher said...

Uh oh, "How Cain Lost Me".

I wasn't wowed with that response, either, but his plan is still the basic layout of how this mess gets fixed.

Much as I hate to agree with Ron Paul on anything, I think he's right when he says trying to tweak the existing system won't work (largely because we know how corrupt it is).

And I would do a little extra research on the economist he named. Taking Politico's word for anything is a fool's errand.

Seven Machos said...

I like a lot of people. They shouldn't be president.

It's a job, people, like any job. You need certain skills to be good at it. Like dealing with a legislature. Like explaining things well. Cain doesn't have those skills, because he has never had any job remotely qualifying for the job of U.S. president.


Baloney.

He's been a major player in the corporate world. He's actually planned things out and made them work, including having to work with legislative bodies at all levels.

Which, God knows, Barry and the rest of the Brain Trust never did.

He hasn't won an office, either, which bodes poorly for his electoral chance against a man who is only good at winning offices.

Sure.

GodZero's opponents at the state level all just happened to be torpedoed one way or another before they made it to Election Day.

Barry won because he always ran unopposed.

Seven Machos said...

Is this the argument?

No one is saying such piffle but, certainly, the inane spouting you spouted is your counter argument, which is sad and ridiculous.

My advice is to go ahead and just masturbate in public. You've got a better shot at convincing people you are right that way.

neobil said...

"My kneejerk reaction was: Huntsman is an elitist."

"This infatuation with Herman Cain is embarrassing. Wake up!"

Who's the elitist, Ann?

(BTW, my mother taught me to never be embarrassed for someone else.)

Spread Eagle said...

Paul Volcker would've been a better choice, but then Volcker's era as Fed Chair predated Cain's Fed involvement. So, I take Cain's naming Greenspan as resulting to some degree from loyalty.

TWM said:

So you're holding him to a higher standard than you did Obama? A bit late to be requiring specifics...

Yeah. I love Althouse, but the myopia is sometimes stunning.

Cain is still learning how this political game is played. But his instincts are right. And, comparing him to, say, Sarah Palin, who also has good instincts, Cain is way ahead of her in molding himself into a viable candidate. Cain could pull this off.

Scott M said...

Our local morning-drive political talker took a call today from a regular caller, a black liberal, who's only point was;

"I just wanted to throw something in your face. You always say white liberals only voted for Obama out of guilt, well, what is Cain but the same thing for conservatives?"

Alman, the host, hit it out the park. He said,

"The difference between conservatives and white-guilt liberals is that conservatives don't harbor any guilt. I never owned slaves. I don't support reparations, and I'm against affirmative action of any kind"

Awesomesauce. Make sure that one's in your ammo pouch as it's sure to come up in the months ahead.

Seven Machos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip S. said...

@Machine--That's it? That's what it's come to for Democrats? "We're not 100 percent responsible for the FUBAR economy?

Wow.

exhelodriver said...

"This infatuation with Herman Cain is embarrassing. Wake up!"

Would a pot and kettle reference to your infatuation with Obama be considered racist?

Seven Machos said...

He's been a major player in the corporate world.

Dude. Get over yourself. He ran a minor pizza chain. Are you considering voting for the Pap John's guy, too? After all, he's a major-major player. Better pizza, too. Because better ingredients.

TWM said...

"Why are you bringing up Obama? What are you really saying?

This is not about me, but if you look back at my posts, I made similar criticisms of Obama's abstractions and emptiness.

You seem to be saying now it's the Republicans turn to fall in love with a dreamy African American man. That's ridiculous, and frankly, insulting to Cain and any other black people who might want to run for office."

It may seem to be saying that but I'm not. I'm simply pointing out that if you and millions of other very smart people had either looked a little deeper or not let the "wonder of the moment" get the best of them, Obama would not have won and we would not be in the crappy state we are now. I suppose on hindsight it was a mean jab, and for that I apologize, but darn it, sometimes I just get so fricken angry at the position we are in now and how those that voted for Obama helped put us there it just has to come out.

Anyway . . .

I'm all for looking very deeply at all the candidates and I'm certainly not giving Cain a pass because he's black (and btw he's anything but "dreamy," although Obama sure got a lot of votes on that alone).

As to his 9-9-9 plan, I agree it is simplistic, but that appears to be the point. Our tax system is ridiculously complex and outdated and simple is what we need. I too want to know more details on it, and I expect he will provide those as we get closer, or not, in which case he'll pay for his lack of substance I imagine.

Finally, every post you do is about you, as it is with all bloggers, because part of you is in each post. I would say especially for you, Ann, because you always bring something personal, and almost every time, unique to each one. That's why I like your blog so much. Plus, the post was about your doubts about Cain so yeah it is about you too.

Jenner said...

I don't see that people are infatuated with him. I think that is an exaggerated characterization of the interest.

But honestly, why do you have to split hairs so much? Let's look at how people have conducted themselves during their lives. Let's look at what they have accomplished. I think that is a far better way to judge these people rather than parsing each syllable of what they say during a high pressure moment.

I wish you'd spent half the amount of time as you spend on these analyses learning about who Obama really is.

edutcher said...

Chip S. said...

@Machine--That's it? That's what it's come to for Democrats? "We're not 100 percent responsible for the FUBAR economy?

Actually, they are.

Seven Machos said...

He's been a major player in the corporate world.

Dude. Get over yourself. He ran a minor pizza chain. Are you considering voting for the Pap John's guy, too? After all, he's a major-major player. Better pizza, too. Because better ingredients.


Cram the ingredients someplace.

He was Pillsbury's ace troubleshooter. Their go-to guy.

They counted on him to save Burger King and Godfather's.

And he did.

Your guy Zero can't even save his job.

X said...

His instincts are abstract and radical.

Hope & Change was pretty abstract and an ACORN community organizer who pals around with Bill Ayers could fairly be called radical. Is our professors learning?

Michael said...

SevenMachos: You ought to take a longer look at Cain's CV. He ran a few things considerably larger than the pizza chain.

Seven Machos said...

Your guy Zero can't even save his job.

My guy? Really, dude. You are losing perspective.

As I say: get over yourself. Herman Cain isn't a serious presidential candidate. That's the beginning, middle, and end of the story.

The epilogue is that he's making a nice living for himself and influencing the debate. Good for him. But he's not going to be president and he should not be unless he can win a lower office first.

cubanbob said...

Ann Althouse said...
"His instincts are conservative."

It's not conservative to trash the entire system of funding the federal government and replace it with something concocted more out of numerology than economics.

10/12/11 9:44 AM

You have described our present system of financing the federal government. Getting rid of it is part of the solution, not part of the problem. Is Cain the One? Probably not, but more of the same that we have now but more competently managed isn't the answer.

Cain's 9 9 9 plan is catchy and may even work but since there is a federal sales tax component to it I doubt that it could be passed due to constitutional issues. That I defer to your opinion as a law professor.

The Drill SGT said...

Reminds me of how well all those 300 Foreign Policy Advisers got O'bama ready to reset US policy for the better around the world :)

A Cast of 300 Advises Obama on Foreign Policy

NYT:
By ELISABETH BUMILLER
Published: July 18, 2008

net said...

Why are you bringing up Obama? What are you really saying?

What people are really saying is that your arguments for supporting Obama is 2008 have always seemed like a weak cover for the swooning you correctly deride in others. I say that because Obama's political inexperience, his incurious but adamantly leftist doctrine, and his weakness of personality led to negative shocks to the economic and foreign policy stage that even a squish like McCain would have been able to avoid. Since many of us consequently don't believe your persistent claims of rationality, we find it a little irritating when you accuse Cain supporters of the same. (Cain's not perfect, of course, but he's done some real things. Obama's successes have always been limiting to marketing himself.)

Holmes said...

My answer to defend the 9-9-9 plan. "You think the current rates are purposeful? Our tax code of X thousand pages is an intentional act planned by economists? It's byzantine and an albatross. My plan is simple and would put millions of people to work, not including scores of tax accountants who will now need jobs.It would also ensure that everyone pays into our system. The average tax revenue has been 19% historically. This guarantees 18%, but revenues will actually be higher given higher gdp and lower opportunity costs to reporting income."

Seven Machos said...

Michael: Cain's CV includes not one governorship, not one star in the military, not one term in the House or Senate -- not even mayor of Wasilla.

If we've learned one thing these last few years, it ought to be that we should elect politicians who are good at doing jobs in politics. And there's only one way to achieve that. It's not by working at Godfather's, or Pillsbury, or as a lackey at the Fed, or even at Burger King.

Shanna said...

Now, I thought it was a low blow when Huntsman, asked about 9-9-9, said "it's a catchy phrase.... I thought it was the price of a pizza when I first heard about it."

Good on Huntsman because that’s actually kind of funny. I don’t think it’s elitist to tie in to the thing Cain has actually done. And 999 does sound like a price point, which is probably why he picked it. Is it rude to skewer someone accurately?

I agree with you that the Greenspan answer was weak. I don’t get the Cain obsession. But then I stil like Perry and everybody seems to have gone "boo, hiss" on his campaign...

Steve Koch said...

One of Althouse's best posts. Honest, informed criticism is so valuable.

Cain might be on the right track with his 999 plan but if he does a poor job of explaining himself, he actually hurts the chances that he (or anybody else) will reform the system.

Cain having zero political experience means that he is very likely to make devastating rookie mistakes during a presidential campaign.


These debates are good because it gives us a chance to get to know the candidates and it gives them the opportunity to make disqualifying mistakes. The more rigorous the qualifying process is, the more likely that process is to produce a good GOP nominee.

Seven Machos said...

You people bringing up Obama need to remember that Obama was running against a guy who ran a terrible campaign, at a time when a Democrat -- any Democrat -- was nearly destined to win.

Further, your arguments undermine themselves. We elected a politically inexperienced person who has failed. Should we therefore elect another politically inexperienced person?

But tell us about the psychic orgasm you'll feel if Althouse admits she was wrong to be lost by McCain. Come forth. Spew.

The Drill SGT said...

I'm just fine with Greenspan's response. Reminds me of McCain and a similar response in either 2000 or 2008.

I would not only re-appoint Alan Greenspan, if he would happen to die, God forbid, I would do like they did in the movie Weekend at Bernie's. I would prop him up and put a pair of dark glasses on him

edutcher said...

Seven Machos said...

Michael: Cain's CV includes not one governorship, not one star in the military, not one term in the House or Senate -- not even mayor of Wasilla.

If we've learned one thing these last few years, it ought to be that we should elect politicians who are good at doing jobs in politics. And there's only one way to achieve that. It's not by working at Godfather's, or Pillsbury, or as a lackey at the Fed, or even at Burger King.


Which is exactly how the professional politicians keep people from looking elsewhere for executive and legislative talent.

ndspinelli said...

Just far up the professor's ass is Carol Herman's nose? I don't think you can even see her ears!!

FedkaTheConvict said...

Here are Jared Bernstein's credentials:

Bachelor's in Fine Arts from the Manhattan School of Music;
Master's in Social Work from the Hunter School of Social Work; master's in philosophy at Columbia University;
Ph.D. in social welfare from Columbia

He's was the "economic" advisor to both Biden and Obama.

I think I'd much prefer taking economic/financial advice from Rich Lowrie than Jared Berstein.

traditionalguy said...

Cain is suddenly the subject. Why?

He wants to do something bold that is simple enough to understand and that he believes will lead the business owners to get back into the game again.

A Depression is simply the cessation of productive work because of fear and confusion.

The shell game called economics is a tool of the establishment who already having made their fortunes, have long quoted to create confusion and fear that protects their positions from competition.

The establishment men holding cash in a Depression usually end up owning everything valuable when the dust clears.

Mitt Romney totally relies on this secrecy and confusion that only he supposedly understands, or he smugly pretends to understand.

You will notice that Mitt is not asked for explanations. Mitt has nothing to explain because his daddy's money is the only seal of approval he needs.

And Cain has become Romney's only opponent now.

So the fear and confusion propaganda are going into high gear using a GOP version of Journolist type coordinated media.

Seven Machos said...

Which is exactly how the professional politicians keep people from looking elsewhere for executive and legislative talent.

You don't get executive or legislative talent as a CEO. Sorry. You get such talent by having experience at being an executive or legislator in a government setting. You start at the bottom. You work your way up.

It makes no more sense to hire some minor CEO as president than it does to hire George W. Bush or Bill Clinton to be a minor CEO. They wouldn't know what they are doing. They would flail. Only inertia would carry the entity along until they either figured it out or a new leader came along.

Sound familiar?

Lem said...

Among the reasons why it was so easy for Tina Fay to ridicule Sarah Palin was her smarts and good looks.

Obama offers much of the same refuge to Cain detractors.

I'm not a Cain fan, but Obama fans have little gravitas criticizing Cain in my book.

cubanbob said...

Fred4Pres said...
I am glad your skeptism is so high to the various Republicans, if only it was so tuned to the Democrat currently in office. While Greenspan, Paulson and Bush had their roles in what occurred, the roots to the crisis go back to policies promoted by Rubin, Summers, and Geithner during Clinton's term. This was bipartism at its worse. To suggest we had a crash just because of low interest rates is rather shallow.

10/12/11 9:46 AM

Low interest rates, artificially low interest rates is precisely why we had a crash. It resulted in the misallocation of capital and fueled speculative bubbles and why we have a devalued dollar and the incipient inflation. The Fed is acting on its mandate to create full employment via monetary policy (albeit failing miserably). You can thank the democrats for that piece of pernicious well intentioned idiocy.

Ron Paul is a nut but he is right on several points. The Federal Reserve needs to be tasked to maintain the value of the currency and not on some fool's errand mission to seek maximum employment vis monetary policy.

Don said...

Given Cain's background as a mathematician and businessman it might not be surprising that he does not connect with AA and probably won't with the highly verbal/sophisticate crowd. Not sure that is anything to be embarrassed about though. His experience suggests he is at least as administratively competent as Romney. His down-to-basics approach is probably more readily acceptable to a quantitatively oriented audience. Hoover and Carter were the last presidents with comparable quant skills. Who knows? Maybe Cain will be the third who is the charm and breaks that losing streak.

E.M. Davis said...

Michael: Cain's CV includes not one governorship, not one star in the military, not one term in the House or Senate -- not even mayor of Wasilla

Because all of those so credentialed have worked out so well.

sonicfrog said...

Ann... Yep! Here is what I wrote last week when i noticed a lot of friends lining up with Cain:

A part of me likes Herman Cain. He is as close to an “outsider” as you’re going to see from either party. But here is the thing that bothers me.

On many issues, he’s a blank slate. Yes, he’s said stuff on this point or that, but there is absolutely no track record of action to bolster the campaign promises made so far. Remember, it wasn’t too long ago that another candidate ran with no experience in various capacities, who made promises that he couldn’t keep.

Barrack Obama.

* Had no business experience.
* Had little to no foreign affairs experience.
* Had no experience as an executive.
* Voted “present” many times in the Illinois Senate to avoid having to make any controversial decisions that would hurt him in the future.

Granted, there are key differences between Cain and Obama. Cain has eons of business experience that Obama can only dream of, not that he would, apparently. But, my point is this:

Foreign Policy – Cain has “0″ experience in that capacity; maybe even less than candidate Obama did a few years ago. Do we want that in these internationally turbulent times?

Who will Cain appoint as financial advisers? 20 to 1 says it will be the same Wall Street / Goldman Sachs types that we’ve seen appointed to those positions for the last 30 years! After all, they are looked upon as the most business friendly.

Also, consider this; Cain is a business man. If the banks are in trouble again, as they were in 2008, do you really think Cain will just sit back and watch the banks suffer banks runs or fail, which would greatly hamper the business community as a whole?


Greenspan... Really??? Greenspan was culpable in the Savings and Loans rip-off in the late 80's. Instead of being put in jail, or at the very least, shamed so bad he could never get a job in finance... He was put in charge of it!

I'm just kidding about the jail think... I was channeling a 99%er. But the point is there. His involvement in this should have kept him off the Chair.

net said...

But tell us about the psychic orgasm you'll feel if Althouse admits she was wrong to be lost by McCain.

I like this blog a lot, but I'll feel better if and when Althouse can acknowledge that Obama is probably worse than McCain would have been. Perhaps that's petty of me, but that's probably the least of my character flaws.

Paddy O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Salamandyr said...

I'm not a fan of the 9-9-9 plan, because it's a step on the road to a national sales tax, which I'm not in favor of. Also, Herman Cain hasn't impressed me in any of the debates so far.

That being said, he's impressed the hell out of me outside the debates. He's got a record of accomplishment that can't be argued with; I have a feeling we are not seeing him in his best environment.

But I'm damned sick of the pizza jokes. Memo to Jon Huntsman; the opinion of the electorate is already that you're a supercilious prick. Try not to reinforce that impression. Cain's built rose to the top in entirely different fields, multiple times. Belittling that just makes you look like a schmuck.

Lucius said...

Huntsman actually made a pretty good crack: and look how the damn shook afterwards.

I haven't even deigned to think about this Cain person because the idea is madness. Ross Perot would be a more likely President.

All this willywonka talk about "instincts"-- how can conservatives talk so? It's like you're looking to take home some boozy broad in a nightclub at 3am to meet your momma. "No man, I'm *sure* she's got good instincts though!"

Perry, Cain, blah blah. Well Perry's a governor, at least.

Time to settle in with the Establishment, unless Rudy's getting in.

AJ Lynch said...

Fedka- I always wondered how Jared can call himself an economist and I wish TV shows would list these weak qualifications when he appears as an "expert guest".

TCB-n-a-Flash said...

Trust me. It's going to be Romney-Cain. Calling it on 10.12.11.

Lem said...

I'll be the first to tell you I have no clue what 999 is..

But something tells me its a lot more than change and hope.

Paddy O said...

"You seem to be saying now it's the Republicans turn to fall in love with a dreamy African American man"

Maybe a little bit, and for some of the same reasons, I think. Because Obama has no record to run on the issue of racism will be deployed constantly throughout the campaign, blatantly disingenuous use at that. We saw this quite clear with Perry's rock.

Race will be utilized as a political weapon. So, it is not entirely unseemly to undercut this strategy, the best strategy Obama has, by offering the counter-narrative of Cain, which is unarguably more embedded in the American history of racism than Obama's narrative.

Couple this with Cain offering a visible symbol of alternative approaches to racial healing and success. Obama provides the rhetoric of the aggrieved academic, while Cain provides the possibilities of the hard working man. Cain is the expression of an embodied hope and change that refuses to accept the negative stereotypes, and pushes forward into success.

These two approaches to a defining narrative of American history are in stark opposition to each other, and as identity politics is as much a force in contemporary society as economic attention, it's an entirely cogent strategy to hit Obama not only where he is weak but also with his apparent strengths.

The question then becomes about whether Cain is sufficiently capable enough on his own merits, which is arguable if we are considering ideal candidates. But we aren't. We're considering the palette of choices who were on that stage last night, and while Cain doesn't offer the political experience of Romney, he compares very favorably in terms of management and business experience. And Romney's political career is, for many, a negative on his record.

Which means Cain is about equal in terms of executive experience, far beyond Romney in terms of a strategically useful narrative, and so I think makes a pretty convincing candidate.

Now, sure, if there was a way to give a Presidential Aptitude Test, and we could determine a President solely by test scores, that would be best, right?

But, I think, that broader narratives and life choices should also have a bearing on who is elected. And if that's the case, then Cain offers as much or more than our present choices in the primary or general election.

edutcher said...

Seven Machos said...

Which is exactly how the professional politicians keep people from looking elsewhere for executive and legislative talent.

You don't get executive or legislative talent as a CEO.


Executive tasks are how CEOs make their money.

Seven just beclowned himself.

GodZero had his Senate seats handed to him, he'd never really had to fight for a seat in his life - until now. If he hadn't been marketed so well (and that's what running for office is), nobody would have given him even a first glance.

Not to mention the fact the "never won elective office" isn't brought up when the occasional military man has run for POTUS.

Lucius said...

"dam"--I think I was about tempted to pun for "dame", meaning Althouse's quiver of righteous indignation.

Well played, madam.

gadfly said...

This is a great analysis of Cain's below-the-surface emptiness. (This from a guy who jumped on the Cain bandwagon after Sarah said no). However, I will say that most of us draw from our own experiences when answering questions for which we are unprepared - and Cain's only direct contact with a Fed Chairman was Alan Greenspan (who, by the way, was thought to be God personified in the nineties).

999 is an unnecessary pre-curser to the Fair Tax, so let's cut to the chase. BTW, Bachmann's snarky comment about "the devil is in the details" and Santorum's disingenuous question to the NH audience as to whether or not they wanted to pay a federal sales tax dropped both of these candidates from my list of possibilities.

So if I won't vote for Mittens, Huntsman, Bachmann, Santorum, Cain or Paul - I am down to Governor Good Hair (he of great debating skill, cronyism and Mexican wet dreams) or Newt (Nancy Pelosi's Global Warming buddy).

It now appears that we are all out of Schlitz

FedkaTheConvict said...

>>You don't get executive or legislative talent as a CEO. Sorry.<<

You don't get executive experience as a Chief Executive Officer?

You've got to be kidding.

ricpic said...

We've got to get back to the gold standard or inflation will totally debase the value of the dollar, making any solution to any of the major problems facing us impossible. Only Ron Paul understands this and therefore understands the need to end the Fed. It is more than scary that Cain holds Greenspan - a major architect of FED planned inflation - in high regard.

traditionalguy said...

Reagan's instincts were called Voodoo economics and were based on a Laffer Curve. ( Carol can take shots at that too)

What Reagan did was to unleash the confidence of business owners to start to work again for a reward>

Voodoo lead to 22 out of the next 25 years becoming a growth curve into prosperity.

Noboby laughed at Laffer any more.

dreams said...

I agree with Althouse, we don't need another President who doesn't know what he is doing. I prefer Perry but I like Romney too who was my choice in 2008. As Ann Coulter said, it takes courage for a black man to be conservative so I like Cain but not for President.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"...
Dude. Get over yourself. He ran a minor pizza chain. Are you considering voting for the John's guy, too? After all, he's a major-major player. Better pizza, too. Because better ingredients."'

Well I think either one, would be fine. I mean they at least had a job and based upon the current president, are already ten points ahead in qualifications.

Some of you guys remind me of my one cousin who at 42 is still single cause she's looking for Mr perfect. Guess what,.he doesn't exist.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

As a former professional (over 20 yrs financial planning and investments) in the financial industry, I was appalled when Cain said...Greenspan.

I agree completely with Paul, that interest rates have been kept artificially low for too long. They are too low NOW.

While I like the 9-9-9 idea, there remain many problems with the concept.
The first being State and Local sales tax.

If you add in the 8.25% that we are paying in California for State sales taxes to 9%, this means at least a 17.25% surcharge on everything you buy.

As a person who pays WAY more than 9% in Federal Taxes on personal income and who pays corporate taxes, as well as payroll taxes, this trade off may work for me.

However, for the person who is in a lower tax bracket already, say 15%....it might make it MORE difficult, unless there is a base amount, say $20,000 of income that is exempted from any taxes.

SECOND: The government can never leave well enough alone and as soon st a 9% flat income tax is passed, they will lard the system up with tax breaks and exemptions....again....to soothe their lobbying constituents. Leaving the middle class and lower income tax payers paying a proportionally larger amount because they don't have the planning opportunities of ...say...oh.....Steve Jobs.

I like the idea of a simple flat tax, but there are more moving parts in our economic system than that.

The idea is appealing, but simplistic and...given the hurdles that are ahead of such drastic altering of our effed up tax system....probably will never happen.

Pie in the sky.

Canuck said...

I thought it would be Perry, but his running for office skills are off. Unless he can get better fairly soon he's out.

It'll probably be Romney, but this is not an ordinary year.

Seven Machos said...

Ed -- You are embarrassingly naive if you believe that an executive in government is the same as an executive in business.

It's true that both make important decisions. But do executives in business have to work with legislatures? Do executives in business have to win elections? Do they have to make a bunch of speeches? Do they have to make arguments that appeal to millions of people. No. They do not.

You really have lost all perspective, and it's sad to see, especially given what will be the ephemeral blip of Cain's popularity.

Scott M said...

Guess what,.he doesn't exist.

Of course I do.

(see: buffaloed)

laddy said...

Althouse, you voted for an empty suit last time around 'cause he was Black and uplifting and all, and now you criticize others for liking another Black man. I wonder sometimes how dim you can be with some of the things you come up with. I don't like Cain at all myself as he has no experience for the job and I think he's a bit wacky and clueless at times. And he isn't forthcoming. But neither was your guy, Obama, last time around. WTF didn't you wake up before it was too late. You really have no credibility on the issue.

Christopher in MA said...

"This infatuation with Herman Cain is embarrasing. Wake up!"

So says the woman who voted for the SCOAMF despite his "no there there."

Now, TWM and Seven already pointed this out to you and your respnse was basically, "We're not talking about Obama." Ah, but we are. You are demanding a level of specificity - and a desire to know more about Cain's advisors - than you or the worthless, fellating media ever did from Little Black Jesus. It is disingenuous of you to demand from the GOP something you were unwilling to do during the left-wing orgasm passing for a campaign that propelled this affirmative-action clown into the Oval Office.

And my having said that does not imply that I disagree with your analysis. I think Cain needs more heavy hitters on his team (frankly, I'd love to see him grab John Bolton for some foreign policy heft) and needs to go beyond "9-9-9," which is a simplistic slogan ripe for parody.

But the larger point stands: the argument that "infatuation" with Cain is "embarrasing" could be made, but you're not the one to make it.

cubanbob said...

7 while in principal I don't disagree with your premise regarding professional politicians lets not overlook the fact that the situation we are in is the culmination of the work done by professional politicians and Ivy League graduates. A bit of humility by both is in order.

Can Cain muck things up even worse? In theory I suppose its possible but the probability is doubtful. I much prefer to have a president whose first instinct when dealing with the economic problems is what is the economic impact of a given course of action as opposed to the political impact of a given course of action.

JohnJ said...

Surprised to see you so worked up about this.

Cain peaked last week. It's downhill from here, with maybe a Fox News gig in the offing if he can stay affable as the wheels detach from his campaign bandwagon.

Perry's the one to worry about. He's got money and an attitude (...but little else). He could cause some real damage before he eventually sulks his way back to the ranch.

ignatzk said...

When a candidate looks at the debates does he see them as the best vehicle for detailed or even moderately detailed policy discussion?

Does a wonky sounding bite appeal to you more? What can be covered in 30-60 seconds?

I'm not ready to buy into Herman Cain either, but do tell Ann: what do you think accounts for his success is so many different ventures?

Seven Machos said...

Hoosier -- I'm pretty slutty and easy to please. But Cain is not qualified to be a nominee in terms of his experience or his ability to run for office.

Also, to you people who keep bringing up all his fine work at Burger King: why don't you bring up his failures as candidate? Why is that? This isn't Cain's first rodeo.

Cain couldn't win a campaign as a Republican primary for Senate. Yet you people want him to run nationally against the world's most proficient careerist.

Wake up!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Are you considering voting for the Pap John's guy, too? After all, he's a major-major player. Better pizza, too. Because better ingredients.

AND...he has a really cool car, too

Paddy O said...

There are also possible other explanations for Cain's reticence. He might have people who advise and guide him who don't want to, yet, be publicly attached to his campaign just yet.

Given the witch hunts that are led against those proposing more conservative approaches, unless a person has very secure political protection, there is a real risk of endangering a whole career by being mentioned too early.

Not saying this is what Cain is doing, but there are much more favorable interpretations of his non-specificity.

Scott M said...

Yet you people want him to run nationally against the world's most proficient careerist.

Second-most. Putin is first in that category.

Seven Machos said...

You people who are equating being a CEO in the business world with being a politician in the executive branch have obviously never worked in politics. If you knew what you don't even begin to understand, you would be embarrassed for yourselves.

garage mahal said...

