HERMAN CAIN VS. ANDRE CARSON
By Mike Ramey
Remember a scant few weeks ago when Indiana Congressman Andre Carson continued his ‘rant’ against the Tea Party, calling them–in short–a bunch of racists who wanted to lynch Black folks. His tirade may have been one of the sparks that started the Florida fire which led to Herman Cain’s sound trouncing of many of the so-called ‘leaders’ in the GOP presidential sweepstakes.
It is not know whether or not Carson sent a congratulatory note to Cain for the straw poll victory. It IS known that Carson refused to apologize for his remarks. However, in a year when one political party is trying to hold onto Black and Hispanic votes by trickery, it seems like the other–at least in the grass roots level has a message for ALL established politicians: “We ain’t buyin’ the rhetoric!”
Black voters are going to have to makes some real choices in the presidential vote in 2012. Our unemployment rate is double the national average, and heading for higher levels as well. Black teen unemployment is through the roof. Retailers have ALREADY announced that they are NOT going to be hiring as many workers for the Christmas shopping season (which begins, unofficially, just after the first week of November.) And, yes, we have NOT left the last recession (which continues into the textbook realm of an economic depression). The late Ronald Reagan said it best: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” Like it or not, this is what is going to be guiding a lot of voters to the polls this November–and next–as incumbency is steadily becoming a political millstone in a season of rising taxes, lower job growth, and a bushel basket full of excuses from both parties. In the words of author and talk show host Tony Brown from years ago: “The Black community can not afford to keep their votes in one political basket any longer. Our votes NEED to be mobile.”
REASON NUMBER ONE: CAIN WORKED THE VOTERS
Those who doubted that Cain was a viable candidate. Those who thought that he was ‘merely’ a good speaker, and dismissing him got a rude ‘sock and shock’ during the first official weekend of an American fall season. Cain’s percentage numbers in the Florida straw poll, according to posted Internet and published results, showed him as having 37% of the more than 2,500 votes cast. Thus, Cain made Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney D-I-S-T-A-N-T second and third place finishers, respectively. In prior poll stops, Cain finished low, but was a popular debater.
Gee…didn’t people ‘write off’ President Obama BEFORE the Iowa primaries?
But, I digress.
There are several lessons that can be immediately learned which should prove inspirational for any other future candidates in future elections. Ironically, these same reasons are how President Obama first became Senator Obama, then marched on to the White House.
The first lesson? You have to work your voters! Meaning, you have to be around to shake hands and kiss babies and drink coffee before AND after the debate process and court your base! MOST people who are registered to vote WANT to be courted and counted. They want to have a voice in the process along with their votes. Cain asked them for their vote, and spent time in the Sunshine state whereas other candidates thought that their ‘frontrunner’ status gave them a lock on the straw poll.
It’s still a LONG way to the convention, baby! For BOTH parties!
REASON NUMBER TWO: CAIN STAYED ON MESSAGE!
Cain stayed on a CONSISTENT message in the debates, in his literature, and in his meeting with the poll participants. He didn’t put forth a ‘canned pitch’ as the salesmen like to say. His conservative credentials were not ‘accidental’ nor ‘discovered’ overnight. Cain is what you got in week one and are now seeing as the campaign season progresses. If he has ‘shot himself in the foot’ it hasn’t showed up on the political landscape as of yet. He is proud of his politics…period. No apologies or excuses. Herman Cain has ‘represented’ on the biggest stage that a Black man can stand…for the presidency. And, like it or not, Obama HAS opened the door; cleared the way for Cain to be taken seriously. One cannot ‘stutter’ and be expected to make it to the top of any profession.
Is that ‘Black enough’ for the Congressional Black Caucus?
LASTLY, THERE WERE TOO MANY GOP ‘RETREADS’:
Whenever Democrats or Republicans ‘think’ that they ‘deserve’ a higher office merely because of name recognition instead of hard work and dedication, this makes for an insult to the voting public. American voters are not all that ‘anxious’ for the backroom deals and ‘vote buying’ that may have propelled the political machines of the past. They are smart enough to know that every election is ‘showtime’ for those running for public office.
The current GOP field–sans Cain–is nothing more than a bunch of retreads, has beens, never-have-beens, and weaklings. They ‘may’ have had something to say a few years back, but today is a NEW day, baby! No one has a ‘lock’ on their office. It is God whom sets up one king, and takes down another. And He works through interested, articulate and involved VOTERS. When the stakes are high enough, and the electorate is mad enough, and they are courted by sincere and passionate candidates, people VOTE!
There were some messages sent from this straw poll meeting, First, Cain’s victory in Florida JUST sent a bolt of political lightning to the leadership of the GOP: “The Voters WILL Vote…when given REAL choices!” Another message, in-between the headlines, this going to the Indiana Democrat party. While this was a straw poll in Florida, the Democrat establishment in Indiana had better remind Rep. Carson that he has his OWN re-election effort coming soon.
Herman Cain, just for grins, may provide a case of ‘tea’, to the local Indy GOP!
RAMEY, a syndicated columnist and book reviewer, lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. THE RAMEY COMMENTARIES appears on fine websites and gracious blogs around the world. To correspond, email email@example.com. © 2011 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications.