Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Herman Cain Phenomena

People are wondering how a candidate with no previous political experience, no organization to speak of, and a series of conflicting messages can be leading in the polls. I think it’s perfectly understandable. People are sick and tired of professional candidates who adjust their message or say different things to different groups simply to get elected. They also are wary of the slicksters with a pocket full of money whose main aim is fame and fortune, but who can turn a phrase without ever making a mistake. Cain says it like he sees it, even if it doesn’t make much sense. And, he doesn’t attack people or get nasty. He comes across as a sincere, nice guy. That can be very attractive in a campaign where’s he competing with a bunch of old polls who play politics with everything that comes out of their mouths and have flip-flopped on many issues.

Democrats wonder how Republicans can be so interested in a guy whose policies seem so outrageous to them. Well, they don’t seem so outrageous to many Republicans, who vote their feelings on religion and other social wedge issues, not analytical or scientific constructs about the economy or the environment. Their judgment of the person’s character and his similarity to their way of thinking trumps a lot of policy issues.

Democrats should look at why candidates like Dennis Kucinich and Ralph Nader have gotten nowhere in their party. I would conclude it’s because they aren’t afraid to say it like they see it. They aren’t polished enough, or acceptable enough to the in crowd. Their pronouncements seem too far from the status quo promoted in the press. For this, they are marginalized.

If we still had a Republican president at this time, I think we would be seeing similar behavior from the Democratic Party that we are now seeing from the Republican Party. We are in a major economic and political crisis, and people are looking outside the box for new and more extreme measures to correct the problems. If it were the Democrats with a large field of candidates running against an incumbent Republican president, I think we would be seeing candidates like Kucinich and Nader leading in some polls against more establishment oriented candidates. And, the Republicans would be wondering how the Democrats could be so interested in them.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Occupy Wall Street to the Rescue

In the last post I was urging Bernie Sanders to run against Obama to force him to identify what he would do in a second term. Well, there is no longer a need for an opponent to do this. Occupy Wall Street has spread around the country is a good indication that many are disappointed with a system that defers to wealth and corporations while exploiting middle class workers. Mr. Obama will be as much a target of this movement as anyone else if he continues to try to finesse his way back in the White House by being the great compromiser. If there is one thing OWS doesn’t want it is compromise with those seeking to maintain the status quo.

If winter comes and the cold weather results in a retreat of the protesters to warmer quarters, Obama may think he doesn’t need to think big. But, he will be mistaken. The country is ready for deep reforms and any half measures will result in low turnout for progressives and a win for Republicans. On the other hand, if he embraces the discontent demonstrated by protesters and the many who share their discontent, and lays out a program of real reform, he could be on his way to another term. So far, he has been a disappointment as a leader and a man of vision. But, fortunately, none of his likely opponents seem well equipped with those qualities either. Obama has begun to talk the talk, but is it all election hype or the real deal? The OWS crowd and their supporters can help smoke him out and make him take a stand.