(frankly, I'd love to see him grab John Bolton for some foreign policy heft)

LOLZ. Don't forget Pam Geller.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

I don't disagree with a lot in this post; Mr. Cain's responses could certainly have been better here. But, at the same time, Althouse is really nitpicking at specific wording in a way that is completely over-the-top for off-the-cuff, spoken statements. For example:

* Where he said "Because that's when I served on the board . . ." he was clearly just collecting his thoughts and setting context, as all of us do when answering questions like this, not arguing that Alan Greenspan actually was the best because he served with him. I agree that he should have given more context for why he thought Greenspan did a good job, though, and that Rep Paul's criticizm was valid.

* On "it will pass because the people want it to pass"- he was specifically arguing with Huntsman over whether the plan could be passed. What the people want is certainly relevant to that question. (Whether or not the people want it remains to be seen, but there's certainly been a significant support for it.)

I agree that Cain needs to provide the context for how it's been studied, but that seems like it's something better suited for a candidate's website than to try to hash out during a debate.

* "That's why we developed the plan" obviously went back to his statement before, that the current tax code, or just tweeking it, would not fix the economy. I'm not even sure why you would read it any other way.

* He should have been able to name another expert; I agree and I cringed at that. But sometimes brains just drop names; I know it's happened to me enough times. The fact that he repeated Rich Lawary's name one time is a far cry from "scary". And he said that he is an economist and experienced in business- why was that not enough credentialism? (If he was incorrect and Mr. L is not an economist, as is implied by the Politico context, that is a different story, but I'm not ready to buy that quite yet.)

* I don't know why he said "Cleveland, Texas", but have you really never done that sort of thing, said one word when you mean another when speaking off the cuff and gathering your thoughts? I certainly have, President Obama certainly has, most everyone else I've ever spoken to has at some point or another. People mis-speak when they speak live and off the cuff- you expect listeners to apply some common sense when the listen and understand that.

I agree that some people could exercise more skepticism about Mr. Cain's plans. Additional research needs to be done (and not the Bloomberg-type of research where they change the plan and then assert that it won't work based on the rules that they added) and is being done now that he's in the spotlight. But to call people's support "infatuation" and "embarassing" is completely over the top.

- Lyssa

Carol_Herman said...

Maybe, for me, it was Karl Rove?

Suddenly, he stopped being a player this season. (He seems to be waiting for 2016.)

IF you pick someone who does about "equal" to McCain, where's your pride in that?

If Obama is only a one-termer ... he's insulted ... the way Jimmy Carter got insulted.

Herman Cain doesn't change this at all. Not by one iota.

And, since Marco Rubio has said he is NOT a candidate in 2012. Even for the veep slot ... You've got to see what your options really are.

And, why they are there.

Is the Tea Party loved? BY WHOM, EXACTLY?

The elites in DC already told the Tea Party to go and drop dead. (Yup. The day after the 2010 election ... when Pelosi dropped out of her Big Fat Speaker's Office.)

But Pelosi didn't leave! Where would she go? So, unlike Newt, who was "forced to be a professor" after his disastrous Speakership Rule ... manages to show up as a presidential contendah.

And,you haven't bought a clue?

2012's race has NO ONE from the elite corp ... working for anyone. Even the old Ed Rollins left Michele Bachmann in a huff.

Behind the scenes?

Bachmann can't get to the money she needs to run.

Perry, looking weaker in the "debate" arena, probably will run into money troubles, ahead, too.

While Mitt Romney is gonna throw in all he has in an attempt to "win."

The gigolo McCain promised the same thing. (But stuck his hands into the "matching money pot.")

And, so did John Kerry! The other gigolo!

After 2004, Theresa Kerry handed the democraps a bill for $3-million. Asking back her "pocket change."

It sure is expensive ... these stupid circuses.

Satisfies no one.

And, seems that Obama would have been in worse shape ... if he just had to stand alone ... DITHERING.

While, yes. DITHERING is a plan!

When he wants to see a human sweat, he calls up Merkel. And, he asks her about Sarkozy.

Let's hope he DITHERS at the G20! And, doesn't get the europeans selling us a bill of goods.

If the race were actually closer? Donald Trump would come out of nowhere and run as an independent.

His bumper sticker would read: "I'll FIRE EVERYONE." You'll see a new team! It will cost you less. Except for the tickets to jail ... which will go to the scumbags who've robbed us all blind.

You don't think this could happen?

What's the matter? All you need to "see" the future ... is take a few guesses.

Carol_Herman said...

The interesting thing about NINE ... Is that it sounds like "NO" if you said "NO" in German.

Carol_Herman said...

"If" the ticket ends up "Romney-Cain," it will be the most lackluster convention, ever, for the GOP!

And, yes. Someone here already called it, with the bumper sticker:

Funny Underwear Man and the Pizza Guy.

I just wish I remembered who said it first, so I could give credit.

Seven Machos said...

Herman Cain and John Bolton! Now that's a campaign that's going to draw dozens of voters.

I am just shaking my head at the silliness I am seeing today from the right.

By the way, I have met John Bolton in a professional setting. I can tell you that he is an asshole.

Christopher in MA said...

"LOLZ. Don't forget Pam Geller."

I daresay even a loon like Geller has forgotten more about foreign policy than Hillary! learned during her baptism under fire in Bosnia, garbage. And the clippings from Bolton's mustache know more than B. Hussein "we need to apologize for Hiroshima!" Obama.

But keep on snarking. I love watching you do everything you can to avoid tying yourself to precious President Millstone.

Kirby Olson said...

It's true that Ron Paul is the intellectual voice behind the Republicans. He discovers their intellectual ideas, and the others slowly pick up on these, and distribute them. He drove the whole argument against the Fed. It's his bag. Cain isn't an idea-man. He's a competent manager, and he tries to communicate clearly.

I think I had doubts too when Paul slammed Cain, but I tried to put it in perspective: Paul is a brilliant far-sighted intellectual figure for the Republican party -- he's actually read Hayek and Von Mises and uses their incredibly powerful thought to help him focus. Cain is a different kind of thinker. He is aboiut practical management and "focusing on the right problem." He gets things done, but he may not have the gigantic perspective of Ron Paul. No one else in the leadership of the Republican party has Paul's command of ideas. But having that command doesn't make Paul a leader. No one takes him seriously. Most people look at this frail squeaky individual and find nothing but annoyance. Cain has the common touch.

That Cain is black isn't his fault. He at least has a sense of humor about it. He calls himself "the dark horse in the race."

Huntsman's line didn't do any damage because the cut to Cain showed humor on his face. He can take a joke.

Compare Obama.

Another comparison to Obama would show that Cain is blacker than Obama. Cain has two black parents. Obama has only one, and it isn't even a real American black. It's just a Kenyan.

We're all in a sense African since humanity developed in Africa. But to call yourself African-American means to say that you are the ancestor of slaves. But Cain doesn't whine about it. Ron Paul is always whining. Cain has a can-do attitude. I like his get up and get busy attitude. He calls himself Main St. against Romney's Wall St. He has simple effective modes of communication. He's down to earth. We don't need another academic. We need someone who has feet on the ground, and can get things done, as Cain has done over and over. He is not an intellectual giant. That may be a plus.

Cain is Able.

Christopher in MA said...

I meant John Bolton as an ADVISOR, jackass, not as a VP. So shove it, as you have been requested before.

"By the way, I have met John Bolton in a professional setting. I can tell you that he is an asshole."

Maybe you should look in the mirror before you post again, Seven.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... You people who are equating being a CEO in the business world with being a politician in the executive branch have obviously never word in politics. If you knew what you don't even begin to understand, you would be embarrassed for yourselves..."

Actually I'm just working off the standard that was established in 2008. At this point the frontrunners are a former Governor and a former CEO which is far and away better qualifications than what we have now.

If I'm embarrased its the fact that 53% of my countrymen elected a former community organizer and junior senator. We have a ways to go to raise that bar Seven.

TWM said...

"But the larger point stands: the argument that "infatuation" with Cain is "embarrasing" could be made, but you're not the one to make it."

Granted I haven't really started getting interested in the race yet (I want to weed a few out first), but is there really an infatuation with him among conservatives? I see increasing interest. Maybe the hope of promise. But infatuation, especially when compared to the orgasm the left had over Obama ("had" I say because now it's more of a "jeeze I can't really believe I did that with him and I wonder if I can sneak out of the apartment without him waking and anyone else seeing me), is quite an exageration.

I do like Cain. He shows promise. I want to hear more from him. And if he impresses I certainly would not hesitate to vote for him either on the top or bottom of the ticket.

Seven Machos said...

I looked in the mirror. John Bolton is still an asshole.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Back in the day garage was slamming Obama like a good old boy but that was during primary times when his horse was firmly hitched to Hillary!

Then when the junior senator sent cankles packing to Foggy Bottom, like a good tovarich he stood stalwart alongside The Won. Party before principle and all that.

I'll give garage some credit, he stuck it out for Hillary! a lot longer than some her supposed close Dem allies.

cubanbob said...

garage mahal said...
(frankly, I'd love to see him grab John Bolton for some foreign policy heft)

LOLZ. Don't forget Pam Geller.

10/12/11 10:44 AM

Geller is infinitely better than than that anti-American and anti-Semtic Irish broad Obozo has as his national security advisor. 7 can you honestly say Bolton is worse than Hilary Clinton?

Pastafarian said...

