I was reading an opinion piece in the Washington Post, and the obvious came to me — not really a new revelation, but a reminder of a problem we now have in politics. The obvious being the answer to my question as to what is Herman Cain all about?
We have the phenomenon of people getting into presidential politics just to make a name for themselves and sell books and jack up the price of speaker fees. They have no real interest or at the very least no expectation of winning and no real qualifications to do so either (that is beyond the minimal legal requirements).
I think Sarah Palin was the trailblazer in all of this. She may or may not have been serious at the local level up in Alaska and even at the state level up there, but once she hit the national scene show business took over. She didn’t even finish out her term as governor once she found she could cash in big time on the blowhard circuit.
Now we have the Cain phenomenon. The writer of this piece in the Post newspaper (and I have heard this line before, now that I think about it) claimed that Cain never was serious, he just thought what a hoot or what a lark and what a way to up his value as a talk show host and public speaker and book author. He was probably surprised as any at his success in the polls.
But although the sexual harassment charges against Cain did not seem to at first affect his high polling (even surpassing Mitt Romney for front-runner status), the news today is that at least one poll shows him losing ground over the accusations story: http://news.yahoo.com/cains-favorability-drops-sex-accusations-poll-051227162.html
(Whether Cain really engaged in sexual harassment is probably only known to him and the alleged victims, and as is usually the case, probably, it’s a matter of interpretation and changing societal rules. But the long and the short of it is that sexual harassment just is not as accepted as it once was.)
I’m not sure that Mike Huckabee, preacher, turned Arkansas governor, turned presidential candidate, turned TV personality was ever all that serious — I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he was — but he wisely chose show business, for which he seemed better qualified — I mean he plays the electric guitar, and has a homespun persona.
But with politics in the state that they are and with the seeming inability of the two major political parties to solve the major crises that afflict our democracy and the fact that people often opt for style over substance, it is no wonder that these non-serious candidates hold such sway. But it is dangerous. One of them might accidentally win.
All the nonsense that goes along with these faux candidates distracts from the serious issues.
On a related note (I think related) I am interested to read that some Republicans in congress may be jumping ship from the party line and be willing to consider some tax hikes, along with spending cuts — really, is there any other logical way to resolve the economic crisis without dismantling our whole government and descending into chaos?
Some background from the Washington Post: