Herman Cain, the former Godfather executive, is not laughing. He’s dead serious when talks about his now patented ‘9-9-9’ plan and that the ‘Black Walnut’ is not the political flavor of the week. In fact, he is loving the fact he is surging in the polls, taking the top spot in several key national polls beating out Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michelle Bachman.

National media is reluctant to call him the ‘front-runner’ because it’s hard to take him seriously. If Cain is hoping to become the GOP nominee, he’s going to get there by default — because of wide scale discontent from mainstream conservative supporters and Tea Party followers who don’t love Romney, and can’t stand anyone else.  He expects White conservatives to sustain his momentum because they like that he’s a straight-talking businessman — and not an Inside-the-Beltway politician. 

Cain’s already made it clear: he’s not relying on roots growing up in the segregated South and his Baptist preacher background.  He’s quick to deflect questions about his race, recently telling supporters that he owes nothing to President Barack Obama’s historic victory and the potential of laying the foundation for the viability of other Black candidates. 

In fact, he often says his success is a result of the nation’s declining significance of race.  Don’t even insult him by asking him a question about racism in American. It doesn’t exist in his book. 

As far as Cain is concerned, the ‘9-9-9’ plan — a 9 percent personal income tax rate with no deductions or loopholes, 9 percent corporate tax and a 9 percent sales tax  — will turn around the economy and trigger jobs growth.  That’s good for everybody, he says, even Black folks. Well he would never say that, but in reality his 9-9-9 plan, already panned by economists and business executives, would play into Cain’s belief that market forces will right the economy, not government intervention or regulation.

Under a Cain Administration, you could expect huge cuts in social programs along with a ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ mentality that also translates in Cain’s business-minded approach to politics as ‘get up out the way or get run over.’  This is the same guy who slams the Occupy Wall Street protesters for blaming Wall Street executives for the nation’s economic woes. He also is quick to say we need to get the government out of our lives.  Guess Cain forgot that he supported the famed TARP — the Troubled Asset Relief Program — a $700 billion program that Congress passed in 2008 to help bailout Wall Street and the nose-diving housing industry.  Cain now says the government mismanaged the program causing it to fail, leading the country deeper into further economic problems.

Another delusional moment is Cain’s belief is that if he’s the nominee, he’d get at least a third of the Black vote, pulling in support from Blacks unhappy with President Obama.  

Is this another one of his business hunches or fact? Since race is not issue in Cain’s vocabulary, he is counting on Black voters to believe his promise of a better America.  His campaigning might include a tour through Black churches in the South spewing anti-gay messages and conveniently slipping into a Negro spiritual, such as ‘Must Tell Jesus’ or ‘This is the Day’ at the appropriate moment. He might remember his blackness when he starts talking about his father working three jobs to keep food on the family’s table growing up in Georgia in the 1950s and 1960s when Jim Crow was alive and well.  But, remember, if you’re Black and see Candidate Cain on the campaign trail, don’t remind him that he his a Black man in America.


Neil Foote

Special to the AFRO