Seven: "You people who are equating being a CEO in the business world with being a politician in the executive branch have obviously never worked in politics. If you knew what you don't even begin to understand, you would be embarrassed for yourselves."

Seven, have you been a CEO? Or might there be things you don't even begin to understand?

Seven Machos said...

7 can you honestly say Bolton is worse than Hilary Clinton?

I have never met her so I can't say if she is an asshole or not.

What I can say with absolute certainty is that Clinton would get more votes on any presidential ticket than Bolton.

None of that matters. What matters is that it's getting close to the time when conservatives need to stop living in Pretend Dreamy Land and start thinking like Charlie Sheen. It's about winning.

Who can win? All I can do is use process of elimination at this point. And Cain is definitely someone to cross off.

gutless said...

Mr. Cain should not be considered a serious candidate but that old specter race makes it impossible to say it especially on the heels of the clearly failed Obama presidency.

Seven Machos said...

Pasta -- Have you been in the executive branch?

Pastafarian said...

I suspect, Seven, that we'd be embarrassed by the skill set required to be a good politician: Lying through one's teeth; the under-the-bus throw; dodging responsibility; and so on.

The abandonment of credentialism and professional politicians is a direct result of the failure of credentialed professional politicians, like Obama.

Seven Machos said...

Pasta -- I don't think any of those things are necessary for a good politician. What's necessary is working with a legislature to get things done. Working with the legislature is the key.

Politics isn't about making money. It's the art of the possible. It's a finesse job. And that finesse is a special skill. You don't learn in in the business world. You learn it in government or in the upper echelons of the military, which is the government.

History bears all this out. Recent history and all of history.

Pastafarian said...

No, Seven, I've never been in government.

And I think I'd make a better president than what we have now. (So would my cat.)

I think I'd probably do a better job than Romney, for whom I'll end up voting in the general, as he's the lesser of two evils. (And Cthulhu, the greatest of all evils, isn't running this time.)

I'd do a better job because I'm not a half-Democrat like Romney, and I won't keep half of the disaster that is Obamacare intact, as Romney will.

Do I know how the Senate works? Do I know all the little procedural details of government? No, that's what staff is for. Cain has run a business that size, he knows how to delegate. We should hire for this position based on the principles driving this person's stances on issues, those specific stances, and their judgment. Not credentials and not (spit) experience in government.

Scott M said...

Beg to differ, Seven. Each company is different, but as you enter the upper echelons of a given company's leadership there is significant "finesse", especially if there are personality conflicts among peers.

Office politics, while used as a catchall phrase, is all too real and it doesn't stop just because you get a key to the executive pooper.

Jay said...

It's the art of the possible. It's a finesse job. And that finesse is a special skill. You don't learn in in the business world.

What a blathering bunch of idiocy.

Stop while you're behind dude.

T J Sawyer said...

When it comes to foreign policy, how does one get any worse than deciding to tell middle-east heads of state, "it's time to go" leaving nothing in their place? Or trying to apologize to the citizens of Hiroshima for HST's decision to drop the Atomic Bomb only to be told it is a non-starter.

And anyone that wants to can work the numbers on 9-9-9 and see if it will work. This is pretty simple math on publicly available data. Why doesn't anyone on this blog or in the reporting world just do that and show us that it does or doesn't work? (Perhaps they were all told there would be no math involved in making a presidential choice?)

Scott M said...

And that finesse is a special skill. You don't learn in in the business world.

Hell...there's "office politics" in the military, albeit of a markedly different flavor.

Jay said...

What's necessary is working with a legislature to get things done

"Getting things done" like Obamacare?

How's that working out?

Or did you mean "getting thigs done" like Cash for Clunkers?
How'd that go?

You do understand that passing legislation is not always a great idea, right mr. government know it all?

caseym54 said...

Thank you, Ann. We are in deep trouble, and we need experience, brains and vision to get out of it.

Cain has none of these. Santorum and Bachmann pretty much don't either. Huntsman is just an ass and couldn't lead cub scouts.

Paul has all of them, plus crazy.

Perry is a maybe in a situation where maybe won't work.

Only Romney and Gingrich seem viable presidents. What's wrong with Gingrich again? I keep forgetting.

Jay said...

And that finesse is a special skill. You don't learn in in the business world.


You've obviously never had to make a sale, gun for a promotion, or heck, go on a 2nd or 3rd job interview in a business setting.

You're an idiot.

Pastafarian said...

Seven, I don't understand why you think finesse, cultivation of interpersonal relationships, getting things done, (hell, politics) is an art exclusive to government.

You don't rise up to the board level of a big company while being completely ignorant of these things. In fact, I'd say that rising to that level in the corporate world is an even bigger indication of competence in those areas, since good hair and a winning smile don't really enter into advancement in the private sphere.

Jay said...

History bears all this out. Recent history and all of history.


Actually, it doesn't.

But you're a clown, beclowing himself.

ElPresidenteCastro said...

So Cain was on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City worked with Alan Greenspan and liked what he saw and that is somehow disqualifying? Oh and then his 9-9-9 plan looks a little too cute to be well thought out? If you turn it sideways it is sigma-sigma-sigma that probably means something too.

Prof. Althouse, I like you a lot and have been reading your blog since about its inception. You have all sorts of interesting things to say about politics, culture and the law but your record on Presidential politics is horrible and your thought processes are nearly unfathomable. I'm looking forward to some grand unifying theory putting all of this together but I think I'll be waiting a long time till this string gets tied.

Lucius said...

I'm a little surprised to see any defense of Cain's reticence about advisors here.

Romney, after all, has publicized his roster of foreign policy advisers.

Cain can't name more than one (*two?*) economic advisors because--?? . . . .

Cain is not qualified to be Romney's running-mate, and he won't be.

Sorry to burst the bubble.

Paddy O said...

"History bears all this out."

Seven, do you think Lincoln was a good or sufficient President? Because by your markers he was entirely unsuitable as much as Cain (even losing his Senate campaign). This isn't a snarky question, I'm curious what you think about this first Republican president in light of your comments about Cain.

MikeDC said...

I think not a single one of you who are talking about monetary policy and the Fed have a clue about monetary policy and the Fed.

It's shocking that Herman Cain doesn't since he was actually deputy chairman of a Fed bank.

Greenspan is not a terrible answer per se. It's terrible because Cain's rationale for it was absurd.

It's ironic that Volcker got praise from Paul for helping end inflation, which he did, but that even after this (in the 83-87 period) inflation was higher under him than over Greenspan's tenure.

Inflation is well under Greenspan's tenure with Bernanke, and I trust we're all in agreement he has not been a success.

So why not? If "maintaining the value of the dollar" is where it's at for the Fed, how come Bernanke is so roundly criticized.

My saved dollars can buy anything they could buy back in 2008. That's not the problem.

It's a little closer to the mark to say interest rates are "too low", but interest rates are the price of lending money. Fundamentally, they're low because people like me with saved dollars don't see a lot of good options out there for lending. And because people seem to have few good money-making ideas. Because if they did, now, when rates are low, would be a really good time to go out and borrow some money and use it to make more money.

Rather, if the Fed came along and arbitrarily raise interest rates, it'd make it that much more expensive and difficult for people with investment ideas to borrow money. Right?

bagoh20 said...

"Come on, people. This infatuation with Herman Cain is embarrassing. Wake up!"

Right. That's logical from you, an Obama voter and academic. You guys are really smart, I know.

Paddy O said...

"Cain is not qualified to be Romney's running-mate"

Well, he's over 35 and was born in the United States and has lived here for a long while of late, so...

Jay said...

But do executives in business have to work with legislatures? Do executives in business have to win elections? Do they have to make a bunch of speeches? Do they have to make arguments that appeal to millions of people.

Um, the recently deceased Steve Jobs made successful sales pitches to tens of millions of consumers. Successfully getting them to part with hundreds of dollars at a clip for products.

He also had to "win" the support of a board of directors, made a lot of speaches.

For example.

garage mahal said...

"Getting things done" like Obamacare

You mean ObamneyCare?

Seven Machos said...

Paddy -- I think Lincoln's lack of political finesse exacerbated an already bad political situation and as a result led to a civil war that a better politician could have avoided.

That said, Lincoln was a brilliant speaker and he did what was necessary to win the war and keep the country together. For that last elreason alone he was a great president.

TMink said...

Althouse, given that you voted in this current mess, I am not persuaded by your political instincts. I mean, you were SO wrong last time, I think I will trust my own thoughts on this.

Trey

J said...

Herman Cain--the negro AynRand. Existence exists, mutha-f-ers

Seven Machos said...

Jay -- CEO is not president. President is not CEO. Steve Jobs wisely never ran for president.

Speaking of beclowning, it's speech.

Lucius said...

@Paddy O: I admit I was a bit surprised to see you joining in the roster of Cain's defenders.

A lot of discourse here on what it takes to be President has started to sound like a middle-aged circlejerk at the local Chamber of Commerce.

"Er--augh--ah!! shit, everybody in this room put--augh!-- three kids through state university and-- oh god!-- yeah, any of *us* could be presi-- ei! ei!--bought an SUV, own money-- oh fuck!-- smarter than Prescot Bush!! fuckin' RI--oh Saint Agnes!!! . . ."

Paddy O, haven't you read German philosophy or something? Aren't you a just a little *ashamed* to start talking like this?

You need to represent! It's just you and me to uphold the honor of all the not-to-be-named children of Bad Parents who went and got degrees in Non-Engineering!

Scott M said...

Steve Jobs wisely never ran for president.

You attribute too much to what was surely a decision based on the ridiculous pay cut he would have had to suffer.

MikeDC said...

Also, I'm very much in favor of a simple tax code, but until I see a plan, I do think that pulling numbers out of a hat is nonsense.

More seriously, I'm going to have an extremely hard time voting for a stage iv cancer survivor for President. There's something on the order of a 90% chance he'll pass away within the next five years.

That sucks, but it would be extremely poor judgement, in my mind, to elect a man we knew was going to either die or have a high likelihood of being incapacitated for long stretches to be President of the United States.

From a political perspective, it's just absurd too. Suppose September 2012 rolls around and it's disclosed the cancer has returned. He'd surely lose lots of votes, which is why he won't get my vote in the first place. It's just damn irresponsible.

Seven Machos said...

Jay -- I'm a conservative. Get some perspective dude. Also maybe decaf would help. And a laxative.

J said...

Presidents aren't CEO's. How profound! Nachos bucking the tea-bug program.

Cain's CEO experience is..mostly bogus. For the last few years he's been an AM radio jock in Swampville,Georgia or some sh*t

Seven Machos said...

J. -- Stick to rants about Jewish bankers. Better yet just go away. Your murder trial is coming up anyway and you need to prepare. But I'm sure you are glad to hear that the Representative you shot is getting better.

AST said...

TWM said it all. 9-9-9 is starting to remind me of "Pass this bill." And whenever anyone asks why it doesn't seem to add us, he just say's they're not doing it right or just "I'll make it work." He seems to think that the President is a king.

Pastafarian said...

MikeDC: "My saved dollars can buy anything they could buy back in 2008."

I'm pretty sure you'll get about half as much gold for those dollars now as you would have in 2008, Mike.

And quite a bit less food. Have you been to a grocery lately?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It's a finesse job. And that finesse is a special skill. You don't learn in in the business world. You learn it in government or in the upper echelons of the military, which is the government.

Really?

You can't be a CEO of a large corporation, deal with a board of directors (equivalent to the legislature), division heads (cabinet positions), shareholders (voters), negotiate deals with other corporations (foreign countries), deal with the government agencies (regulatory agencies) that you must appease AND make a profit for your corporation....without the skill of finesse.

Something tells me you have never been in business for yourself or been in a CEO position.

Seven Machos said...

DBQ --- And something tells me you have never worked in the executive or legislative branches of the federal government.

Nobody is reading carefully today. Maybe Cain is a great politician. Maybe he is great at running a campain. A prudent person who isn't stupid would say that Cain should prove those things before running for president. He hasn't. He hasn't been in office. Ever. He's never even won a primary.

Paddy O said...

"You need to represent! It's just you and me to uphold the honor of all the not-to-be-named children of Bad Parents who went and got degrees in Non-Engineering!"

ha! Well, there's that, but this is the sort of German that I'm studying these days:

Zur Grundfrage: »Was darf ich hoffen?« hätte Immanuel Kant die Kehrseite dieser Frage: »Was muss ich fürchten?« hinzunehmen sollen. Aber Kant war ein aufklärerischer Optimist, theologisch, wie er selbst sagte, ein Chiliast. Jede Antwort auf die Frage nach unserer Furcht wirkt sich auf das Handeln aus. Unser Möglich-keitssinn wird von der Angst wenigstens ebenso sehr erregt wie von der Hoffnung. In der Angst geht es um unser Leben, in der Hoffnung um ein erfülltes Leben.

Eine Ethik der Furcht sieht die Krisen, eine Ethik der Hoffnung erkennt die Chancen in den Krisen. Wie im Überschwang der Hoffnung der Utopismus die Versuchung ist, so ist der Alarmismus die Versuchung der Angst.


Plus, I wouldn't say I'm on the Cain bandwagon as much as thinking he has something to offer in the primary as much as the rest of them. Plus, since I'm in the humanities, Math is hard! So I like whoever shows me pretty numbers and helpful shibboleths, then I construct a far too complex justification in order to hide suspicion of my own arationality.

Paddy O said...

Thanks, Seven, that was helpful and I mostly agree, though like our present state of things, Lincoln was competing against other flawed candidates, none of whom had the political skills to defuse the situation in an equitable way. A big part of Lincoln's early problems as well, was lacking respect from his own cabinet, leading to all kinds of otherwise unnecessary problems. Yet, with all of that, his inexperience was probably better for the nation than what his competitors experiences would have brought. That goes for 1864 as well, McClellan was a general, a brilliant organizer and manager, but would have left us with 2 nations instead of one.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And something tells me you have never worked in the executive or legislative branches of the federal government.

Of course not. I've only been involved in local (municipal or county politics)

However, your blanket statement "And that finesse is a special skill. You don't learn in in the business world.", is just plain stupid and deserved a rebuttal. You are better than this at debating.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

He hasn't been in office. Ever. He's never even won a primary

Since it is the "professional politicians" who have been in office are the ones who have brought us to this dance, I'm ready to take a chance on a different partner (so to speak).

The things that the professional lifetime politicians have done ARE the problem. Just knowing how to be the biggest bestest shark in a political ocean full of other sharks, isn't that big of a recommendation that YOU think it is.

What was that definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

AAAACK!!!

That last post was so grammatically putrid. I'm going to stop and do bookwork now.

Seven Machos said...

DBQ -- Cain needs to prove himself at a lower government level before even attempting to run for president. On that we can surely agree.

Amartel said...

Didn't really keep track of this specifically at the time but didn't our hostess vote for Obama because McCain was so hopelessly UNconservative in his view of the role and scope of government? So why not go all the way and get a real big government president? That's my memory of the situation but maybe there was some clean-articulate-pants-crease dreaminess overlay. These things happen. When you go all the way. Haha. kidding. not.

Cain is highly relateable and a happy conservative warrior. Great candidate, good debater. He needs to be more transparent about who helped him develop the 9-9-9 plan and who he would appoint if elected. He has little experience in government so the quality of his appointees will be crucial. Which is what bugged me about the Greenspan answer.

hombre said...

7Machos wrote: If we've learned one thing these last few years, it ought to be that we should elect politicians who are good at doing jobs in politics. And there's only one way to achieve that. It's not by working at Godfather's, or Pillsbury, or as a lackey at the Fed, or even at Burger King.

A moby sef-identifies as a "conservative" and argues for the perpetuation of the ruling class known as "professional politicians" and against citizen-politicians.

"Lackey?" The moby adopts Alinsly's Rule #5, "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon" by belittling Cain's corporate achievements.

Why is anybody responding to this nonsense?

Seven Machos said...

Also DBQ on insanity I also agree. and clearly Cain is crazy because he keeps running for office and losing but running again and expecting a different result.

Michael said...

SevenMachos: Your thesis appears to be that only a politician can be in politics at a high level. Or someone steeped in the bureaucratic ass kissing and back stabbing required to rise in government. I think that working in a major corporation would be an excellent proxy because no one rises in those organizations without those skills. A key difference is that while they must kiss ass and maneuver in the political realm they must also keep costs under control and increase revenues at the same time as herding hundreds or thousands of subordinates who would like to have the bosses job. Unlike those employed in government the corporate worker's performance is linked, however tenuously, to his own production and that of his people. I think Cain's lack of office holding and campaigning is a feature,not a bug, and that he would make a very good President.

yoobee said...

My first reaction after reading this post was, "I wish everyone was this critical in 2008 when Obama was making many similarly-unsubstantiated claims." I don't say this because Cain, like Obama, is black. I say it because Cain, like Obama in 2008, is mostly full of "abstract and radical" ideas, to quote Professor Althouse.

To be honest, nothing Herman Cain has said up to this point has made me likely to vote for him. But very few politicians in debates will ever say anything definite. Then again, the questions that are asked at debates tend to be just as vacuous.

sonicfrog said...

Seven wrote:

Paddy -- I think Lincoln's lack of political finesse exacerbated an already bad political situation and as a result led to a civil war that a better politician could have avoided.

You're kidding, right? Because the pressures for civil war hadn't been building for two decades and more. The southern states seceded before Lincoln had even been sworn in. What magical "finesse" could Lincoln have done to magically alleviate the situation? Lincoln was barely a month in office before the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Consider that the former presidents, from Zach Taylor through James Buchanan tried desperately to ameliorate the south, and those attempts ended up backfiring in the end. If Jesus himself was elected President in 1860, and sworn in on March 4 1861 instead of Lincoln, he couldn't have done a damned thing to prevent that war.

That Lincoln comment was just silly.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Excellent analysis of a truly embarrassing candidate.

The only thing more embarrassing than Cain is that Althouse had to spend so many hundreds of words trying to convince her readers that Cain is embarrassing (and some still aren't listening)!

Seven Machos said...

A moby sef-identifies as a "conservative" and argues for the perpetuation of the ruling class known as "professional politicians" and against citizen-politicians.

Wow, Hombre. That right there is some funny shit. Is this your first time here? You can rest assured that I am a libertarian conservative. The fact that you call someone making rational arguments a moby because you disagre with that person does say a ton about your sad, sorry reasoning "ability," though.

The moby adopts Alinsly's Rule #5

Since you know Alinsky's Rules so well, consider Rule 37: Don't go to a website where someone posts all the time, and has for years, and call that person a moby when you have no earthly fucking idea what the fuck you are talking about because you will look like a drooling moron.

Lucius said...

@Paddy O: it's kind of you to take that kindly! Unlike my mentor, known to recite Kant in German when he 'fell asleep' at department meetings, I can offer no pretensions to follow the Husserl-to-Habermas train, even in translation.

Well, to bite the bullet on Lincoln: yes, he's a singular exception to the rule. I might hope to have voted for him, but (like Emerson, who noted L.'s lack of resume in his eulogy) there would have been forthright reservations.

I'm not against Cain shaking his causes into the mix-- but it's rabidly delusional for people to try and bolster his real, but modest, successes in life to Presidential (yes, or Vice-Presidential) timber.

Maybe he can be Romney's Sec. of Commerce and we'll see.

Too much of the kneejerk anti-RINO rhetoric has degenerated to the point where you'd think Nixon, Ford, Baker, et al. were the source of every problem in the world. Are statesman not allowed to even *exist* unless we pick them up on the way to sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk?

A. Shmendrik said...

Watch out with the use of the "not a trained economist" accusation and remember the great accomplishments of undeniably "trained economists" such as Christina Romer. More of that, we don't need.

Henry said...

I think Lincoln's lack of political finesse exacerbated an already bad political situation and as a result led to a civil war that a better politician could have avoided.

The south probably wouldn't have succeeded if Douglas was elected, but was because of Douglas's party, not his finesse.

Who was Mr. Finesse for the Republican party? William H. Seward? Somehow I don't think Seward would have mollified the south, even if had managed to start a war with England.

Seven Machos said...

Sonic -- Your argument presumes that there was no election, or arguments made prior to the election by the candidates.

I called the political situation in 1861 bad. I don't think it was untenable, and I don't think the Civil War was necessary. Most countries in the world abolished slavery without civil war.

But tell us: if the Civil War was unavoidable, why didn't Lincoln run on a platform of civil war? Lincoln for Civil War -- that could have been the motto. And why didn't the previous president have a civil war?

Of course, these questions sort of answer themselves.

sonicfrog said...

Oh, and remember that those former Presidents, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan all had as much, if not more "political experience than Lincoln, which, in the end, did them no good. They all "finessed" their way out of hard decisions and actions, which, in the end, was thrown into Lincolns lap to deal with.

And about Lincolns cabinet... He was brave enough not to simply appoint a bunch of paid-for "Yes Men". That alone shows a strength in character that is lacking in most of the candidates on stage and the one currently in office.

Mark said...

So why no "Cain is like Obama" tag?

Seven Machos said...

thrown into Lincolns lap to deal with

Indeed. There was Lincoln, just sitting in his house in Springfield, and the next thing you know, from out of nowhere, he's suddenly been made president and he's got to deal with all these problems.

Damn the passive voice for troubling poor Abe Lincoln so much!

Paddy O said...

"I can offer no pretensions to follow the Husserl-to-Habermas train, even in translation."

Nor can I... and I was worried that after I posted that German you would reply with more German, then I would have to spend the rest of the day translating a few paragraphs in order to keep up the illusions of German literacy. :-)

Here's my translation of what I posted, form another Jurgen, Jurgen Moltmann:

We perceive the future not only in our hopes in future better times, but also, if not predominantly, in our fears and anxieties. The possible, all that which can happen, causes us worry. Fear and anxiety are vital early warning signs for possible dangers.

So long as possible dangers are identified and named, concrete fears arise, that compel that which is necessary to do in time and avert the dangers. But increase recognizable threats to obscure dangers, diffuse fears arise concerning the void or of the total loss of the world and their own existence. These fears usually lead to desperate resignation and paralyzed inaction or overreaction, which only increase the dangers.

For the basic question: “What should I hope?” Immanuel Kannt had the flipside they should accept, this question: “What must I fear?” But Kant was an enlightenment optimist, theologically, as he himself said, a Chiliast. Each answer to the question concerning our fear has an effect on our actions. Our sense of possibility is at least as much very aroused anxiety just as from hope. With fear, it is about our life, with hope it is about a fuller life.

Anxiety arouses all our senses to the perception of the threats coming closer and makes our reason ready, in the facts of the present, to recognize “the signs of the end”.

Without these skills we would be like the people in Pompeii, who did not notice or did not want to admit the eruption of Vesuvius. We would be according to the Biblical warning, as sure as the people before the flood, who saw nothing coming. We would have died long ago. An ethic of fear sees the crises, an ethic of hope recognizes the chances in the crises.

As in the exuberance of hope the temptation is utopia, so alarmism is the temptation of anxiety.

sonicfrog said...

I called the political situation in 1861 bad. I don't think it was untenable, and I don't think the Civil War was necessary. Most countries in the world abolished slavery without civil war.


Yes, but that was not because of the skill of politicians. It was either because slavery / agriculture was not very profitable vs other forms of economic systems, England being a prime example, or slavery ended due to slave riots.

The US South was unique in that it remained a profitable agricultural based region after many had moved on. As is always the case, those who have the money control politics. There was no money in abolishing slavery, losing the wealth of both agricultural output and the value of the chattel themselves.

Also consider this - what other country was dealing with the great expansion of their territories and at the same time arguing about whether or not slavery should be spread into the new contiguous territories. That certainly doesn't apply to either Britain or France, The North and South were at severe loggerheads over this issue for two decades. Given the dynamics in play during that period, I don't think there is any way this could have been resolved except for civil war.

Shanna said...

Perry's the one to worry about. He's got money and an attitude (...but little else).

Except 3 terms experience running one of the biggest states in the country (and not running it into the ground). Which is a hell of a lot more than any of the other candidates have.

Methadras said...

Ann Althouse said...

"His instincts are conservative."

It's not conservative to trash the entire system of funding the federal government and replace it with something concocted more out of numerology than economics.


I don't think it's concocted out of numerology. Not sure where you vehement hate towards the plan is coming from, but it's based on the Chilean model of reform I believe. You might want to check it out.

Seven Machos said...

Sonic -- We could argue this all day, though we shouldn't.

I do agree that Lincoln became president in a bad situation, as I have said, but he was probably the most adamant power-seeker in our history. I don't say that negatively. I say it as true. Lincoln knew it, and he reflected on it often. Michael Knox Beran has a very interesting essay on the topic.

So Lincoln brought the problems on himself by seeking the presidency and he ran on a platform that guaranteed that the South would secede if he won. More than anything, it was Lincoln's rhetoric that caused the Civil War.

You say that the war was unavoidable, anyway. I disagree, but at the the same time I concede that slavery was an evil that had to be abolished and that the Civil War brought that goal about. At the same time, the Civil War brought that goal about at a horrendous human cost. A political process would have been much slower at combating the evil of slavery. So pick your poison.

sonicfrog said...

But tell us: if the Civil War was unavoidable, why didn't Lincoln run on a platform of civil war?

Now you're just being silly. Why doesn't any of the current candidates, or current Presidential office holder run on the specific promise of a stagnant economic future. Not only could they not win, but they don't want that.

As far as getting thrown in his lap... If that implies that Lincoln didn't know what he was getting into, I didn't mean to imply that. Of course he knew. What I'm saying is that there is no way anyone could have changed the dynamics in any way. Seeing that S Carolina had warned they may secede if Lincoln ws elected, then you should blame the electorate for the Civil War, and not Lincoln.

Seven Machos said...

there is no way anyone could have changed the dynamics in any way

Of course someone could have.

If you want to blame the electorate for causing the Civil War by electing Lincoln, I'm fine with that.

A. Shmendrik said...

Seven Machos:

What if the Confederacy had B-52s in the Civil War? A game changer, eh?

sonicfrog said...

More than anything, it was Lincoln's rhetoric that caused the Civil War.

Now I know you're just being silly!!!! Tell me. Did Rodney King CAUSE the LA riots, or was his arrest simply the trigger that caused release of the stored cache of frustration, which of course, expressed itself in violence.

BTW, Lincoln was, and positioned himself as a moderate. If any other Republican had won instead of Lincoln, are you willing to go on record and project that if Seward, Chase, or Bates would have won instead of Lincoln, that the civil war would have been less likely.

It was the South who seceded from the Union. It was the South that fired the first on orders from Confederate President Davis.

OK. Maybe Lincoln could have simply surrendered Ft Sumter to avert that situation... But then what? What happens the next time... Or the next time? Or do you think the South, now knowing Lincoln is a complete push-over, is just going to sit there and be content with the status quo?

sonicfrog said...

Have to go work on the car now.

Roger J. said...

come on, ann--your infatuation and continuing rationalizations with respect to Mr Obama are insulting.

Not much there there

hombre said...

7Machos wrote: Wow, Hombre. That right there is some funny shit. Is this your first time here? You can rest assured that I am a libertarian conservative.

I've been posting here for a few years myself, 7M, and your posts have always been both pompous and a few bubbles off plumb; not necessarily "libertarian conservative."

For example, when did "libertarian conservatives" adopt the rule that our President ought to come from the ranks of professional (or semi-professional) politicians and not from the private sector?

Oh, yeah, never!

And 7M wrote: Don't go to a website where someone posts all the time, and has for years, and call that person a moby when you have no earthly fucking idea what the fuck you are talking about because you will look like a drooling moron.

My mistake. I should have said, "Your posts have always been oafish, scatological, pompous and a few bubbles off plumb." In a word, "mobylike."

Are you an SEIU guy?

Patrick said...

But no one else is even putting cards on the table. Herman Cain is. That is what makes his 9-9-9 significant.

The IRS will end as we know it. That is great for everyone.
The individual payroll tax goes away.
The tax system becomes a flat system and everyone is dinged equitably.

A poor person can pay their fair share and not be presented with stories of the rich paying no taxes.

The US economy is more well geared toward consumption taxes than income taxes. Let those who consume choose what tax rate they want to pay are represented by prices.

A much much smarter taxing system for the economy.

Patrick said...

The Mystery of the Aleph by Amir Aczel is a good book on the convergence of math theory and the infinity of God.

some truly funny math stories in it.

Seven Machos said...

Hombre -- I feel sorry for you that your brain is too small to fathom the idea that someone could be a libertarian conservative and hold the belief that governing is a skill, like everything else, and it's better to elect presidents who have proven their competence at the skill of governing at lesser levels. It's not a rule. It's what I think.

As far as the rest of your insults, they make you look quite small. The fact that you think I am pompous is on you, not me.

What's curious here is that you would charge someone first with being a moby and then with union membership (an odd charge) because you disagree with what the person argues. Does your small mind require you to tag and label everything in convenient boxes before you can deal with it?

Why not just accept that someone disagrees with you and is making arguments as such? I guess that would require critical thinking. Easier just to call all manner of names (that don't even go together) and accuse with increasing strangeness. Right?

Shanna said...

You do understand that passing legislation is not always a great idea, right mr. government know it all?

You do realize you have to pass legislation to get rid of crappy legislation, right?

And I don’t think anyone is arguing that Obama had the experience Seven is talking about.

traditionalguy said...

Seven is stuck on stupid about a top political position requiring experience at many lower political level executive jobs.


That leave out Truman, TR, Ike, Lincoln, Washington, Jackson, Grant, Wilson, and others.

In the court system we used to primarily appoint 65+ year old retired lawyers as judges for a season, just because they were no longer being motivated by career advancement and we could rule out biased decisions.

The man's character counts 90% and his leadership skills count the other 10%.

Roger J. said...

I am generally in favor of a flat tax--good to know that Mr Cain also favors a flat tax.

Now the reality, it seems to me, is that the tax lawyers and CPAs will fight it tooth and nail, and I dont think it would have much chance of passage in a legislative body dominated by lawyers.

But at least Mr Cain put a specific proposal on the table--much better than say, the oceans will stop rising and the earth begin to heal.

I thought Ms Bachmann's riposte was ridiculous and Huntsman's comment was condecending. But the bottom line is both those folks are toast.

At the end of the day Romney and Cain will emerge as front runners.

just my .02

Yr. Fthfl. Svnt. said...

"Come on, people. This infatuation with Herman Cain is embarrassing. Wake up!"

This from the genius who voted for Barack Hussein Obama.

exhelodriver said...

Cain's background, experience, and character fill needs that exist at this point in time. The areas where he is lacking can be addressed by making wise choices in staff/cabinet/advisors, if he is willing to take their advice. Nothing silly about considering a candidate like that.

Seven Machos said...

Trad -- Military leaders have always been leaders of nations, ever since there were nations and long before there were democracies. A war hero will always be a suitable candidate for president. But a war hero isn't a CEO of a minor pizza chain.

Also, you are sadly, terribly, horrendously misinformed.

Truman -- judge, senator, vice president

Theodore Roosevelt -- asst. secretary in the navy, governor, vice president

Jackson -- judge, military leader, prosecutor, senator, state constitutional convention delegate

Wilson -- governor

exhelodriver said...

A Shmendrik,

"What if the Confederacy had B-52s in the Civil War? A game changer, eh?"

Not really - they didn't have any airfields capable of handling them.

Kirby Olson said...

But Cain is black!

Roger J. said...

A very interesting thread with respect to what are qualifications for POTUS--other than those specified in the constitution, there are none. Generals? sure--Ike for one; but then there was Grant (a good man but didnt rise to the occasion). Those holding elected office? many, some good and some terrible. I just dont see much in the calculus. I dont think we know until the person assumes the office and then we can judge his or her performnce. Its a craps shoot.

Shanna said...

The man's character counts 90% and his leadership skills count the other 10%.

Is that the standard you use for your surgeon? Do you think President is an easier job?

I’m with 7. Governing is a skill and it’s nice to see that someone has it before we give them the top job because it’s hard enough even with extensive experience.

Scott M said...

I’m with 7. Governing is a skill and it’s nice to see that someone has it before we give them the top job because it’s hard enough even with extensive experience.

The counterpoint was that governing and running a business have many complimentary skills. Finesse being one of them.

Seven Machos said...

Complementary skills are not the same as actual skills. Quarterbacks and point guards have many complementary skills, but you don't see a lot of guys go from playing point guard for some backwater team to being Tom Brady -- who was a high school quarterback, a college quarterback, and a backup NFL quarterback before landing his current role.

Roger J. said...

For those arguing about resumes, whose resume on the GOP side are those relevant? Mitt Romney seems to come out on top.

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shanna said...

Finesse being one of them.

But not working with a legislature. I think CEO could be a good stepping off point for a political career and there could be complimentary skills, but I'm not willing to risk it without seeing that those skills do indeed translate.

Romney's not my guy, but at least he took his business experience and went and worked as a governor. Cain hasn't done that. Let's see him try that first, and then maybe we'll talk.

Scott M said...

Romney's not my guy, but at least he took his business experience and went and worked as a governor. Cain hasn't done that.

You are 100% correct. Cain did not work as a governor, nor did he provide the blueprint for Obamacare.

Steve Koch said...

It has always seemed to me that the GOP has smarter voters than the dems but the dems tend to have smarter, more effective politicians than the GOP. By more effective, I mean in terms of accomplishing what they want to accomplish rather than what they should accomplish.

The likely (to me) explanation for the stupidity and incompetence of GOP politicians is that conservatives tend to distrust and dislike government so it is hard to attract the best and brightest of conservatives into politics.

Electoral politics is really, really different from being a corporate warrior. Politics abound in the corporation but it is radically different than electoral politics. This doesn't mean that a specific corporate warrior might not prove to be an awesome politician but we can't assume it to be true. We should pick a presidential nominee who has demonstrated executive ability in the political arena.

Seven Machos said...

Scott -- I have a big, fundamental problem with people bitching about Romney Care. It is an argument about federalism.

Briefly, consider the following:

1. State law is plenary. There is nothing wrong with a state addressing its health care problems by trying to provide insurance to everyone. (There might be problems with the law as carried out, such as shortages, though.)

2. The argument against Obamacare currently in the courts is federalist in nature. The issue is the limited powers of the federal government. The federal government cannot regulate commerce that doesn't happen.

3. If the people of Massachusetts wanted the law, and the legislature passed it, what is a governor to do but try to persuade the legislature to craft a law that will cause the least amount of problems, such as shortages and cost overruns?

I don't fault Romney for doing what he did at the state level. What's right for Massachusetts isn't at all right for Mississippi or Oregon, and that's the beauty of federalism. There is no reason to believe that Romney will try to make a federal law that overreaches as Obama has.

hombre said...

@7Machos, re your post of 1:46: Given your propensity for excessive language and offensive references (i.e., "drooling moron"), I find your nattering about my insults to be psychological projection - another "mobylike" trait.

As for the merits of your contention that, "governing is a skill, like everything else, and it's better to elect presidents who have proven their competence at the skill of governing at lesser [government] levels." (Brackets mine, by way of keeping you honest.)

Here are a few synonyms for "govern" of which you may not be aware: administer, direct, lead, manage, oversee, superintend, supervise."

Each of these equate as well, or better, with executive experience in the private sector as in government. In fact, none of them are particularly applicable to judicial or legislative government positions.

My point, however, related to your characterizing yourself as a "conservative" in the context of offering up your very unconservative opinion that prior elective or military experience qualifies one to be President, while executive experience in the private sector does not.

The opinion is not only inconsistent with bedrock conservative principles about the importance of citizen politicians. It is factually absurd.

BTW, the reference to SEIU was obviously sarcastic.

Steve Koch said...

In continuation to my previous comment:

Another reason that the GOP has such stupid, incompetent politicians may be that GOP voters have such contempt for politics/politicians that we think nearly any able, intelligent person with a conservative philosophy can do a better job at politics than actual politicians.

Many GOP voters have such contempt for politics and politicians that we don't pay enough attention to or recognize the importance of the craft and technique of politics.

Seven Machos said...

Hombre -- First of all, kudos for actually attempting an argument instead of merely branding people you disagree with as mobies and the like. That's good. That's progress. As to the substance of your argument...

characterizing yourself as a "conservative" in the context of offering up your very unconservative opinion that prior elective or military experience qualifies one to be President, while executive experience in the private sector does not

My opinion is very conservative. It is based on empirical observation about what works, which is a vital bedrock of conservatism. It should be obvious that the best presidents have been seasoned politicians who previously governed large entities -- usually states. We know that these people typically do well or at least don't screw things up completely. Not always, but typically.

bedrock conservative principles about the importance of citizen politicians. It is factually absurd.

I'm not sure where it is that you find your bedrock conservative principles but you should stop looking there. Bedrock conservative principles ensuring private liberty against the power of the State, doing what we know will work regardless of coherence, and -- most importantly -- making change happen slowly and gradually.

Your argument that we should elect some completely untested businessperson who has never governed or even won a primary is actually quite radical -- the very opposite of conservatism.

But you keep on telling yourself that you own the tenets of conservatism and that, by golly, Cain is going to win and be great. Because that works for you.

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